Is your website meeting the user expectations of ever more demanding mobile consumers? These 19 simple tips will help you improve your website user experience.
Why Should You Improve Your Website User Experience?
It doesn’t matter if you have a website, a simple landing page, an online store, a site for your online classes or training, or simply a personal blog. You have this for a reason, either to sell a product, a service or you want people to subscribe to your mailing list. And to make that happen you need to convert your website visitors. Which also means you must focus on how to improve your website user experience.
When website visitors first arrive on your site, they begin what I like to call their journey of conversion. Yes, I know you are ready to sell. But your visitors are not quite ready to buy yet. They have certain expectations regarding your website usability and the mobile-first user experience it provides.
Why User Experience Design?
Simply having a responsive website is no longer enough. And if you have an e-commerce site there are even more things you need to consider. Your website is the core anchor for your digital marketing efforts. Designing a great mobile-first user experience requires understanding the problems different types of website visitors have to solve.
Let’s say that at least some of your website visitors actually sign up for your newsletter, or even purchase a product. Even if some of them do convert, they’re not coming back. Your website didn’t create much of an impact in their minds that they would come back. Quite simply, if you do not provide at least an adequate user experience across all devise your visitors will simply go and look elsewhere.
How Does UX Design Affect You?
If you make it easy and intuitive for your site visitors to find what they are looking for, and take the intended action, your online presence will support your business objectives. But if you provide a bad user experience it doesn’t really matter how awesome your content is. Nobody will stick around long enough to actually find it.
Only if you put consistent effort into improving the user experience of your website and everything that goes with it, will you turn things around and improve engagement and conversions on your website, online store, or blog.
If you want to improve your website user experience you must first understand the problems different visitors have to solve. Here are the most important things you should keep in mind.
How to Improve Your Website User Experience
1. Be Mobile-First
In 2019 it is absolutely imperative that you have a mobile-first website. In order to meet the demands of ever more demanding and sophisticated mobile consumers, your website must be easy to navigate no matter what type of device they use to access it.
Google started penalizing sites that aren’t optimized for mobile devices, making the need for mobile-first web design even more crucial. This is probably the single-most valuable way for improving website user experience and usability. If you’re not sure if your online presence is mobile-friendly use one of these 10 tools for testing your site on mobile devices.
2. Optimize Your Page Speed
The next step to improve your website user experience is to keep your page load speed to 3 seconds or less. Modern consumers are increasingly impatient. Whether browsing online at Starbucks or while watching TV on their laptop, they expect fast results for the content that they want.
When they don’t get that, they will leave your site in less time it took you to reads this. Slow page load is an interrupting experience for the user, and it can be a source of frustration and often users simply don’t have the time to wait. You can use a tool like GTMetrix or Google Page Speed to test how fast your website loads. If you have a slow website here are some essential tips for improving your page load speed.
3. Focus on the Journey of Conversion
I already mentioned the importance of focusing on your visitors’ journey of conversion if you want to improve your website user experience. Your website is there to take your customers through the buyer’s journey, hopefully ending in a conversion. Therefore, every aspect of your online presence must have a reason for being there.
If you want an effective online presence it needs to answer the following questions:
- What product or service do you offer?
- Why is your product or service better than those of your competitors?
- What do your (hopefully satisfied) existing customers have to say?
- What action do you want your website visitors to take?
That’s it! Nothing else is really required at this stage. Once you get your target audience to take action, then you can direct them to other content or pages on your site. If you overwhelm them when they first arrive, they will simply leave and head over to one of your competitors.
4. Be Conventional
Yes, I get it! You want to stand out from all the digital noise. You want a website that is totally different. But that is usually not the best way to improve your website user experience. Why? Because website visitors are used to certain standard website conventions.
Here are some of the most common website conventions:
- Logo placed on the top-left corner.
- Main navigation menu placed highest up on the page, on the right side or centered.
- Contact included in the main navigation menu.
- Call to action button at the top.
- The search feature in the header.
- Sign-up form in the footer.
- Social media links (as icons) in the footer.
- Social sharing buttons sticky on the left side of the page.
Of course, there are ways to differ from the above. But if you really want to improve your website user experience, I recommend you don’t stray too far, and keep the above elements easy to find and use on your site.
5. Reduce the Number of Website Pages
There used to be a time when having tons of pages on your website lead to higher search rankings, more user engagement, and better conversions. And website content is still an important usability and search ranking factor. Just don’t have too much of it.
A website with dozens of pages for each and every bit of content is not efficient, especially when someone is in the initial stages of the journey of conversion. You can greatly improve your website user experience simply by eliminating unnecessary pages and content.
6. Keep Pages Consistent
Inconsistent page design or layout is a common complaint from website users. This is especially important on mobile devices. If you want to improve your website user experience, it is important that your visitors know they are still in your website. Drastic design changes from one page to the other can lead your user to feel lost and confused and to lose trust in your site.
If you want to improve your website user experience you must aim for consistency. Heading sizes, font choices, coloring, button styles, spacing, design elements, illustration styles, photo choices, everything must be themed to make your design coherent on and between pages.
7. Use White Space
Your website visitors will have a much easier time to consume your content if you provide them with visual breaks. Cramming your site and pages quickly becomes visually overwhelming. This causes visitor fatigue and is a leading cause for website abandonment. White space is essential to good web design. It makes your content more legible and enables visitors to focus on the elements surrounding the text.
If you want to provide a better user experience be sure to keep white space around your titles and text, and around your images. Simply by doing this you can increase user attention by 20%. White space can also make your website feel open, fresh and modern and if your branding is consistent with these then it can help you communicate that feeling to the user.
8. Choose Colors Wisely
Colors carry a whole lot of meaning when it comes to branding. A recognizable and consistent color scheme is an essential part of building an effective brand. Customers associate various meanings to colors when they are used by a brand. For example, blues evoke confidence and honesty while orange is seen as innovative and creative. Be sure to use the colors that support the type of branding message you want to communicate to your audience.
9. Simplify Text Formatting
When it comes to formatting text in a more user-friendly way, here are some suggestions:
- Use a sans-serif font for better readability
- Sans-serif fonts like Arial, Helvetica, etc., are easier to read on digital screens than serif fonts like Georgia, Times New Roman, etc.
10. Use Clear Page Headings
Another way to improve your website user experience is by optimizing your headings and content. They should be driven by what your target audience is looking for. Including keywords in your title is also very important for targeting your message and attracting the right audience.
Search engines typically give headings more weight over other content, so choosing the right heading and making it stand out can significantly improve your searchability. But more importantly, headings are important signposts for website visitors, making it easy for them to scan through and find content that speaks to them directly.
11. Organize Key Information
Bullet points will enable the user to quickly get all the information they want, such as benefits, ways you solve their problem, and key features of your product or service, in a short amount of time. This will make your propositions more attractive and enable your user to get all the information they need.
And bulleted lists no longer have to be boring. With tons of cool icons out there, you can get creative with your bullet and further engage visitors with images that represent your point.
12. Keep It Short
In 2019 website visitors, especially those coming to your site from mobile devices, don’t read content; they scan it. This means that long blocks of text will not work if you want to improve your website user experience. Instead of writing a lot of content, make a habit of saying more with fewer words.
You need to eliminate content that likely to be get ignored. Ask yourself what it is that you care about the most and what your visitors should care about the most. You don’t want to overwhelm visitors with too much content. Remove everything that doesn’t directly affect people’s decisions.
13. Use Images Wisely
Do certain websites already seem overly familiar ton you when you first visit them? You are not alone if you get that feeling! Modern consumers can easily pick out a generic stock photo they’ve already seen elsewhere or that resembles the non-personal style of stock photography.
Bottom line? While stock photography can be high quality, it fails to create a connection between the user and the brand. Using stock images stand out as generic and non-unique and can decrease trust. Unfortunately, these associations carry over to your business as well.
Ultimately, no stock images will be as capable of conveying your brand, services, and products the way that you want to. Only your own actual images can do that while also speaking clearly to your potential customer. Use images strategically and place them in your website to support the content and allow the users a visual break from text, but make sure they are relevant and non-generic.
14. Optimize Your Calls to Action
Your customers are already accustomed to following visual cues to determine which content is important to them. Calls to Actions (CTAs) that are clearly marked with an action word enable your website users to more easily navigate your site and get exactly what they want in the location they expect to find it.
Another thing to consider is the actual words you use for your buttons. The words should include a verb or an action word that excite the user to do something or instill a sense of urgency. Selecting the right words or psychological triggers is determined by the level of emotional identification that word prompts.
15. Make Your Links Stand Out
A key aspect of having a website is to get website visitors to take action. Frequently that includes clicking on links or buttons. One way to improve your website user experience is to make your links and buttons stand out. Make sure your inline text links are easy to notice. Keep the style of your buttons consistent throughout, and make sure they are easy to click on regardless of screen size!
16. Keep Opt-ins Minimal
We live in a fast-paced world and people don’t want to take the time to fill out lengthy forms. Make sure you are only asking for information that you absolutely need. Many sites only ask for your first name and email address, which usually works best. Once you start asking more than that, though, the chances of someone filling out your form decreases significantly.
17. Eliminate 404 Errors
You probably have had this experience; you click on a link only to be told that page can’t be found. It can happen on just about any website, and for all kinds of reasons. The most common one is moved or deleted content. But it provides a really bad user experience for your visitors, and search engines don’t like 404 errors, either.
To improve your website user experience, try to eliminate page not found errors. You check if you have any 404 errors by setting up Google Webmaster tools on your website and check crawl errors. You can also provide a custom page not found page with links to other website content to help your website visitors find what they need.
18. Focus on Website Security
If you want to improve your website user experience you first have to provide a safe and secure browsing experience. The main reason many consumers will abandon their cart or leave a website is that something scared them off. Modern consumers are very concerned with the safety of their personal information.
Therefore, the safety and security of your website must be a top concern to your business as well. If you don’t have a security system in place yet, get one. Be sure to clearly display your security features with trust badges throughout your website – especially on the checkout page. When customers see a security badge or trust seal on an e-commerce site, they are more likely to complete their purchase.
19. Conduct Website Audits
Any business website will always be a work in progress; it is never really finished. There will always be room for improvement, especially as new trends emerge. Therefore, it is essential that you conduct regular website audits, so you are aware of any errors or shortcomings on your site or e-commerce store. There are a number of website audit tools you can use to analyze your online presence.
Be sure to stay on top of your customer reviews and look for patterns regarding the UX of your website or send out surveys to customers asking them to rate the usability. For a more technical approach, you can try a UX auditing tool that will gather analytical data to identify the areas that need improvement.
Why You Must Improve Your Website User Experience
There you have it. The basics to improve your website user experience. I hope these tips have given you some ideas on how you can align your website to be more user-friendly without having to do a complete redesign. Because having a user-friendly website that meets mobile user expectations is absolutely critical for the success of your business.
Nearly one-third of customers will abandon a brand after a single bad experience. Furthermore, 54% of consumers are unsatisfied with the UX from the majority of online brands. Your customer’s happiness should be a top priority, especially once you realize how much rides on their online experience. Keep these tips in mind and see what areas of your website could use a little improvement.
Remember, these tips for improving your website user experience are only the start. The next step is to start analyzing how your target audience is visiting your website and what they are doing on it. If you want to continually do well, you need to start optimizing your website, keep testing and see what works the best. We are here to help.
Need Help Improving Your Website User Experience?
Our innovative mobile-first web design team can help you develop just about any type of WordPress website. We are experts at carefully crafting custom mobile-friendly websites to meet (almost) any budget. From designing new WordPress websites, redesigning or updating an existing website, building responsive e-Commerce websites to creating a multilingual online presence for your business we work directly with the client to prepare them for the ever more demanding mobile consumer. Why not get started by requesting your free web design estimate?
And if you are still not sure how you can improve your website user experience, don’t worry! Simply reach out and contact us. Our expert team will listen to you, answer your questions, and determine the best way to improve and enhance your user experience design. It is one of our specialties, after all!
Are You Providing a Great User Experience?
Are you providing an adequate user experience to meet your mobile user expectations? If not, what is the biggest obstacle to improving your UX design? Do you have other problems with your business website? Please feel free to let us know so our audience can benefit as well and grab our feed so you don’t miss our next post! And feel free to share our post with your audience!
Thank you! We appreciate your help to end bad business websites, one pixel at a time!
By Gregor Schmidt
Co-Founder / CXO