How to substantially improve the Website User Experience?
by Prabhasa Kota — Posted on Jan 30, 2018
When a user visits your website, the very first thing that catches their eyes is the design and then the content. A website that feeds you with good browsing experience will certainly make visitors come again.
Be it ease of navigation, use of individual elements, seamless UI across different device sizes and OS’, User Experience or UX will be a sum of the individual parts that help get the site visitors find what they want and let them find it fast.
There is no second thought that great user experience is the seed of being a top-level website in the respective domain. UX determines the result of bounce rate/exit rate or conversion rate.
The ultimate aim of companies running a website for their brand is to offer a good user experience and invest in the same. But the question still remains, how to improve the user interface of the website?
Stats talk the Reality
According to industry experts, companies invest extra dollars to create the best UX design and earn extra benefits through customer satisfaction. If we consider UX stats, then it shows the grim reality which many web owners either choose to ignore or are simply not aware of. Some of these UX stats include:
- On an average, 8 out of 10 customers wouldn't visit the website if the content doesn't load on time
- 48% users stated that website's design matters the most and would consider doing the business
- 47% users feel the content page should load within 2 seconds
- 48% users feel if the website isn't mobile-friendly, then it wouldn't consider visiting it again
Like these, there are many such stats that showcase how a user’s browsing experience is tied up to a great UX in a website. UX is a strategic part of website improvement ideas and assists in bringing more traffic to the site. Additionally, an improvement in the website design would yield good conversion rate.
Before we dwell more on website user experience tips, let us first check what UX is and why does it matter?
What is User Experience?
User Experience, abbreviated as UX is the overall experience of the user while visiting a specific website. The underlying principle of UX is to enable positive results for the time spent by the visitor on the website.
In today’s age of decreasing attention spans and overcrowded online space, it is very difficult to maintain the visitor’s attention and keep them hooked to enable conversions. UX helps address the problem to a great extent.
For instance, imagine an online buyer visits an e-commerce website to buy a t-shirt, but it takes a lot of the time to display the content, or the product description is not informative enough.
The user will not have a good experience on such a site and will immediately close the browser window to move on to the next alternative site. A poor UX will thus lead to a loss of potential business and likely customer loyalty.
The bottom line is that while deciding on how to improve the user interface of the website, it becomes essential to know what users look for.
The Importance of User Experience:
UX involves a variety of stages including the designing and planning of the website. A UX design team needs to do a lot of research work and understand the latest trends and tools that to create the design. Seamless and free-flowing interaction is a major aspect of the design.
The site should be able to interact with the visitors and make them stay on as a potential client or customer. Be it a complex site like an e-commerce website or a single page site, UX matters in every type of website.
Check out some of the compelling reason that depict the importance of UX:
- Customer Engagement: One of the objectives of the website is to have an effective customer engagement to bring business. And to gain the engagement, one way is by having an improved and flawless UX design of the website.
- Effective for Complex Site: If your website deals with software products or gadgets, which makes the website quite heavy, then clean UX design can help the user to navigate the website easily. Develop an interactive rich website that drives more traffic to your complex domain.
- Create Momentum with Audience: If you run a small or start-up business, then your site becomes the first impression. Having a solid debut will certainly pull more traffic and business in future. Creating momentum with the audience should be the ability of the website.
- To Avoid Negative Impression: Poor websites can bring issues noticeable and creates a negative impression in terms of conversion rate and visitors perception.
For instance, if your website belongs to insurance comparison, then users may find hard to compare insurance plans, price and even have account creation problem. This certainly leads to poor impression and a getaway for competitors to take over the customer base.
If you're planning to improve your website UX, let us first check UX best practices 2017 that will give sufficient direction to best practices to be followed for 2018. You can even follow the website improvement ideas to make 2018 the best year for your website and business.
Some of the UX best practices of 2017:
Video Content Creation for Stories:
With the social media on its peak and more and more users are engaging on social media, videos create a great impact on users. Social media has led to the rise of videos for individual and companies.
So if your business is of e-commerce or product, then let the videos do the talking. This is also the simple and great way of driving user experience. Moreover, it helps in increasing the conversion rate.
Though videos are increasingly being embedded on websites, presenting them to connect with the audience is an art, which needs practice.
One instance of tying videos to your overall site UX is to create demo videos for your product. This will help to make the user understand your brand value proposition much better and keep them hooked.
Animation Rich Website:
With animation you will be likely to capture attention of site visitors better than plain vanilla text. However, the important factor to consider is to right implementation of animation.
Understanding the target audience, brand and website ability, and expected outcomes are key factors that should be considered before creating the animation.
In 2017, web design industry saw a new responsive theme, Age-Responsive Design which showcases which generation responds to the images, videos and text content. The best thing about this theme is you can use generation-specific images and videos for the targeted landing pages.
No one likes to see the ‘loading’ icon rolling on the toolbar for many minutes. For a website even a single second matters and if the page load time is slow then it will hard to retain visitors’ interest.
Page loading time is a critical factor and would decide the fate of your website. In 2017, we witnessed websites working hard on bringing user experience to a whole new level.
The Growth of Conversational UX:
2017 witnessed an advancement of AI and chat bots on websites. The growth of messaging platform and chat bots has led to the creation of Conversational UX, a trend which will continue to yield incredible outcomes in 2018.
However, companies need to train their UX designers to understand the complexity of the Chat Bot and AI.
Automation on the Go:
Many companies in 2017 adapted to automation systems, which indirectly known as task runners. One such is the Gulp and Grunt. These task runners are designed to perform the task effectively.
Minimal Design Trend:
In 2017, we saw many big and medium-size brands adopting minimal design website that loads faster and gives good user experience. In fact, it was among UX best practices in 2017 and was a huge hit.
Minimum graphic, clean lines, less and high-quality content, and new designs made website interactive with the users.
What can be done to boost the website user experience in 2018?
Taking forward the UX best practices of 2017, we will now look into website user experience tips which will certainly help in gaining good conversion rate and high traffic.
While working on the website improvement ideas, a UX designer needs to understand what the user is looking for and then craft an experience suited to the target users. Listed down are actionable website user experience tips:
1. Well-Crafted Homepage:
Homepage or the landing page is the first thing viewers notice on your site. Engaging, good visual and top-class UX designs are ingredients to increase the conversion rate and bring more traffic.
One way to have an effective UX design, is to not place everything on the front page. Create a proper structure of the website that would help in better UX design. Some things to consider:
- Keep it short and simple
- Create separate pages for different services
- Link your logo to the homepage
Do a good research by visiting different websites to get better understanding of website improvement ideas.
2. Work on Loading Speed:
Test and re-test to check if your site loads faster on different screens. Be it mobile, or a large or small PC screen, slow loading websites are a major turn-off. According to Crazy Egg, a website with enough white space and minimal design attracts 20% more attention.
By using more whitespace, minimising HTTP requests, browser caching, image optimization, and prioritising above-the-fold content, you can effectively address page loading issues.
3. Accessible to all Devices:
In the age of smartphone and tab, users visit the website from different devices. So the website should be all-device friendly. Having a responsive design website ensures that your site opens faster and looks perfect on all devices.
This is the major website user experience factor to consider. Testing of your website on different channels will help in getting a better idea about universal accessibility and compatibility. Pay special attention to non-system fonts and high resolution images (which may not load correctly on a mobile device).
4. Go for Remote User Testing:
Companies like Facebook, Microsoft and Google have used Remote user testing method effectively. This certainly helps in making the product better and increase the conversion rate. Some of the other benefits are:
- Quick Feedback: Of course, as a site owner, you need to know what works and what doesn't works on your website. With Remote User Testing, you will get instant feedback. There are less equipment and fewer people involved in this testing process.
- No Lab Needed: To get the effective reply over the website design, you don't need a separate lab. Of course, this would cost you an extra resource. The testing can be done in the natural environment.
5. Exercise customer empathy during the UX design process:
One of the best website improvement ideas is to get into the shoes of the audience. Don't think as a website owner, but examine the site as a user.
What the user needs when visiting the site? How fast should the site load? Did he get the information he want without going through a maze of menus or buttons? Could he perform the intended actions in quick time? You can even get inputs from someone who haven’t visited the website before for fresh perspective.
6. Creating a Memorable Graphic Appeal:
A good looking site isn't just about the good presentation of product or content, but also about graphics. One of the factors that define good UX is the graphics that strongly connects with the eyes and attention of the user.
Work on the ideation of page layout and content of the site and accordingly create graphics that isn't heavy, but also looks great. Colour choice, text, font and another overall look of the graphic should be perfect and align with your overall branding.
7. Add Search Field:
You want visitors to stay on your website and convert to be customers for your brand. One way to do this is by including a powerful and contextual search field that would allow them to look for and quickly discover the service or product they are looking for.
The best example of a good search field is the job search websites. The search box on the homepage allows users to look for the desired job by typing the title. The site will redirect the user to the desired job title search page.
8. Enhance UX through Videos:
Like graphics, videos too play an important role in UX design improvement. This also helps in grabbing visitor attention and keeps them hooked for a long time. However, it is important to structure the videos perfectly.
For instance, if your website deals in an innovative B2C product then create and add a video of how to use the product in an efficient manner. This creates more engagement from visitors. Moreover, visitors would love to watch videos to understand the content.
9. Keep the Design Consistent:
Consistency is the tool of successful UX design. Viewers would get dissatisfied if there is a shift in design layout which doesn't suit the navigation tool. Such moves may end up frustrating the user.
So take your time in designing the website with right colour themes, design and content, and keep the customer riveted to your overall brand USP. Don't change the design abruptly which might backfire and you might end up losing the visitors’ count.
10. Fixing Broken Links:
Reading the 404 Error on the homepage is frustrating and can lead to the loss of the visitors. Broken links are roadblocks between website owner and visitor, so finding and fixing the broken link is an important thing to work upon. Well if you want to know how to identify and fix the broken links problem then below is the method:
- Check your website on Google Webmaster Tools like free 404 checks.
- Post a new URL so that the destination isn't 404 error. Then try to re-direct the URL to the page
- Request for old URLs to be removed from search engine listings
11. Eliminating Unnecessary Features:
A website owner earns through ads placed on the site. However, this shouldn’t come in the way of the task the customer is carrying out on the website. Optimize between ad earnings and customer retention and your UX objective will be taken care of in this aspect. Some major elements to remove are:
- Unnecessary ads
- Irrelevant testimonials
- Irrelevant Images
User Experience matters a lot on the online space, when there is no human salesperson talking to the customer on the other end. You website can transform to a well-prepared and well-groomed salesperson working tirelessly for your brand if you take care of the above UX success factors.
Further Reading :
About the Author
Prabhasa Kota, Co-founder & Director, WinkTales
Prabhasa started his career and entrepreneurial journey with WinkTales, he loves to share his experiences on starting up and sustaining in the volatile start-up industry as a millennial entrepreneur.
Special thanks to Mangala, Senior Copy Writer, for contributing her Research and Inputs.