User Experience, or UX, is an essential aspect of website design aimed at improving the “experience” that users have while navigating through your site. Designers employ UX because it helps capture and retain the attention of current and potential customers. You may not be a designer but there are still several ways that you can improve your websites UX including:
1. Be Mobile Friendly
In 2014 mobile devices surpassed desktop users… It’s now 2016 – it’s time to go mobile – your website must be mobile-friendly and easy to navigate regardless of the screen size. A quick way to test this, is to pull your website up on your phone. Does the layout completely shift from the way it looks on your desktop or laptop? Or does everything simply shrink down to fit the screen? If it shrinks, your website is NOT mobile friendly. If you’re still not sure if your site is responsive, use this free tool: http://ami.responsivedesign.is/
In April of 2015 Google began to give preference in their search rankings to websites that are mobile-friendly. This means, even if you ranked above your competition in search engines with a non-mobile-friendly site prior to April 2015; your competition with mobile-friendly sites will now rise above you.
2. Well Written (and Designed) Headlines
Your headlines should embody what your customers are looking for. These headings are what guides your readers through your site allowing them to quickly scan for the content they are looking for. Providing the right message to the right audience is the key to actively engaging the user.
Your users are not the only ones that reads your headlines, search engines are also “reading” them and they actually give them more weight over other content. So carefully crafting the message of your headlines can directly influence your sites search-ability.Tuft & Needle does a great job at creatively and concisely explaining what they do and why their customers fall in love with their product.
3. Use Calls to Action Wisely
Web users know how to navigate a website and look for visual cues that help them find what they are looking for. The way you guide your users is via calls to action. Once you know what action you want your users to take it’s time to test and revise!
Size, color, wording, visual distinctiveness and position need to be carefully considered; many companies have seen 15% or more increase in conversions with just changing the color of their button.
Manpacks “Get Started” button is visually distinct and the message “join 1000’s of men already signed up” as well as the list of well known companies creates trust through social proof.
4. Consistent Look and Feel
Everything needs to match. Your heading sizes, fonts, colors, images, graphic styles, spacing etc. needs to match across your entire site. Disjointed design makes a user feel uneasy and can cause them to lose trust in your service or products.
5. High-Quality Imagery
A whole separate post could be written on the importance and proper use of high quality imagery on a website but in general follow these tips:
- Stay away from “generic” stock photography
- Whenever possible use Genuine original photography
- Express your brand
- Keep it user relevant
Bullets call attention to important content that enable a user to quickly absorb the information they are after. It’s not a rule that you have to use the traditional circle and in many cases it is advisable you don’t! For instance:
44west dental’s site uses custom icons as “bullets” to highlight their different dental services.
7. Embrace White Space
If I had a nickel for every time I have been asked to “make the logo bigger or add more images and graphics because there is too much white space” well lets just say I would have a lot of nickels. Repeat after me, WHITE SPACE IS GOOD! White space increases user attention and helps draw attention to what is important. If there is too much on a page, the user won’t know what to focus on, and their attention will be divided.
8. Page Speed
It’s no secret that users have short attention spans. Nothing is more frustrating to internet users than waiting on a slow website to load. In fact, studies show that most users won’t wait, they will simply move on to the next site. So, in order to keep users from bouncing, make sure your site performance is fast and reliable.
Here’s a great free tool to measure your sites speed. http://tools.pingdom.com/fpt/
9. Fix 404’s
Just like slow website speeds users have very little tolerance for 404 errors. When a user clicks a link or image and instead of getting what they are expecting they are told the page cannot be found you might as well click the back button for them!
So, be sure to check your site for any 404 errors by using a free tool like this one: http://www.deadlinkchecker.com/
10. Redesign Your Website
If you are noticing many of the previous 9 issues on your site it may be time for a complete redesign. It’s important to approach the redesign with specific goals in mind and UX should be at the forefront. Sites that are a few years old often see 30 – 40% increase in conversions after a UX focused redesign.
At the end of the day its all about your customer. If you always keep the customers needs and goals in mind, in any marketing that you may do, you’ll provide a great user experience.