When it comes to converting users, simply having a website, landing page, or blog is no longer enough. Users have so many companies competing for their business that unless you’re selling digestive supplements for indoor parakeets, users can easily decide they don’t want your product. Since a bad website will actually drive away potential sales, it’s more important than ever for your website to promote a positive user experience. Here’s how to improve yours:
Know Your User
Good websites target their users by understanding their users’ culture and appealing to it. Sites like Spotify and eleven2 know exactly what their users are looking for, and their websites are built to address this specifically. Spotify, for instance, caters to its users’ desires to listen to any song at any given moment. Its simple interface consists of a music library, song suggestions, and a navigation bar–exactly what their audience wants. Spotify also knows what its users don’t like (spending money and interruptions) and its CTA (sign up button) is based on users paying for a premium account to listen to music without ads. Spotify additionally incentivizes users to sign up for this premium account by playing ads specifically for the premium account.
A way to understand how your consumers view your website is to look at eye-tracking studies. The Neilson Index conducted a famous eye-tracking study that found that consumers view web pages in an F-shaped pattern.
Consumers begin at the top of the page, jump down the left side, scan above the fold again, and then give a final glance down the left side. But they’re not reading–they’re skimming.
Neilson’s eye-tracking study found that users only have time to read about 28% of your text, and they pay the most attention to information at the top of the page. Since you now know this about your users, see if your important information is at the top of your web-page. Can it be more concise? Does your content and CTA fit into an F-shaped pattern?
Navigation is something you must get right or users will leave. Bad navigation can frustrate users if they can’t find what they’re looking for.
- Limit your menu. Psychology studies found that people can hold an average of seven items in their short term memory. Overloading your page and having more than seven options in a navigation bar can overwhelm people. To simplify your website, aim for each page to have one, clear goal, with a clear and simple CTA. If your pages have several goals, try to break them down into multiple pages.
- Follow common web-design techniques. Consumers are used to finding certain web-features in certain places, and varying from their expectations can confuse them. You would expect to find a search bar in the top right of a page. Logos are at the top left. Menus are at the top left or right. Links are blue. Take a look at the following website.
Here is an example of a site with great navigation. Long Story Short has just a few tabs, but still helps a new consumer understand the company. Design wise, there is no room for a consumer to be be confused.
The mobile search landscape is expanding. Mobile search spending is expected to increase by 62% in the next three years, and companies must think about different mobile-web strategies, or risk driving away potential customers.
To develop a mobile strategy, consider your needs based on your content. Retail, banking, and entertainment sites can benefit from a multi-platform strategy that accommodates desktop and mobile users. These industries often have complex websites that may function better on a desktop. Publishing websites are more likely to be mobile only, because people often seek information instantly and on the go.
Because the majority of site visits across all industries is desktop, it is important to actively make the desktop experience as smooth as possible, while also adapting your website for tablet and smartphone dimensions. Simple ways to smooth out your desktop website:
- Increase Your Loading Speed. The Aberdeen Group presented a study showing that 47% of people expect a web page to load in two seconds or less and 57% of visitors will abandon a page that takes three seconds or more to load.
- Limit Animations. Neilson’s eye-tracking study found that not only do people prefer content over flash, but they tend to ignore things that look like ads. Instead of adding flash to your website, focus on the function of your website and how you want your users to interact with it.
When designing your website for a smartphone or tablet, remember to keep your design simple. Graphics and animations take up a lot of space on a small screen, and may make your website both unattractive and harder for consumers to understand
You can also improve your mobile usability by creating mobile-only PPC ads will help your site specifically reach mobile users. The best practices for these ads include:
- Setting up a mobile landing page for mobile users
- Letting users know that your page is mobile with the display URL
- Using clear, concise language
- Catering to your mobile audience (which you can do, because you know your user).
Graphics and animations take up a lot of space on a small screen, and may make your website both unattractive and harder for consumers to understand, so when designing your website, remember to keep your design simple.
What about making an app?
It depends. Whether or not an app would help your business connect with a mobile audience depends on what your business is, who your users are, and even where they are located.
Digital traffic varies globally. Australia, for instance, has far fewer smartphones per capita than Europe does.
While apps are very popular, people primarily use apps for social media or entertainment. If your business is not in this industry, you may wish to focus your efforts towards a different digital strategy.
5 Things You Can Do to Measure Your Website’s UX:
- Make your own heat map to see how users interact with your website.
- Measure how many of your users complete the conversion process
- Pay attention to your customer’s questions. Are they asking you how to do something on your website? Are they tweeting at you with complaints about your search bar?
- Test Test Test. Get people you know or gather focus groups to try and do certain things on your website. Keep track of their experiences. Adjust. Repeat.
Producing a positive user experience is about keeping your users happy. Remember to know your user and make it as easy as possible for them to accomplish their goals. The most successful websites are easy to navigate and easy for consumers to understand.