If you have a business such as a café, restaurant, or store, you know how important customer satisfaction is to your bottom line. By providing your customers with a positive experience, you can draw them back, and you also cash in on word-of-mouth marketing.
Now suppose you have a website. Chances are you do because, in today’s digital world, a strong online presence is just as important as a clean and tidy storefront. On the internet, your website becomes the face of your business.
You could have a landing page, an online store, or a blog. Either way, you’ve created it with a goal in mind, which could be selling a product or a service. User experience or UX is vital to your reaching that goal.
Your visitors also come to your website with a goal in mind – to buy something or to find a piece of information – and UX design focuses on helping them reach their goal as easily as possible. A positive user experience would mean that the user reached your website, scrolled through the various pages, was able to quickly understand what your website is about and got what they wanted without any hassle.
When done right, UX design goes unnoticed because it takes into account users’ values, preferences, abilities, and limitations. When done poorly, users become confused and frustrated, so they leave the site. Of course, there are countless things you can do to optimize your website but let’s start with four simple tips.
Loading Speed & Mobile-Friendly Design
Users expect a fast and easy online experience. There’s nothing more frustrating than having to wait too long for a page to load. Almost half of the internet users will leave a website if it takes more than three seconds to load. Keep in mind that nowadays, most people use their mobile devices to look for information online. Maybe they only have a few minutes while they’re waiting to get a cup of coffee. They will not have any patience for slow, unresponsive websites.
To assess your loading speed, you can use the free services provided by Google, and they also offer tips and suggestions on how to increase speed. You can try things like optimizing your images to reduce the size of files as much as possible without compromising their quality. You should also consider getting rid of any unnecessary features that might be slowing down your website. There are many tools and web design services that can help you.
As far as mobile-friendly design goes, we mentioned that most people use their mobile devices to look up information online, so you’ll want to make sure your website can adapt to all screen sizes. You can check this easily by resizing your browser window on your computer. Your website should automatically adapt to a different size. Note that Google also penalizes websites that are not mobile-friendly, so you’ll need to make this adjustment to get a good ranking in search results.
Have you ever been on a website that looks like it’s screaming for attention? There are endless pop-ups, autoplay, information overload, bright colors, and loads of animations. Would you say that it was a pleasant experience? Most likely, no. You probably got annoyed and left the website. Now we’re not saying to get rid of all these features, but they need to be used to enhance the users’ experience, not to get on their nerves. You need to find a balance. You need white space.
Although you may think that white space results in wasted real estate on your website, which could be used to advertise more services, white space is essential to UX design because it has been shown to reduce bounce rates by 20%. White space makes your content look better, and it makes it easier for users to navigate your website and find the information they’re looking for. White space does indeed take up space, but nobody likes a cluttered website design.
Instead of trying to get as much content above the fold (the part of the page immediately visible without scrolling) as possible, it’s better to organize it in a logical way so your visitors can quickly figure out where they need to go and what they need to do to get there.
Make Use of Conventions
Maybe you want your website to be as unique as possible, so people are more likely to remember it, but there are significant advantages to making use of conventions. First of all, people are familiar with them. That’s why they’re conventions. You can think of them as road signs. If every city within a country had completely different designs for road signs, it would make driving very difficult. This familiarity makes it easier for visitors to navigate your website, and it gives them a sense of comfort.
You can be creative, but your design needs to accommodate user expectations. What do users expect? Things like seeing the logo placed on the top left corner. They’re used to seeing the main navigation menu high up on the page, on the right side. If they want to search for something, they’ll look for the search feature in the header. If they want to contact you, they expect to find the contact information somewhere in the main menu.
Last but not least, you need to be consistent so you can give your users a coherent, seamless website experience. Whenever they click on a button that takes them to another page on your website, it should still look familiar. Drastic changes will confuse visitors. Many will be wondering if they’re even on the right page. The time it takes to readjust will frustrate them and make them less inclined to proceed.
Consistency shouldn’t apply just too different pages on a website. Everything must match. Colors, spacing, photos, illustration styles, font choices, and head sizes. All these elements should follow the same theme, so your design stays consistent as the users are moving between pages or looking for something on the same page. If you can provide users with a unified and seamless experience, they’ll spend more time on your website, and they’ll be more likely to convert to customers.