User Experience or UX, in web design terms, is how a user experiences a website. This includes everything from the usability of the website, to how the user feels about the look and feel of the website. UX depends on various factors including how long a website takes to load, how easy it is to use and to navigate and how the website is presented visually.
When creating various visual elements on a website, such as buttons, navigation bars and backgrounds, many people still use images rather than CSS. Now, this has its place, but I’m going to give you a few reasons why you should consider creating these same elements using CSS.
CSS loads faster
Speed is crucial to user experience. A website that is slow to load is likely to frustrate users and have a high bounce rate. When faced with a slow site, many users will lose interest and go elsewhere.
By using CSS instead of image files for elements such as buttons, backgrounds and navigation bars, you can improve the speed of your site, as CSS loads much quicker than images. Focus on keeping your CSS clean and try keeping the file as small as possible, as this will also affect your load time.
CSS is ideal for Responsive Design
We have already covered Responsive Design in a previous blog post. Responsive design is done within your CSS with the use of media queries. Having a responsive website is important for a good user experience across multiple platforms. If your site uses CSS styled elements instead of images, these elements will be very flexible and can easily be adapted to suit multiple screen sizes.
Now images can also be scaled using CSS, but the image is still loaded at full size and is scaled down by the CSS. This will negatively affect your loading time on mobile device. Images also need to maintain their original aspect ratio when being scaled. CSS elements can be scaled in almost anyway.
CSS styled elements can improve your conversion rate
A good design can guide users to convert in the desired way, be it filling in a contact form, subscribing to a newsletter or making an online purchase. Strictly speaking this can be done with images rather than CSS elements, but everything from text to images can be placed in such a way, than it places emphasis on specific elements of your website. By placing emphasis on, for example, the contact form it will focus the user’s attention on the contact form and thus, drive up the conversion rate of said form.
In conclusion, unless you are building a website from the mid-90’s, you will be using CSS. So why not focus on getting the most out of CSS and improve your site’s performance and usability at the same time.