If you’ve done your due diligence regarding search engine optimization (SEO), you have more potential clients than ever before rushing to access your products and services online. For many of them, your website may be the very first contact they have with your brand. Creating a great first impression that brings users back is a primary reason businesses look for a website redesign.
First impressions are, quite often, lasting impressions. So, it is supremely important that users come away from your website with the belief that your business is a professional company that offers high-quality products and services. While a great deal of web design elements go into crafting a website designed to appear professional and optimize site traffic, one stands out above the rest when it comes to leaving a great impression: user experience (UX).
What Is User Experience?
As it applies to your business, user experience encompasses the total of all interactions a user has with your company—including your employees, your products, your services, and your business as a whole—and how it makes them feel. Since your website is the front-facing representative for nearly all those aspects for most users, a focus on user experience for your website and all its content is essential.
Website UX is so crucial to a business’s success that there’s an entire subset of web design theory dedicated to it. UX design focuses on developing a website to enhance user experience in every way possible. The overarching goal is to help guide users through the website seamlessly from start to finish, showing them the features you want them to see at ideal points in the process and encouraging engagement, sales, or other conversions.
The Why and the How of UX
Why focus on UX? It’s obvious that leaving a good impression via your website is a positive for your business, but the actual data behind the theory is staggering. According to a study by Amazon, a full 88% of users say they are unlikely to return to a website after having a negative brand experience. Conversely, improving UX could boost your conversion rates by as much as 400%.
So, how do you do it? Ideally, you’ve built your website from the ground up with an intense focus on user experience. To do it, you’ve designed your site so that users can find what they’re looking for with ease and included helpful features or design elements to prompt them to take the next reasonable action—hopefully, to make the next step in the purchase process. However, if you didn’t plan your website with user experience front-of-mind, you could likely benefit from making some changes.
Start with these easy tips.
1. Consider Your Audience
Whether you’re starting from nothing or embarking on a website redesign, all UX decisions should consider your audience first. Any design and layout choices—including colors, design elements, fonts, and styles—should mesh well with your audience’s preferences. Consider, too, that if your target audience is a part of the mobile-first generation, you’ll need to optimize your site for mobile and incorporate mobile-friendly elements like interactive graphics and features within thumb’s reach.
2. Stick With Intuition
Intuition is essential when it comes to UX—but it’s your users’ intuition that matters here. Intuitive web layouts place your most important page elements right where users are used to finding them across the web, no matter your overall web design choices. Placing your homepage link at the upper left, contact info at the upper right, a navigation bar across the top, and your categories in order of descending importance from left to right mean most users will know exactly where to go when they access your page. Then, organize your internal page structure in a way that makes sense under each category.
3. Get Minimal
All the intuitive page design in the world won’t help if your page is so cluttered with text, images, and buttons the user isn’t sure where to turn next. Removing extraneous page elements (and extra landing pages) helps you highlight those that are the most important—the ones that get you sales. Leave plenty of negative space around your most crucial page elements to draw attention, and focus on just one or two major elements per page.
4. Improve Page Speed
Page speed is a crucial component of UX—over half of users leave a page that takes longer than three seconds to load, and the lasting impression left on a user that leaves your page can be devastating to your brand. Optimizing your images to reduce file size goes a long way toward speeding up page load times. If you use a content management system like WordPress, consider plugins that optimize images, compress files, or cache files for quicker loading.
5. Add Guideposts and a Call to Action
Your users need to know what’s next in their journey with your company, and you need to be the one to guide them to make a conversion. Incorporate visual elements that direct attention to the action you’d like them to take next, whether that’s an arrow directing the user to scroll down or creatively shaped design elements that guide the user to the next step. Most importantly, include a dedicated call to action button that attracts user attention—but only where it makes sense for the user to move to the conversion stage of the journey.
6. Focus on Usability
Before you go live, ensure you’ve done everything possible to make your site accessible to all, including the hearing impaired (video captions), colorblind (contrast), visually impaired (image link descriptions), and more. Guidelines to the ADA’s requirements can help you ensure you comply initially. Then, utilize an evaluation service or conduct testing to remain diligent.
Website Redesign for UX
A dedicated focus to the website user experience can be a powerful way to not only keep visitors on your site and drive conversions but inspire client loyalty. After all, we choose to return to restaurants, retail stores, and destinations we’ve had great experiences with—and the same is true with websites. Attention to UX design will help you develop the seamless, intuitive experiences your users crave.
Sites By Sara can help you create a website with user experience in mind. Whether you’re looking to build a new site from the ground up or redesign your current site to focus on UX, we’re here for you. Call or text (385) 355-5351 for information about our web design services, or contact us online today.