Human interaction with technology has changed by leaps and bounds since their very first association. The arrival of the first personal computer in the 1970s brought about a revolution and laid a foundation for the question, “How should people interact with computers, and how can that interaction be made intuitive?”
This paved the way for the development of Human-Computer Interaction (HCI) in the 1980s, which progressed into Interaction design in the 1990s. The core of UX design is the very same- to improve user experience on the website, mobile app, or wherever there is an interaction between humans and technology. UX design is a continuation of HCI and interactive design, but which deals with a whole new set of products and technologies. And regardless of how much has changed, the aim remains to provide an intuitive, smooth, and pleasant experience to users.
What is User Experience (UX)?
In the words of Don Norman, the founder of the term User Experience, UX encompasses everything that touches upon a users’ interaction with a product. What does he mean by this? It means that UX is not just about the experience of a user at the time they are using a product, but also before they use a product and after it.
So it is not just about making an easy and attractive interface. It is also about the experience that the product conveys through its marketing, packaging, delivery, post-delivery support, etc. And throughout this all, a UX designer has to continuously address the needs of users. Otherwise, a design, no matter how excellent, will just go into the void. To improve the user experience on the website, UX design services have to implement the right balance of usability, usefulness, and desirability.
The Importance of Improving Your User Experience
One thing to understand about UX is that it does not apply just to digital products. It applies to everything around us, be it a website, a coffee cup, or a pair of shoes. And in all of these, the need to enhance user experience is to increase business sales by satisfying users and providing them a valuable interaction with your product.
Now, let us talk specifically about the user experience of websites. What is the need to improve user experience on the website? To what extent does UX design affect a business?
1. Reduce Cost
A good UX design will significantly help to reduce the overall cost of development. When a design is done after extensive user research and has been through several iterations, the chances of having to make design changes post-launch is very less. So although it might seem like a big investment upfront, in the long run, it will save a lot of money.
2. Increase Conversions:
While looking for a product online, haven’t you experienced this feeling where you immediately take to a product upon seeing its website? Why does it happen? Because the website provides an optimized UI vs. UX experience and gives you a feel of simplicity and quality. It is clear, intuitive, and tells you exactly what you need to know. That is the power that UX design has in increasing conversions.
3. Improve SEO
Google’s search algorithm gives a lot of weightage to the user experience of websites. A poor UX can result in poor SEO ranking. This also applies to marketing strategies such as paid media or pay per click. Thus a great UX will lead to healthy SEO rankings and successful ad campaigns.
4. Build a Loyal Audience
When you give your users an intuitive and enjoyable UX, you are actually valuing their time and effort. Users will return this by giving your brand recognition and staying loyal to your services.
5. Increase Referrals
No matter how much-advanced marketing strategies become, word of mouth will always be relevant and reliable. When users are satisfied with your service, they will naturally refer you to their peers. And since people buy people, it will lead to you gaining new customers.
In essence, when you improve user experience on a website, you create a drive that will uplift your clients as well as your services.
How to Make a Website User Friendly?
A good website is not the one that talks about who you are and what you offer. A good website is one that converts a browser to a buyer. The only way to make a website user friendly is by designing with the user in mind. This is the key point that every UX design company should remember.
So how do you do this? By understanding the user requirements, behavior, and pain points. When you get to know the people you are designing for, you work till you effectively meet their needs. Using digital tools and research methods and designing together with the user, you build a user-friendly website and provide value.
Top 16 Tips to Improve User Experience on Website
A study conducted by Forbes showed that a well-designed user interface increased conversion rate by 200%, and with furtherance, it could raise conversion rate to up to 400%. When the popular sports channel ESPN improved their UX by incorporating user suggestions to their brand website, they witnessed a 35% increase in their revenue!
A website is an anchor for every business. A person who is on a website is on a journey to accomplish some goal. Let’s take a look at 16 tips we can use to improve user experience on the website and guide them to their goal enjoyably.
1. Faster, the better
When it comes to webpage load time, every second is precious! The golden line for loading time is between 1-2 seconds. That is when the highest conversions happen. And when a website takes more than 3 seconds to load, the bounce rate starts increasing. From a rate of 9% at 2 seconds, it skyrockets to 38% at 5 seconds. Mostly, users come with a purpose and are impatient. Hence to satisfy them, it is essential to optimize website loading time.
2. Conventions are Your Friends
Conventions are like old friends that give us a feeling of familiarity. And familiarity in website design is a deciding factor that holds user engagement. This does not mean your design shouldn’t accommodate the innovative UX design trends, but just that the innovation shouldn’t come at the cost of advantages offered by conventions. Standard conventions like logo placement on the top left, contact info on the bottom, main navigation menu on top, etc., make users take to a website even on their first visit.
3. Choose Images Wisely
Images are great- they catch the user’s eyes, give a break from text, and convey messages more coherently. However, not every image can achieve this. Generic images, such as stock images, fail to make a connection and impress users, whereas using original images help to convey a better message and increase conversion rates by about 45%. Authentic images put across a personalized message to users and help to build a bond.
4. Make Links Look Like Links
The goal of every website is to get the user to take some action. Hyperlinks are a practised method to achieve this. But links will only be clicked if they are easily identifiable. Here, the best way is to stick to conventions. Usually, in web pages, links are differentiated by underlined and blue coloured texts. Also, it’s good to have links that are longer as compared to one or two words. Links should be obvious and easily differentiable.
5. Let Your Design Breathe
White space or empty space gives your design room to breathe. It helps to make your content look readable, legible, and easy to scan. Using whitespace in design is found to increase user attention by 20%! It adds elegance to a website and makes it look organized and clutter-free. Using whitespace to enhance content helps to improve user experience on a website by a big margin. However, you have to keep in mind to create a balance between whitespace and content. Otherwise, it will just drive users to frustration.
6. Break Content into Bullets
Nothing makes users happier than finding information easily. Bullets are a great way to break long text into easy-to-read points and make those key information stand out. Suppose you have a large, text-filled paragraph on one side and few bullet points on the other side; which one would you read? Bullet points, right? That is what we are talking about. Bullet points appeal to the users, help them find information quickly, and make it easy to remember.
7. Be Consistent, Not Confusing
Consistency is key to maintain good user navigation on websites. It means throughout the website, elements such as fonts, colors, button styles, etc., match. It is one of the most important UX design principles to be followed. When users move from one page to another, an inconsistent website will confuse them and lead them to stop browsing. On the other hand, a consistent website will provide an enhanced user experience and project the image of a high-quality product/service. It leads to more conversion and user retention.
8. Use CTAs That Stand Out
CTAs initiate actions from the users. It helps users with easy navigation and also improves conversion rates. CTAs should be prominent on any page of your website and at any point during a user journey. To make CTAs stand out, buttons can be enhanced using appropriate colors and by giving them some textures. Equally important is the position of the CTA as well as the text on them. The text should contain an action verb and trigger an action from the user.
9. Write Better Headlines
Headlines are sneak peeks that inform users what the content under it is about. Well designed headlines act as guides to users that take them where they want to go in an easy and effortless way. Your headlines should be targeted, pass the message clearly, and attract the audience. It’s best to use keywords in your headlines as it helps potential clients find you as well as improve your SEO rankings.
10. 404 Errors Are Not Cool
Imagine you click expecting to reach a page where you can take some action only to be greeted by a “Page Not Found” message. How frustrating would that be! 404 errors annoy users and disrupt their journey through a website. It plays a huge role in hampering the user experience. So if you are looking to improve user experience on your website, catch your 404 errors. You can use tools such as Google Webmaster to do this and save your users from dead ends.
11. Say More With Fewer Words
Bulky texts are a massive put-off. So are non-standard speech forms and difficult languages. The content of your website shouldn’t overwhelm the users. They should be easy to grasp, read, and understand. Think about how you can say more with less. Avoid unnecessary words wherever possible. Don’t write about things that don’t affect your user actions. Do research about your target users and make your kind focussed and precise.
13. Responsive Design is a Must-Have
Today, we are surrounded by gadgets of all screen sizes. Nearly everyone walks around with a smartphone in their hand. Thus, most of the web browsing also happens via mobile devices. So if your website isn’t responsive and mobile-friendly, you lose out on a lot of users. Mobile optimization also helps your website in terms of SEO. No matter what the screen size of the device you’re using, the design should be able to adapt. Most designers follow a mobile-first approach in their UX design process nowadays.
14. Readability is Crucial
When content is easy to read and skim, it becomes immediately appealing. How to achieve this? By maintaining a visual and typographical hierarchy and by using legible fonts, it is an easy task. Use different headings levels, write short paragraphs, use simple fonts, highlight key terms- and there, your content becomes so much better! A website that is readable will retain users and decrease bounce rates. It also plays a part in improving the SEO ranking.
15. Security is Key
2 out of 3 users abandon online purchases because a website couldn’t make them feel secure enough to divulge their personal information. Security is a crucial concern for every system. A website may be using exceptional security measures, but if the users are not aware of it, it might fail to meet the goals. A UX designer can help solve this concern by using seemingly simple measures such as images of a lock or a security validation message at places where the user is asked to enter confidential information. This balance in security and UX can improve user experience on website tenfold.
16. Reflect and Review
Often we get caught up with meeting deadlines and ticking off checklists that we don’t find the time to stop and reflect on our designs. Eventually, this leads to the designs becoming weak and inconsistent, which will lead to usability issues and deteriorate the user experience. It is ideal to set aside time to sit together as a team or hire a UX consultant to review your design strategy and improve the user experience on the website. This will help you find the shortcomings in your design and continually refine it and stay consistent.
The Value of User Experience
In the end, the goal is to provide value to website users. We hope these 16 tips help you improve user experience on a website and optimize your design till it suits the needs of your users. With the right balance of everything, you will be equipped to provide the best experience to your website visitors. A good user experience brings value to your business and your users.