User experience for websites
Website design with user experience in mind is probably more important than ever before. Good websites need to cater to a technology savvy audience that demands instant access to the information they need. If they can’t find it quickly they will leave and go to the next website. As website designers we need to take into account exactly who our audience is and what they want.
What is User Experience (UX)?
User experience comprises of a few elements. User experience (UX) are the tasks focused on optimizing a website for an enjoyable customer experience. This would include things like ensuring easy navigation and an overall pleasant experience. As a content agency our focus is to create a customer journey that makes a customers life easier. A users experience needs to be simple and intuitive. If your customer needs to think about what the next step is then we have failed.
You may also come across the term UI user interface. This in simple terms is the look and feel of your website and how your customers interact. UX and UI work together. If we took a food example. A dish that looks amazing yet when you take your first bite you want to spit it out, would be an example of Great UI but terrible UX. Conversely if a plate of food looks unappealing but tastes amazing then you would have great UX and poor UI.
In short we want to cook up something that looks great and tastes amazing. That way you will have customers coming back for more.
Why does it matter?
Many websites are designed by inputs from numerous individuals in an organization. The executive wants to showcase what they do and how great they are. The board wants to showcase annual financial statements. Production departments want to talk about the process. Marketing has their own inputs and so the list carries on. However where is the customer in all this? A good question to ask yourself is what does my customer want from my website? What is relevant to them? The truth is that your customer probably doesn’t care about half the content on your site. Consider the following:
- A Bad mobile experience leads to 52% of users leaving and not returning to your mobile site.
- Almost 80% of users will leave a site and find another website if they are unable to find the information they were looking for.
- There is a direct link between perceived credibility of your website and its aesthetics.
- Redesign of an old website, with your customer in mind can boost sales significantly.
How do we create a great user experience?
Here are a few ways that you can enhance the experience of your users:
- Design your site with Mobile in mind. As more and more interactions are via mobile devices you need to design your website content to be mobile friendly. This is something that probably gets said a lot but often seems to fall on deaf ears. Often we see websites that are optimized for desktop use, in terms of load speeds but conversely the same page via mobile has a terrible load speed. Also bear in mind that something that looks good on desktop is not going to necessarily look great on mobile. Consider for example how long it will take for your customer to find what they are looking for on a mobile device. Make sure navigation is super simple and easy. Remember that larger images or bad image formats will take more time and data to load.
- Create a site that loads quickly. Nothing worse than trying to access a site that takes forever to load! Research has shown that around 47% of users expect a site to load in 2 seconds or less. Not only does that make your customers happy but it will also keep Google happy in terms of your SEO. To check your site speed just head over to our Website development page and do a free website speed check.
- Include calls to action and directions. Many websites have great resources in terms of information. However getting to the right place is a completely different story. It is important when you design your website that you think like a client. Don’t just focus on what a customer wants, because you could up with a website that resembles a maze where it is impossible to find anything. Rather take into consideration what the customer needs and how to best get them there. Think about the frustrations they may have if they can’t find the right information, or its difficult to complete an online purchase. If you are looking to create websites that focus on user experiences (UX) then you have to consider the entire flow and journey. Calls to actions and a clear website are like a road map. It guides and makes the journey easy to navigate.
- Ensure your site has no broken links. I have been on plenty websites where I am looking for some critical information only to be stopped in my tracks by a 404 page. Response I promptly leave never to return, and so will your customers if they experience this. Really this is a no no! You cannot afford to lose customers because you couldn’t be bothered to check your website and its links.
- Ensure the information on your website is correct. Seems like an obvious one right…! But think about how often you have visited a website and been presented with incorrect information. This could be in the form of incorrect address and telephone details, employees that no longer work for your company, or products that are sold out.
- Use real photos of your company. The truth is people can recognize a stock photo from a mile away! They might look great but they certainly don’t help your business. Consider for example a gym using stock photo’s. The background most certainly wont be of the actual gym, so in truth as a business you are being dishonest with your representation of your facility. Customers will know this and in turn trust your content even less. It’s human nature to be more cautious when your guard is up. Rather let them see your small underground gym that really produces results without all the frills. The honesty will attract the right customers for your business, besides they will trust you to be honest.
- Use analytics. Study your website visitors as much as possible with tools like google analytics. See which pages they go to and how they got there. See which pages are causing you to lose visitors. This is an ongoing process and the more you test and try things the more you will understand the visitors and their behaviors.
- Speak their language. If you are speaking to students then for goodness sake don’t sound like a boring middle aged banker. Sorry about the stereo types but you get the picture. Ultimately you want to make your customers feel at home. You speak their language and you can relate to them. It is important that your content is written for a mindset and not a demographic. People are individuals and they are on your website because of a specific need. Address the need and not the box they fit into. That is speaking their language in its simplest form.
So there you have some tips on creating a great user experience for your customers. Let’s chat if you want to create a website that is focused on creating a great user experience.