7 Tips That Will Drastically Improve Your Website's User Experience
If you want to build an effective business website, you need to invest in your UX. Let us teach you the basics.
Why Is UX Such a Big Deal?
Your website has the potential to be one of your most powerful business tools. It can drive sales, help you qualify leads, build awareness of your brand, educate people on your value, and ensure your audience stays up-to-date on company happenings. But whether or not your website realizes this potential hinges on the quality of your user experience (UX).
You can think of UX as the art and science of creating intuitive digital products that make it easy for users to accomplish a specific goal. UX aggregates tools, methods, and philosophies from many different disciplines – psychology, visual design, research, human-computer interaction, and information architecture, to name a few.
The funny thing about UX is that when it has been done well, it is invisible. You never notice how easy it is to buy something on Amazon or watch your favorite show on Netflix, just like you aren't aware of the fact that you subconsciously know to pull – not push – a door with a handle. You do notice, however, when there is a misalignment between your expectations and your experience, or when there is just something "off" in terms of the way something works.
That's why we're here – to give you a few pointers on how to make your website as effective and effortless as possible for your digital audience, and to keep you from falling into some of the most common UX traps.
How to Improve Your Website's UX
1. Define a Purpose
When you start designing (or redesigning) your website, make sure you are asking yourself what purpose the website should serve. Will it be a marketing tool designed to generate or qualify leads, an informational repository, a "machine" that automates or streamlines certain tasks, an online store, or simply a stamp of legitimacy that shows your business really exists? To design an effective website, you have to know what you're designing it to do.
2. Know Your Audience
It is equally important for you to understand who you are designing for. A website designed to engage consumers, for example, should look and feel quite different from a website designed to impress investors. Here are a few important questions to ask yourself:
Who are your users, demographically speaking? For instance, how old are they? What gender are they? Where do they live?
How will they be accessing your website – by phone or desktop?
When will they be visiting your website? Where will they be at that time?
How will they be feeling when they go to your website? How can you capitalize on that emotion?
These may sound like nit-picky questions, but they can go a long way in determining the best way to design and structure your website.
3. Draw Attention to Your Call-To-Action
One of our main tasks is helping clients identify the precise actions they want people to take from their website and then designing the site in a way that leads visitors down those action pathways. It's no coincidence that prompts like Sign Up, Donate, Schedule an Appointment, Learn More, Buy Now, and Contact Us are usually encased in big, bright buttons at the top of a website's home page. These call-to-action (CTA) buttons are ultimately what put money on the table, so you must give them the visual real estate they deserve.
4. Don't Reinvent the Wheel
There is a reason so many apps and websites look the same. It's because people have become accustomed to – and have been conditioned to expect – a specific set of design standards. For instance, when you're using a social media app, you expect to see the navigation bar at the bottom of the screen. When you're browsing a company's website, you expect to see their logo in the top-left corner, and a CTA button in the top-right. Using an unconventional layout may help differentiate your website from your competitors' websites, but make sure it doesn't needlessly confuse your users and do more harm than good.
5. Keep Your Pages Consistent
When it comes to web design, consistency is king. Heading sizes, button styles, spacing, coloring, layouts, and font choices should match throughout your website, regardless of which page they appear on. Otherwise, you risk creating a disjointed user experience that makes visitors feel lost, confused, and frustrated. If your website leaves a bad taste in people's mouths, they probably won't be coming back any time soon.
6. Create Intuitive Navigation
When designing a website, you need to consider the natural path people will follow when navigating your site, or the "user flow." With a marketing website, for instance, many people start at the Home page, click to the Services page to learn more, and then (if hooked) go to the Contact page to get in touch with the company. If you make it difficult – or worse, impossible – for website visitors to follow this instinctual pathway, most will be inclined to just give up and find what they are looking for elsewhere.
7. Stay Clean and Clutter-Free
Our #1 design philosophy at Word of Web is that less is more. Your website should make it easy for visitors to find the information they need, without having to sift through giant chunks of text or over-the-top designs. One of the best ways to declutter your website is to focus on incorporating ample white space – that is, areas around your website content that are intentionally left blank. Not only does white space make your text more legible and draw your visitors' attention to important information, but it also can make your website feel more modern, light, and professional.
UX has the potential to make or break your website – and even your business. When used effectively, it can transform your website from a dull, confusing jumble of text and photos to a powerful tool that engages your visitors and leads them to specific actions.
Want to learn how we help our clients design good user experiences or talk about your project idea? Get in touch.