User Experience. UX. Every website gives an experience of some kind. Some experiences are good and some are bad. Websites with good user experience get returning visitors while websites with poor UX generally have one time visitors. In this article we will go explain how to give your visitors a good user experience.
Unfortunately, most websites with good user experience design aren’t thought about. People usually don’t leave a website with good UX and think “gee, what a great experience”.
Why is this?
It’s because internet users expect a good experience as standard. When they’re provided with one, all you’re doing is meeting their expectations.
The problem with this is that everyone that visits a website with poor UX will leave that contact with the specific business (a website is simply a contact point) feeling frustrated, and will associate that brand/business with negative feelings and emotions. Even non-techies will know exactly what went wrong after encountering a poor UX.
To be able to give your website visitors good UX design, there is one thing you must do before anything else:
Forget about your business and think about your target customers
Where It Can All Go So Wrong
Implementing good UX starts by identifying common design errors that result in a poor user experience.
Simple things such as:
Inverted high contrast text
Flow of functions
Broken links and images
Most of these, you will probably know exactly what we’re talking about, but just in case, we will briefly go over the 3 main design errors that result in poor user experience.
Essentially, this is a website that doesn’t fit nicely on other screen sizes. When this happens, website visitors are forced to pinch to zoom in on text, and swipe/rotate screen to read the content. When your website functions like this, you are essentially saying to your customers that not only is your business stuck on the previous decade, but you’re not at the forefront of business, and you don’t put in any extra effort.
Inverted High Contrast Test
In our blog post titled Stop Hurting Your Visitors Eyes, we went over this in more details, but essentially this is when you place white text on top of a black background. The result is eye strain for your visitors, and the appearance of yellowish lines etched into their eyes once they have finished with your website.
Flow of Functions
What we mean here is that the steps a visitor has to go through to reach an end goal are illogical.
A well known pizza shop where we live as recently updated their website and their checkout process has changed for those ordering online. Instead of simply choosing the pizza you want, store you want it from, and adding contact details before clicking “buy now” the visitor now has to go through steps in the following order:
1. Click on the type of food wanted (pizza)
2. Choose a pizza you wish to order
3. Choose pickup or delivery
4. Choose closet store
5. Register for a new account or sign in to a current account
6. Realise there’s no pizza in your order (as you’ve just signed in)
7. Click on the type of food wanted (pizza)
8. Choose the pizza you want to order
9. Choose pickup or delivery
10. Choose closest store
11. Choose to either pay in store or online
12. Click “buy now”
Do you see how frustrating that can get?
Essentially, their visitors are required to double up on the same process before getting anywhere near the end of the order.
Also, within that process, each pizza gives a popup forcing the visitor to opt-out from extra food they haven’t asked for (a massive “no-no”)
Why Is Good User Experience Even Important
As we have already touched on, the experience you give your visitors impacts their thoughts and feelings towards your brand. Branding is about what people think about your business, meaning that a negative experience can create a poor brand. As your website is likely to be the first touch point you have with any potential customer, it means you literally have to make sure this first touch point is positive for the visitor.
Ever heard the expression “first impressions last”?.
Studies show that first impressions are formed within the first 7 seconds of contact. This means you have only 7 seconds to make sure your visitors are receiving the best possible experience. Unfortunately, the 7 second window only relates to making sure your visitors don’t leave your website. After that first impression has been formed, if your visitor has a positive experience, they will stay on your site and have a look around. It’s important not to become complacent. At this point they have decided to stay on your website and feel like they are receiving a positive experience, but still require this good experience to continue, otherwise they will just leave.
Essentially, what we are saying is that there’s no point in putting all of your effort into making the first 7 seconds of a website visit fantastic if you’re going to ignore every other part of the user experience on your website.
How To Give Your Visitors a Good User Experience (UX)
Now that we understand the big “no-no’s”, it’s much easier to figure out what needs to be done to make sure we give our website visitors a great experience while browsing our websites.
We’ll break this down into a two different different parts:
The First 7 Seconds
If you only have 7 seconds to make a first impression, but it takes 10 seconds for your website to load after the visitor has typed in your web address, or clicked your link, the first impression of your company has already been formed before the potential clients see’s any of your web content. Often, this will cause potential visitors to click away from your website and find a competitor before you have a chance to capture their information.
Making sure your website loads quickly limits visitor frustration and is also a great help when it comes to SEO (being found in Google).
As stated above, forcing your visitors to change their device, or alter how they’re viewing your website in any way, is frustrating for your visitor. Subliminally, it sends a message of laziness and gives an impression of being “cheap”.
This is because it web users now expect mobile friendly (or “responsive”) websites as a standard part of their browsing experience. So much so that now Google even expect it and will rank your website higher in search results against websites that aren’t mobile friendly (all other things being equal).
Make Your Features Relevant
How frustrating is it when you visit a website and the first few seconds are spent customising the experience back to standard because the owner of that specific site has added a whole bunch of extra features that are more of an annoyance than anything else?
Forcing your website visitors to click “x” on silly pop-up boxes, or mutes audio that auto-plays, is eating up time in those vital first 7 seconds that you would prefer your visitors to be spending actually enjoying their experience on your website.
If you’re a videographer, have videos that automatically play when your page loads. If you’re a musician, automatically play some audio. If you’re a dentist, don’t immediately play a video, and especially not with sound.
Quick access to relevant information
This is important.
In our article titled “4 Things Your Homepage Needs”, we discuss this in far more detail. Essentially, think about what you look for when searching online for a business to buy from and then make sure that type of information is immediately available in a well thought out layout design.
The first 7 seconds is not the time to try and sell anything to your visitors, but a time to provide them with what they need and want. In fact, your entire website should be about giving your visitors what they want, but if you can get this specific information to them immediately after the page loads, you will almost certainly increase your conversion rates.
The Rest of the Visit
After the first impression has been formed, and a visitor is still on your website, it is a sign that they feel a good first impression has been made.
Now is the time for the rest of your website to provide a great user experience.
Make sure all links are working as they should and are directing your visitors to the places they are expecting to be directed to.
Make sure all links that take your visitors away from your website open in a new tab.
Just like with links, it is important to make sure all images are working and show as intended. If you come across any broken images, change these out and make sure these are fixed.
404 errors are pages that no longer exist.
These will usually show up as a broken link (when a visitor clicks a link and get a “this page doesn’t exist” error), but these can also occur if a previous visitor has bookmarked a page on your website that you have deleted or changed url. If this person attempts to re-visit this page (or even share it with a friend) and you haven’t set up a redirection, they will be met with an error page.
Make sure Contact forms sending
Imagine that your visitor feels a real connection with your business and wants to inquire about becoming a customer. They fill out the contact form, and press submit.
If this form works as intended, you will receive an email and can communicate with the potential customer.
If the form does not work correctly, one of two things will happen.
Either they will receive a notification on the screen which advises of an error, or they will think they have sent through an inquiry and when you don’t reply to them, they will begin to form a negative opinion about your business operations.
Don’t let this happen. Make sure your forms are working.
All in all, if you’re not willing to give your visitors and potential customers an experience they are looking for, you’re giving them every reason they need to take their money elsewhere.
If you have any questions, or just want to let us know what you think, comment below.