If you want your website to succeed, it’s important to optimize your user experience (UX). The quality of the experience that your website provides is the baseline for creating happy users and then converting them into satisfied customers. The thing is, good UX isn’t just a nice option, it’s imperative.
Designer Frank Chimero put it best in his oft-repeated quote, “People ignore design that ignores people.”
With Chimero’s words ringing in our ears, here are several tips and suggestions to help you craft the best user experience possible on your blog, website, or e-commerce store. Regardless of whether you’ve heard of these before or not, all of them are important to remember and carefully consider when working on the aesthetics, layout, and functionality of your site.
Study the Competition
The first thing you should do is spend some time researching your competition. Visit their websites and look for features that both aid and compromise their UX efforts. Do they have simple navigation? Are they mobile friendly? Have they used a layout that is particularly attractive to your shared customer demographics?
As you study the competition, take notes of what does and what doesn’t work. This can go a long way in informing where your site’s UX is thriving and where it desperately needs some help.
Analyze Your Analytics
Along with checking in on the competition, it’s essential that you have solid statistics about your own website’s performance. Make sure that you have an analytics tracker, like Google Analytics, in place in order to gather information such as website traffic, bounce rates, and dwell time.
As you review this information, look for a few different things including:
- What pages are receiving more traffic than others: This can help you differentiate between what content is attractive and resonates with your customers and what content isn’t helpful or simply doesn’t interest them.
- What pages have higher bounce rates than others: This is a sign that potential customers are clicking on your article titles but are not finding the answers that they’re looking for.
- What pages have healthy a higher dwell time: This is a sign that the content is working and the average reader is sticking around and actually engaging with your site.
Set Optimization Goals
Now that you have a basic grasp of what is working and what needs help, it’s time to set some SMART goals:
- Specific: What are the specific actions that you must take in order to improve your site’s user experience?
- Measurable: How will you be able to know if you’ve improved your UX? Through feedback, surveys, analytics?
- Achievable: Are you aiming for pie in the sky results or actual changes that you can effect in a reasonable time frame?
- Relevant: Who are your UX goals aiming to serve? Do you have B2C consumers looking to make a quick one-time purchase? Are you trying to educate and inform a B2B customer base that is currently migrating into the online space right now?
- Timely: Prioritize your goals so that you address the most important ones first and worry about minor concerns or window dressing later?
Crafting SMART goals will help you maintain your focus as you go about making changes to your website’s looks, layout, and functionality.
Prioritize Conversions Over Traffic
If your goal with UX is to increase site traffic, think again. UX isn’t about the quantity of traffic as much as conversions. If you attract 10 people and eight of them complete a purchase, it’s infinitely better than having 1,000 visitors stop by without a single person patronizing your site.
That’s why you want your UX optimization efforts to focus on Conversion Rate Optimization (CRO). You can do this through multiple channels, such as:
- Controlled experimentation: Testing different conversion rate strategies by setting key performance indicators (KPIs) is a common way to improve CRO.
- Catering to multiple platforms: Mobile data usage is growing at a clip of 125% per year, making mobile an essential platform to address along with traditional desktop layouts.
At the end of the day, the simple act of placing an emphasis on CRO to improve your site’s usability will naturally boost your site’s overall UX in one way or another.
Keep It Simple
Finally, with so many options and ideas available, it’s critical to always remember to keep your UX as simple as possible. Scott Belsky’s declaration of the “rule of thumb for UX: more options, more problems” has remained abundantly poignant as the internet has grown larger and more complicated over the years.
In other words, there’s no need to go out of your way to reinvent the wheel. The more simplistic a site is to use, the happier customers will be with their experience. This is especially good news for small businesses with limited budgets, as a streamlined and simplified user experience can make their smaller sites quickly feel on-par with larger behemoths like Apple or Amazon.
Building a UX Optimization Strategy
There are many specific ways that you can go about optimizing the user experience on your website, and the suggestions provided here are just the tip of the iceberg. However, there are still several important concepts to keep in mind as you go about cleaning up your site’s UX.
- Always start by researching what’s working and what isn’t working, both for your competitors and for your own site.
- Armed with this knowledge, decide what are your best UX optimization options and then set SMART goals to achieve them.
- Always focus on conversions over bulk traffic and keep your UX endeavours streamlined and simple.
If you can follow these UX tenets, you’ll be able to build a site that is easy on the eyes, simple to use, and the ideal tool to provide your customers with the best experience possible.