4 Ways to Improve the User Experience of Your Web Site

A business’s web site is an important tool, however, with constantly changing technology your site will eventually look outdated.  Additionally, with intense competition between businesses, you will find that many companies are constantly working to improve their web site and the user experience it offers. You do not have to just wait until your site eventually looks dated to update it.companies are constantly working to improve their web site and the user experience

Your business has most likely redesigned its web site a few times over the years. Redesigns are fantastic as they allow you to address issues your customers have with your current site and improve the user experience. But you may not have the budget or time right now to hire a web site development company to do a full overhaul of your web site.  Here are a few items you can do to adjust on your current site to create a more useful experience for your site’s visitors:

Utilize white space

White space is an essential element of good design. It will help your web site look clean and modern. Additionally it will enable visitors to focus on key elements and not be distracted by clutter. White space around your headlines, titles and text will improve retention of content by users by 20% (Crazy Egg).

Adding white space is a great  way to touch up your site as it give it a more fresh and open feeling that is in-line with current trends. But be careful with how you utilize white space on your web site. If you add too much white space around your site’s content that is above the fold, it might push valuable information lower on the page than you would like. You will want to maintain a balance between what is most essential to convey and utilizing white space to highlight that information.

Improve calls to action

When a visitor arrives at your web site, what do you want them to do? Do you want to them to buy something? Contact you for a quote? Or subscribe to your newsletter? Your web site’s calls to action are important. A call to action is a button, text or graphic that is there to prompt a visitor to click it and perform a particular task. Calls to action should assist customers in their efforts to efficiently navigate your website and do what they want to do on your website.

Consider the psychology behind color when creating buttons or other calls to action. Different colors create different subtle messages to visitors, so it is important to first think about the message you want to convey and choose the color of your call to action accordingly. After you have made your choices for colors that go well with your corporate branding, you should test your calls to action to see what works best for your web site. You can easily do this with A/B testing. In testing you will find that certain colors will outperform others and increase click rates.

Improve page speed

Modern web site visitors are typically impatient and goal-oriented. No longer are visitors willing to sit and wait for information like they were in the 56k modem days. With millions of web sites available, if users have to wait for your page to load they will typically just hit the back arrow on their browser and look elsewhere for what they are looking for.

You want a web site that takes no more than 2 seconds to load. Web users will abandon a website that takes longer than that to load. One of the best ways to gain visitors to your web site and boost user engagement is by improving your web site’s loading speed.  Users tend to abandon web sites that aren’t loaded within 3 seconds. To make matters worse, 79% of web shoppers who experience trouble with web site loading speeds say they won’t return to the site again (Akamai).

Make it responsive and mobile friendly

In the modern day your web site needs to be mobile friendly. It is now easy for users to access the internet on various devices and it is important that your web site is ready for these visitors. Responsive web design has been the predominate method of doing this but beyond that you will want to make sure all elements of your web site are mobile friendly.

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Users are The Key to Great Web Site Design

Frequently when a designer sites down to work on a web site design, they think they know all about web users and what they are looking for from a web site. Unfortunately, all too often designers do nothing to check those assumptions. If they did, they would most likely find out that they are off the mark with their conjecture.

Web site designs that are not rooted in a solid understanding of a brand’s users along with their needs are destined to under perform. If you don’t understand what a user wants or needs from a site you can’t possibly know what to offer or how to offer it.

It is important that before you begin designing that you not only understand the site’s users’ requirements but also develop a sound understanding of their thought process, purchase journey, constraints and the environment in which they view the web site. It is important that before you begin designing that you not only understand the site’s users’ requirements but also develop a sound understanding of their thought process, purchase journey, constraints and the environment in which they view the web site. User experience designers rely on this information and by leveraging it are able to create web sites that have far superior results. In fact, IBM believes the benefit of user experience design can be up to 100 times what is invested in it.

Spend the time to develop an understanding about your users. After you have done that, create personas based on the information you have learned. Make sure you consider user demographics, wants and needs, and other relevant factors when creating your persona. You will find that personas are not etched in stone; they should evolve as you learn more about your users. From there you can create designs that satisfy the needs of your personas.

While working on your designs you want to make sure you don’t forget who the target audience is. Good design is a product of good research. While designing make sure you consider user interactions; think about the functionality of the website and design a site that will help users complete their intended tasks smoothly and efficiently. You need a good understanding of what your base is looking for and from there; you should help them to find it easily.

The quality of a web site’s design relates directly to conversion rates. Things like complicated navigation, slow load times, and hard-to-read type turn users away. Seek instead for your design to focus on clarity and simplicity.  Clear, intuitive designs make conversions much more likely. Your site should feature simple, logical and intuitive controls

Another factor that is important to good design is having your information prioritized in a hierarchy that makes sense to your users. Graphics can be used to help define this hierarchy and set a clear path for site visitors to follow. Visually appeal is important as well. You will want your home page and every page on your website to be attractive. Your website is the public face of your brand.

Pic: Tibor Kovacs (Flikr) http://bit.ly/2cG6pe7