The Complete Guide to Website User Experience
How to Make Visitors Love Using Your Website
As an online business, your website is the most important tool in your digital marketing arsenal. It serves as the main anchor of all your online activities and a virtual office where your customers can "walk-in" to do business with you.
With this sense of importance attached to your website, it means that to get the most out of your online business, you have to make the most out of your website. The better your website performs, the greater the chances of achieving your business goals.
A high-performing website — the type that can help you achieve your business goals — is one that is built to offer the best user experience (UX). Without paying particular attention to your website’s user experience, you neglect the very essence of your website existence… which is to present your business in a remarkable fashion to the world.
In this post, we will show you those things that can act as major stumbling blocks to achieving great website user experience and also show you the things you can do to achieve a smooth user experience.
WHAT IS USER EXPERIENCE?
User experience talks of how a person sees perceive, use, and feel about a product. In other words, it is the overall impression a user gets from interacting with your product.
The term "product" as used in this context might be a website, a mobile application, software, hardware, a web interface/dashboard, or anything of the such.
UX answers the question: how can I present relevant information in my product to best meet user's needs while aligning with my business goals?
In particular, this guide focuses on how you can strongly improve the way visitors see, use, and feel about your website… so you can more easily meet their needs and achieve your business goals.
WHY PAY ATTENTION TO YOUR WEBSITE’S USER EXPERIENCE?
As stated above, your website plays an enormously crucial role in your online business. Achieving great UX means getting closer to achieving your business goals.
In fact, bad user experience can result in immense sabotage that opposes the realization of your business dreams and revenue goals.
Yet, some site owners are not banging on when it comes to designing a killer UX for their website.
For a moment, imagine visiting a website in hopes of getting something done (say placing an order) only to be greeted with an obnoxious design — confusing navigation, 5+ different colors that do not go together, awful fonts, unnecessary images and ads, mystifying layout… you name it.
You would immediately click away, right?
That’s what happens with many websites, sometimes even without the business owner knowing about it. So consequently, the site owner ends up losing traffic, sales, and revenue.
In a nutshell, bad design leads to bad user experience, which in turn accounts for lost opportunities (to generate new leads, close new deals, and make more money).
Users are quick; they'll judge your website within mere seconds of arriving on it and determine whether to stay or not. If it’s at a chaotic, confusing, or difficult-to-use state, they'll simply hit the back button and then head over to a competitor’s site.
You don't want that happening to your business, right? A good place to start is knowing the things that cause bad user experience.
MAJOR STUMBLING BLOCKS TO GOOD USER EXPERIENCE
The following snippets will give you a holistic idea of the causes of undesirable user experience in business websites.
Poor organization: A site that's not well-organized won't cut it. If anything, it'll confuse users and dishevel the usage process.
Too many steps: When it has to do with getting stuff done on your website, fewer is better. In other words, stop making users go through the wilderness; just show them the short way.
Difficulty in navigation: Nav is so important that we have even included a whole section on it below.
Providing the wrong information: In this age of digital exposure, users already have reasonable expectations for how a business should portray itself on the web. Misinforming them not only hurts your user experience but also has a strong negative bearing on your overall customer experience.
Bad fonts: This one is a no-brainer. Fonts are one of the most important elements in web design. Don't use strikingly modish fonts and don't make it unbelievably tiny or large.
Too much clicking: Your competitors are providing users a checkout process that promises “in-just-one-easy-click” and you want the same users to click through your website forever? How's that going to work?
Too much reading: Why force people to read another 5000-word sales copy when you know that the attention span of human is now shorter than even that of a goldfish?
Not providing enough information: Make your web copy too long, and you're screwed. Provide less than necessary info, and that's another dead-end. The solution? Strike a balance!
Too much information request: Long forms with several *required* fields, and even asking for unnecessary information like physical addresses of users when you know you don't really need that, all of this contributes to bad user experience.
Now, the above list is in no way exhaustive, but the good news is that no matter what the problem is, you can do something about it to optimize your site's user experience.
WHAT TO DO TO ACHIEVE A SMOOTH WEBSITE UX
So it turns out there are some things you can do to get a brilliant website that offers superlative user experience.
1. Understand that UX is more than design
The first step is to understand that a smooth website is not just about the design. It's a coalescence of multiple elements well put together — the content, call-to-action-buttons, page load time, ease of use, mobile-friendliness, site layout, and so many more.
Why? Because website user experience interfuses with these many elements to deliver a truly awesome feeling to users.
It spans from enhancing user satisfaction and loyalty by improving the usability, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the user and your website, through to providing working information architecture, and everything in between.
For instance, UX designers go beyond design-related tasks to doing things like asking questions to determine their user's needs and incorporating those findings to enhance their web design abilities.
Having an understanding that user experience is more than “design” will help you bring all the right elements together to create a UX that works.
2. Pay attention to site navigation and usability
Navigation is one of the most critical determinants of effective user experience. It can make or break a site.
For instance, your website might be packed with information, but can users easily find what they’re looking for? If not, then the abundance of information is more or less useless to users.
A good rule of thumb is for your navigation to be so intuitive that even the average Joe can use it effortlessly. Pages should be easy to find, making for quick and painless browsing throughout the entire website.
Why is this so important?
People do not want to put in their precious time trying to figure out how to get stuff done on your website. They're so used to the “fast life” (think fast cars, fast food, etc.) that they also unconsciously want “fast navigation.” Their attention spans are short, and if it takes too long to figure out how to get to the checkout page, you might as well consider them a lost lead.
3. Design with customer service and trust in mind
A key part of good UX is making the user feel pleased and satisfied with using your product. Generally, this is intendedly a function of customer service.
Think of your website as a customer service representative. It’s the digital face of your business, and you want to make sure that users feel pleased and satisfied.
A well-built website is akin to a supportive, friendly rep who's always willing to help customers. On the other hand, a half-baked website can be likened to a boorish, unhelpful customer service representative.
Which one do you think sets the foundation for a positive reputation and trustworthy user experience?
And talking about trust, would you trust a grocery store located in a messy building with trash covering the entrance path? Of course not.
Humans have strong visual perception. Giving your website the best design possible is absolutely critical in moving potential customers further down the sales funnel.
4. Keep it consistent and coherent
One of the underlying goals of UX design is to minimize distractions. If the pages on your website look different from each other, it will lead to discrepancy and inconsistency, which can result in lost opportunities.
The bottom line: For your website to successfully deliver a good user experience, it needs to use the same set of layout, format, typeface, style, font, and so on.
This portrays your website in the best light as users navigate through it, making the entire experience more coherent and streamlined.
The crux of website user experience involves practically making sure that your visitors find great value in what you are providing them. In order to make this possible, your website and its content must be useful, usable, desirable, findable, accessible, and credible.
You must get a deep, full understanding of your target users, including their exact needs, what they value the most, what they don't want to see, how they use the web, their abilities and limitations, and how they buy.
You must try your best to ensure that all the stumbling blocks are removed and that your design incorporates seamless navigation, great customer experience, trust, and consistency. You must also take into account your business goals and objectives.
All of these contribute to creating a meaningful and valuable user experience. And remember, without great user experience, your website may not be able to help you achieve your business goals, including making sales and increasing revenue.
On our tools page, you can find some useful website management tools that can help you design an amazing user experience for your website.