When watching a movie, you expect to be taken on a journey—one that’s filled with emotion and even inspiration. It’s safe to assume one of the primary goals movie producers have is to get viewers to enjoy the movie and watch it in its entirety.
When you think about it, the above bears a striking resemblance to what you want to happen when you create your website—you want people to enjoy their stay, have an easy and seamless experience so they will stay on your site longer.
Nowadays, your website is one of the most powerful marketing tools you have access to. Just like a robust SEO keyword strategy, how your website is designed can make a world of difference in your digital marketing efforts.
When you design your website, you need to consider user-friendliness and how all the essential elements come together in the visitors’ eyes. Various elements play into your website’s overall feel, and all of those parts impact user experience (UX).
A whopping 88% of consumers indicate they have had a negative mobile experience on websites. Another 30% revealed they wouldn’t revisit a site after a bad user experience. Undeniably, user experience has a massive impact on the success of your website (or even your brick-and-mortar store). That said, you must get this one right the first time.
User Experience in a Nutshell
According to usability.gov, user experience (also known as UX) “focuses on having a deep understanding of users, what they need, what they value, their abilities, and also their limitations. It also takes into account the business goals and objectives of the group managing the project.”
In essence, user experience revolves around how you can make the experience of your visitors as valuable and as meaningful as possible. A good user experience means:
- Visitors visited your site
- They scrolled through the different pages
- They had a clear understanding of what your website is all about
- They got what they were looking for and wanted
Factors That Can Impact User Experience
Several factors can influence user experience. These key factors can also make or break your business. The key factors are:
- Value. Does your product, service, or content make the time visitors spend on your website worthwhile?
- Usability. Is your website straightforward to use?
- Usefulness. Does your site satisfy the requirements of your visitors?
- Desirability. Does your brand strike an emotional chord with your visitors and users?
- Findability. Is your website easy to navigate?
- Accessibility. Can people with disabilities easily access your website?
- Credibility. Does your identity, content, service, or brand build trust and belief?
How to Improve Your Website’s User Experience: Top Tips
To provide your visitors with a compelling user experience, keep the following top tips in mind:
Tip #01: Use white space accordingly.
White space is crucial to great design. When used correctly, white space can make your site’s content more legible. At the same time, it also enables visitors to focus on the necessary elements that surround the text.
Some studies indicate that white space around titles and texts can increase user attention by 20%. It can also make your site feel fresh, open, and modern. If white space is consistent with your branding, it can help you convey your message more clearly.
Tip #02: Ensure your page speed is optimized.
If your site takes forever to load, your visitors can get frustrated and leave. It is also important to keep in mind that many people now visit your content through various platforms. Not only that, they also expect to access any results they want fast.
When visitors don’t get what they want or don’t find what they are looking for right away, they can leave your site for good. One study indicated that an extra five-second page load time could increase your site’s bounce rate by as much as 20%!
Compressing your images before loading them on your site would be an excellent place to start if you want to boost your page speed. This might not be common knowledge, but the image file size is one of the factors that can slow down loading time significantly.
Tip #03: Use compelling calls to action.
It’s safe to assume most of your site visitors are already well-versed when it comes to following visual cues that point them to important content. Call to action (CTA) marked with an action word enables them to navigate your site more easily.
When creating buttons for your website, it is recommended that you factor in the psychology of color. It is also important to keep in mind that different colors can evoke different emotions.
That said, consider the emotion you want to evoke and choose your colors accordingly. Another critical factor you need to consider is the words you use for your call to action buttons.
As a general rule of thumb, pick words that include an action word that can entice your visitors to do what you want. Ensure the words are action-oriented, time-sensitive, and bold.
Tip #04: Include well-written and well-designed headings.
Your headings and content should focus on what your potential visitors are looking for. Integrating keywords in your titles is also crucial if you want to target and attract the right audience.
Typically, search engines give more weight to headings over other content, so create your headings accordingly to improve your searchability. In addition, the right content will also resonate with your audience and will speak to them effectively.
Tip #05: Keep everything consistent.
To keep things consistent, make sure your colors, font choices, spacing, illustration styles, heading sizes, button styles, space, photo choices, etc., should be themed to ensure your design is coherent among all the pages.
Also, refrain from making drastic design changes so visitors won’t get confused and wonder if they are still on the same site. If your site is inconsistent, visitors can also lose trust in your site and leave.
Tips #06: Be mindful of your 404s.
While search engines won’t punish your site for soft 404 errors (page not found), most visitors will. When visitors click on an image or link, they expect the link to take them to where they want to go.
It is important to remember that 404 errors will annoy your visitors and make them rethink the time they will spend on your website. Often, they would rather move someplace else to find what they are looking for.
Check if you have 404s by setting up Google Webmaster tools on your site and allowing it to check crawl errors. You can also use free online 404 checkers so you can spot 404 errors with ease.
Compelling UX design should be a cohesive effort that will simplify the experience of your web visitors and provide value to them. Your site’s design should be contemporary, functional, and relevant to your audience, leaving nothing in the way.
About the Author
Shawn Byrne is the founder and CEO of SEOPhoenix.net. Shawn started his career in I.T. troubleshooting workstations, servers and networks, then went on to doing SEO as a side project and quickly found success in ranking websites. It was easy for him to grasp not only the algorithms but also the technical side which most SEO strategists miss and neglect because of its complexities. SEO Phoenix then grew based on its own rankings and referrals.