User experience, referred to as UX, is seen as an essential part of a website.
Unless your UX is perceived as fantabulous, well you’re not going to be part of the gang – it’s as simple as that. Even Google shakes its head and lets out a sad sigh if it scans a website with poor UX. And then down the rankings that website tumbles, to a place where no one will ever have the displeasure of seeing it!
So, if everyone (and Google) thinks UX experience is important, then we should all be taking it very seriously. But what actually is UX, and how can you make it better on your own website? UX refers to the overall experience someone has when they visit and interact with a website. It’s just the same as you visiting a store, having a good wander around, and finally coming to the conclusion whether you love, hate or are indifferent to the place.
UX encompasses a wide range of factors that could possibly influence a visitor’s perception of a website. These include things like usability, accessibility, design, performance, and overall satisfaction. A website that provides visitors with a positive experience is crucial in achieving that website’s goals, whether they be informational, transactional, or interactive. So, in other words, having good UX adds to how successful a website will be.
Let’s take a closer look at some of these factors that make up good UX and give you some food for thought for your own website…
Is your website easy to use? Can visitors navigate to and find the information they need quickly and effortlessly? If you’re not too sure, then ask some friends or family members what their opinions are. Do they find your website intuitive to navigate? Are there clear calls to action (those are things that prompt immediate actions such as ‘Buy now’, ‘Contact Us’ etc.) Is navigating your website logical, or more like a maze where you can easily get lost?
All websites should be accessible for everyone, regardless of someone’s physical or cognitive limitations, as per the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act, 2005 (AODA). Website owners should be taking steps to ensure that all content shown on their websites can be easily accessed. This must also take into account the many users with disabilities who need to use assistive technology to access and engage with websites. Find out more about how to make your website accessible here.
With the increasing use of mobile devices, websites must be responsive and adapt to different screen sizes, not just desktop devices. If you had your website created many years back, then there’s a high chance that it wasn’t created with mobile users in mind. Which means that you’re losing out on a huge number of visitors. If this sounds like you, then don’t delay in getting a responsive website design done to ensure a seamless browsing experience for visitors that use all kinds of screen sizes.
Of course looks count, especially with web design. A visually appealing and consistent website design helps create a positive impression and boost your credibility. Don’t let your personal preferences cloud your judgement when having a website designed; it should always be designed with your customers in mind. Take time to research what layout, color scheme, typography, and overall aesthetics of the site will appeal to your target audience.
As well as looks, achieving top performance on a website is top priority. Your website should load quickly, and all interactive elements should respond promptly and as they are meant to. How many times have you visited a great looking website only to experience slow load times or unresponsive features? It’s frustrating, provides a negative experience and drives you to leave!
The substance of a website, which is high-quality, relevant content that meets the needs of the target audience, is crucial. Content really is king when it comes to websites because it can make or break a visitor’s experience. Not only that, but Google’s too; your website’s content contributes immensely to how your webpages will be ranked. Always aim to have relevant, easy to read, concise, well-organized and original content. And never EVER copy anyone else’s website content!
Following on from performance, all interactive elements that have been built into a website to enhance user engagement need to work quickly and smoothly. A great looking website can be a real turnoff when buttons, forms, and other interactive features don’t work. If your website uses plugins to provide any interactivity, always make sure you are using the latest software release to avoid any issues.
Of course, you’ll want any visitor to your website to enjoy what you have to offer – stay, browse, or shop. Establishing trust with every visitor is important for UX. A professional and appealing design, clear communication, and of course providing secure transactions if you’re selling anything, all contribute to building trust with users and boosting your credibility.
Making your website the best it can possibly be in providing a great user experience will be key to your online success. Understanding and optimizing these factors listed above will all help contribute to a positive user experience. This in turn will lead to user satisfaction, build your customer base, and help improve your website conversion rates. Maintaining great UX on your website will also be essential in the long term. This can be achieved through regular reviews, testing, making use of visitor feedback, and making sure that your website uses the most up to date and secure technology.