It’s become trendy to say that “experiences” are more valued than physical things. While this axiom is traditionally applied to vacations, this same philosophy – one which values an ‘experience – can be applied to web browsing habits. The analogy kind of works, right?
The digital space has grown increasingly competitive over the past decade, and businesses have begun to reap the rewards of websites designed with UX (user experience) in mind. While there’s no consensus on an exact criteria for optimal UX characteristics, there are a handful of tried-and-true criteria that should be followed.
When it’s done right, user experience improvements lead to lower bounce rates, more time spent on the site, and eventually, conversions. In this article, I’ll explain five easy ways you can improve your website’s user experience.
1. Make Your CTA’s Obvious
Attractive design and engaging content are great, but you want your audience to do more than just visit your site for entertainment. At some point, you want them to take action. By making your CTAs stand out, you have a much higher chance of obtaining leads through your website.
A good call-to-action helps a user move along the customer journey by paving the way for them to contact your business. Try being creative with your button’s text. For example, instead of using “shop now,” a clothing brand could try “View T-Shirts.” The more direct you are, the more efficient the experience will be for individuals browsing your site.
Different colors, fonts, and of course, wording, will likely have an impact on your clickthrough frequency. Keep experimenting until you find the optimal combination that delivers consistent results.
2. Segment Information with Bullet Points When Applicable
Ever open a website on your mobile device only to be greeted with a large block of text? Chances are you didn’t stick around long enough to read it all.
Obviously, your website’s design needs to inform, and imagery alone isn’t enough to get the job done. With that being said, any time you can condense your wording into bite-sized bullet points, the better chance you have of someone actually reading the content. Not only do audiences prefer less (but better) text, but it’s objectively easier to read on a small screen. Remember, the majority of web browsing is done on a phone, and websites that take this fact into account outperform those who are stuck in the desktop dark ages.
Once you’ve compiled all of the information you’re looking to include on your site (or a particular page), try breaking it down into the shortest version possible without sacrificing any of the important details. “But if my content is too short, won’t that hurt my SEO?” The answer is: there’s a blog section of your website for that.
3. Make Headlines Engaging and Descriptive
It’s not exactly breaking news to point out that attention spans are shorter than ever. When your audience lands on your website, don’t force them to focus on finding the material they came looking for in the first place. By utilizing descriptive headlines to indicate various pages or sections of content, you’ll create a much more effortless experience.
Think of your own browsing habits: how many times have you visited a website looking for a particular piece of information, only to revisit your search results after not immediately finding it?
4. Speed Matters
Everyone has different preferences when it comes to UX. Some users may prefer having a large number of options to choose from, while others might want you to do the decision-making for them. Whereas someone’s ideal color, font, or layout may be wildly different from the next person’s, there’s one thing everyone agrees on: faster is better.
In recent years, website speed has become an important factor in SEO, but it has always been crucial to user experience. Anyone who uses the internet regularly understands just how painful it can be to browse a site with slow load times. In fact, most users won’t even stick around to see the content appear if there’s a substantial delay. No matter what you’re trying to view, there’s almost certainly another, faster, site out there with the same information.
There are several reasons why your site might not be as fast as it should be. These include: large image files, too much flash content, unnecessary pages taking up space, low-quality hosting services, among many other potential issues. If you take the time to identify what’s causing a non-optimal speed, there’s a good chance you’ll be able to find a way to fix it. Not only will this help keep people on your site longer as a result of improved user experience, but it should help get more traffic to your page in the first place, a true win-win.
5. ABT (Always Be Testing)
In terms of evaluating your site’s UX, there’s one motto that should be followed at all times: stop guessing, start testing. There is a human component to designing a seamless user experience. Still, it’s important to create a quantifiable way to judge performance and make adjustments and optimizations as needed.
Choose a set of metrics to use as your “user experience criteria.” If you make a change – for example, revamping your menu layout – and see a reduction in bounce rate or increase in time spent on the site, consider it a success. But in the world of digital optimizations, success just means a new benchmark to try to beat. If you’re able to create an A/B test that’s constantly seeking improvement, you’ll eventually land on the best UX possible for your website. Remember, audience preferences change constantly, so if you’re not keeping up with the latest trends, you risk falling behind.
Make no mistake about it – maintaining a high standard on your website is an ongoing process that requires regular attention. Great user experience design and functionality is all about monitoring your results and making optimizations when and where they’re necessary.
If your organization could benefit from a digital marketing partner or needs assistance in branding or design, get in touch for a free consultation. We work with you to develop a strategy that fits with your business and stays within your budget.