When you invest in a new website or spend money and time updating an existing website, you want to make sure it’s working hard for your business. A website should be a shop window which is open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, helping potential customers learn more about your business and allowing them to buy products or get in touch with you. But a common mistake made by businesses is that they create a website without putting themselves in their customer’s shoes. They create something which they like, instead of putting website visitors at the heart of the design. That could have a significant negative impact on the performance of the site, and therefore limits how helpful it is for your business. Let’s take a look at how taking a UX-based approach to website design can help.
What is UX?
UX stands for user experience and it’s a concept which can be applied to virtually anything – a product, a system or an interface. The aim of UX is to examine how a person interacts with and uses something, and then optimise the experience to make it relevant, efficient and, in some cases, meaningful to use. A UX designer will look at the touchpoints a person has with the system, interface or product in question and consider what they can do to improve the system. The aim is to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty by providing a seamless experience which is pleasurable and engaging.
When it’s applied to website design, UX aims to do the exact same thing. We’ve all been there – visiting onto a website with a clear idea of the information we want to find but getting lost in bad menus and confusing content. Whether you’ve found that website from a link on social media or a Google search engine results page, you expect to be able to navigate the website easily and only click through one or two pages to find what you need.
Why does website UX matter?
- It will lower your website bounce rate
Your bounce rate is the percentage of people who land on your web page and then leave without taking any further action. If a website visitor can easily see where to get information (there are clear call to action buttons or menu choices and the text on the page is easy to read) they are more likely to stay on the website. That will help lower your bounce rate, which is good news for your brand.
- It will boost website conversion rates
If information and calls to action on your website are clear, it makes it much easier for website visitors to take action. A conversion on your website could be clicking a button to another page, downloading a PDF, filling out a form or making a purchase. Good UX, which shows people the information they need, makes them more likely to convert. And that’s good news for you – while you’re free to do something else, your website is moving website visitors down the sales funnel for you!
- It improves customer satisfaction
If you are in the lucky position of being one of the only businesses operating in your field, you might make a sale on your website despite it having shocking UX. But this isn’t very good for customer perception of your brand. If they’ve had to search high and low on your website for the product they want to buy and then the purchase journey takes them 10 minutes and mutiple clocks and forms, they will probably be left feeling frustrated and confused. Do you think they are likely to recommend you to other people? Or even come back and buy from you again?
How to start your journey to fulfilling UX
Good UX doesn’t need to be complicated. In fact, a lot of UX for websites is common sense. All you need to do is look at your website through the eyes of someone who is landing on it for the first time. Can they easily see what you do and who you do it for? Is the menu easy to find and use? Are there call to action buttons on every page? Do they have to scroll for ages to find what they need? Let’s break these ideas down into 4 areas to consider when you’re optimising your UX:
- Colours and Fonts
This might sound very basic, but you would be surprised how many people get this wrong. THey have a logo and want to use the brand colours for the website, but they are dark or hard to overlay with text, and the result is a website which is visually unappealing and hard to read. The same goes with fonts – we see people keen to use the same font that is in their logo when it’s just not suitable for website copy. A good graphic designer can identify complementary colours which work well with your logo and work for backgrounds and text on your website. The same goes for fonts – look for fonts which complement your logo but are also easy-to-read and attractive.
- Optimise Website Load Time
Another quick way to frustrate website visitors, and risk prompting them to head elsewhere, is if your website pages are really slow to load. You’ve probably clicked on a website and the homepage gets stuck without its images, or a video loading makes your computer grind to a halt for a moment. That could be because the images are very high res or video files are too big, and they haven’t been compressed properly. Or it could be that old plugins or bad coding is slowing it down – but either way, a good UX website designer should be able to sort it out for you.
- Mobile-Optimised Content and Menus
Mobile browsers accounted for half of all website views globally in January 2022, and that means your website needs to be fully responsive. That means it looks good and works properly on desktops, tablets and smartphones, without people having to zoom on or reload a page to make it work. The most important part of a responsive website is that the menu is visible and working properly on a mobile device. Otherwise, website visitors who drop onto your homepage from a mobile phone will be staying… on your homepage.
- Include Calls to Action
Every page on your website should have a job to do, and a goal associated with it. For example, your homepage should clearly and quickly inform visitors of what your business does, who you do it for and how to learn more or get in touch with you. Your services or product pages should take a slightly deeper dive into the detail and show people how to buy from you. There are different ways you can use copy (the words) on a website to attract attention, empathise with a website visitor and then encourage them to act. The latter is called a call to action – using words to guide website visitors into doing something which gets them closer to being a customer. That could be signing up to your newsletter, booking a call, downloading a PDF, filling in a form, visiting a product page or reading a blog. A call to action linked to the specific goal for a page should be inserted into the copy on every page of your website.