We all know that online marketing is constantly evolving. In line with new marketing developments, we need to make sure that company websites are also up to scratch. Imagine the disappointment of seeing a fantastic campaign, then going to a website only to find it difficult to navigate. The result, generally, will be that people will abandon a website if it isn’t easy to find what they are looking for within a few clicks. This could mean that big budget campaigns become fruitless.
Nobody wants that. So, let’s take a look at the basics of User Experience, how to monitor it, and how to make changes.
What is UX?
User Experience (UX) refers to not just the way your website is designed, but to improve how people use it. Without a positive user experience, your marketing strategy and efforts can suffer no matter how beautiful your site is. This highlights the importance of understanding the components of a great UX design.
The primary requirement for outstanding UX is to meet the exact needs of the customer without any trouble. The broader perspective of UX goes beyond just giving them what they want. Design, layout, brand, interaction and interface design all come into play when developing the best user experience.
Why is it Important?
It’s not just about having a nice-looking website, there are measurable factors which can be improved through UX.
If a user has a bad or difficult online experience, it is highly likely they won’t come back. Not as long as they know the website is poor. Not only have you missed out on business from that user, they may be more inclined to go to a competitor with a better website.
Similarly, if a customer has an average experience on your site, but a brilliant one with a competitor, they will probably go back to the competitor.
The design is not simply about looking good for the customers, but the deeper effects of UX prove that it needs to stand out amongst competition to maintain a solid standing in the market. Equally, having all the bells and whistles is one thing, but succeeding in the entire customer experience is the ultimate goal.
When a customer feels like it is easy and natural for them to achieve what they came to do, they may be better inclined to return more often. Regular visits could allow for more frequent purchases, which works both in the favour of the business and the customer.
Whilst customer experience and user experience are different threads of the larger customer satisfaction bubble, the UX is more on the technical and psychological side. Knowing how people react with different styles, layouts and formats can help to improve the UX value.
Return on Investment and Conversion Rates
Proven ROI gains from UX include overall revenue and conversion boost, less requirement for customer support, and reduced development waste, creating a more efficient process. Regardless of whether the industry is B2C or B2B, increased customer satisfaction is a great metric for success.
The impact of any UX activity is quantifiable. You can look at conversion rates, page bounce rates, how long users spend on particular pages as well as, obviously, how many make that all-important step to purchase.
Efficiency and Productivity
With great user experience comes great efficiencies. Visitors can quickly find the information they want and make their purchasing decisions faster.
On the flip side, strong UX can also enhance your workforce’s productivity. While customers are users, your workforce could also be, depending on the business type. Streamlining digital processes and simplifying system navigation can make life easier for the workforce, enabling them to execute tasks more efficiently.
Therefore, whoever the user is, make sure that it does what it should, but that it is a sensible and efficient way to do so.
UX Quick Wins
If you can already see potential for UX, there are a number of podcasts which may interest you. Here’s some quick points to consider. Try looking at your own website, or any you like, and judge it based on these points:
Important Information Above the Fold
Imagine you’re on the hunt for something and you need it quickly. You look on a homepage, another site page, another one, and close tab. You do it again with a different site. Now imagine you had scrolled down those pages and the information was right there waiting for you.
We need to be able to find what we’re looking for as easily as possible. This is why important information needs to be above the fold. The fold is the piece of the site which we can see within the screen without having to scroll, and of course can change on devices.
Make a conscious effort to put the most important information as high up the page as possible. If you can’t, make sure the navigation options are up there instead.
We keep returning to the point that it needs to be easy for the user, but it is so important. They say that the information you need should be no more than 3 clicks away on a website. This is a huge thing for designers and developers to consider.
Whether or not the information can be above the fold, navigation menus must be clear, concise and answers must be within a few clicks.
From desktop to mobile, to any other new formats which appear over time, all websites must be responsive. Ever tried to navigate a desktop website on a mobile device? It is not easy, and not for the impatient.
Responsive design means that the content on the website can manoeuvre itself so that all is visible on the device and is easy to use. Whatever the screen size, the site can respond and show a user-friendly interface.
Page Load Times
Long load times can be one of the greatest causes of annoyance and thus, cause drop-off before purchase, or even page-bounces before a search begins. The process needs to run quickly and smoothly, no matter what industry you are in. Generally, as users, we can get impatient online very quickly; if we can’t find what we need fast, we’ll look elsewhere.
Reviewing site maps and navigation of the site, as well as the value of all pages on the website, may be able to help define where the issues in load time stem from. Once this is identified, it can be revised.
If you are looking for advice on how to judge and improve the UX of your website, get in touch, and we’ll see what we can do.