Is your website helping or hurting your business?
A website with a good UX or user experience has a much better chance of attracting loyal customers and improving conversion rates over time.
In contrast, committing a cardinal UX sin can increase your bounce rate, erode your professionalism and drive your visitors to your competitors instead.
When building a small business website, your UX design plays an important part when it comes to building solid relationships with users.
While technical aspects and copy will always impact overall engagement and conversions, you can’t expect to have a successful online presence if your UX isn’t up to standard.
At its core, UX is about identifying and fulfilling the needs of your audience.
Stop wondering if your website is working with you or against you by improving your website’s UX to attract more traffic and higher conversions in the long run.
So if you want to give your audience what they want, and benefit by receiving their attention, clicks and conversions in return, here are 6 golden rules you need to follow.
Rule #1 – Involve Your Users
Internet users are creatures of habit who know what they like.
If you want to know what your visitors expect from your site, just ask them.
When you involve your users in the UX design process, you will naturally create a better experience.
While intuition helps a lot when designing a website, nothing beats first-hand accounts and feedback from your existing customer base. That’s why you need to reach out to your customer base when designing a website.
You can communicate in many ways with your user base depending on your customer demographic. Potential methods of customer feedback include:
- A Facebook quiz
- Twitter survey
- Snapchat questionnaires
- Surveys after purchases
- Newsletter sign ups
These methods will let you develop important insight into your user base. You should always find your customers where they are and get their advice in the moment.
ACTION STEP: Make sure you offer some kind of incentive for their assistance to facilitate results. For example, a 15% off coupon might just be the reward your visitors are looking for by spending a few minutes providing feedback.
Rule #2 – Reduce The Cognitive Load
If your users have a difficult time understanding what you expect them to do, your UX will suffer.
You should always take into account what happens in your customer’s mind when designing the UX. What may be obvious to you is not necessarily obvious to others.
Science can provide you with one way to approach this UX consideration.
The amount of thought a particular task requires is explained by psychologist Wendy Corliss, as Cognitive Load. She explains “intrinsic cognitive load is one of the most significant types of cognitive loads – which is the difficulty a customer has completing a specific task on a website. In the context of a website, if your user is struggling to understand what to do next, you’ll eventually lose them.”
ACTION STEP: The simple way to avoid this outcome is to ensure your instructions are always easy to interpret and understand.
Keep it simple, superstar.
Rule #3 – Keep Things Simple
No one wants to feel as though they have to solve a complex series of riddles or challenges to engage with your website.
If people struggle to comprehend a confusing or challenging UX design, they are more likely to bounce and increase your bounce rate.
Put simply, your site visitors don’t like situations they cannot understand. That’s why you need to keep things simple when designing UX.
According to David Pagotto, SIXGUN managing director and UX expert, simplicity should focus on removing friction to facilitate a sale, rather than simplifying content or images in a traditional sense. He explains “overly complicated technology, wording, and decorative touches won’t do any good to your website if they don’t help create a simple, smooth and streamlined experience. People genuinely want to engage with websites. They just don’t want to be bogged down or distracted while doing it.”
You need to offer clear options to your users because people tend to make choices fast when they are online. In fact, studies show that digital first impressions are made in just 0.05 seconds.
For this reason, focus on the most important parts of your website and allow the user to make quick and easy decisions.
When people find a site with a design that’s too complex to navigate, there’s a good chance they’ll leave and find a new website where they are more comfortable.
ACTION STEP: Consider omitting excess attributions to your site. When a site visitor encounters confusing UX, they will feel like they are the problem.
Rule #4 – Focus On Function Over Aesthetics
Websites need to be visually appealing.
But they should function well too. You should make sure your website functions well before making it appealing to the eye.
It should function quickly and easily across interfaces.
With studies suggesting that every $1 invested in UX returns an average of between $2 and $100, it’s certainly worth your time to focus on function and enjoy ROI down the line.
ACTION STEP: Don’t use too many colors and include graphics only if they help your site visitor complete a certain task.
Rule #5 – Personalize The User Experience
If a user gets a sense of the person behind the website, they are more likely to connect with it.
According to web designer Brendelle Onte from Search It Local, you should develop a connection with your user to strengthen their experience with your platform and make them loyal to your brand in the long run. They encourage you to ask yourself, “if my website is similar to every other site on the internet, why should anyone care about it? The uncomfortable truth is that it will quickly be forgotten if you don’t work towards personalizing the UX. You can use free tools like Canva to create eye-catching graphics or create video to show your brand personality off.”
Generic and static web designs don’t appeal to potential clients and customers the same way a unique and eye catching design does.
If your site visitor gets a feeling that there is a group of people behind the site instead of a machine, you will attract more customers to the site and improve its user experience in the process.
ACTION STEP: Avoid stock photography and opt for clean, high-quality images that represent you and your business instead.
Rule #6 – Leave Room For User Error
Your website should still function even if someone makes a mistake.
For example, remember how some search engines autocorrect your spelling! If not, most users won’t get far in their online search. You should design your website with this in mind.
You cannot foresee every error the user is going to make. When a box pops up telling the user about the error, make sure to include instructions.
If your site becomes unusable after an error, you may end up turning away many users.
Now that you know how important UX is, think about yours.
ACTION STEP: You should provide directions for the user to fix the error instead of just saying “an internal error occurred.”
What could you do today to improve your UX tomorrow?
Need a little help or inspiration? Chat to the experts at Web Design Just For You.
Luke Kurtz is a freelance writer and a student majoring in Accounting in Sydney. Luke’s favourite pastime is watching movies. This is what he does when he is not in school.
Content Disclaimer: This article was authored by the writer/author indicated above in his/her personal capacity. The opinions and views expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not necessarily reflect the view or opinions of Web Design Just for You, or Eileen Forte.