Any website wishing to attract potential customers should be focusing on how they can boost their User Experience (UX). The better your UX, the happier the visitor. A happy visitor could equal a brand-new customer, that’s maths I can get on board with.
A great UX ultimately means a lot more chance of your site being successful in gaining leads, so let’s get to it!
A poor site layout could massively decrease your UX. If it looks bad, it will receive a bad response. A site with good layout should have;
- Good, topic-specific headings containing the focus keywords for that page. Search engines value a good heading and so do users on your site! A good heading containing important keywords relating to that page can direct your message to the correct audience. Not just that. but they will also help to make your page more ‘skimmable’ to visitors; and people love to skim!
- A great use of CTA’s (Call To Actions). Using CTA’s helps politely influence visitors to engage with certain things you wish them to. Although, please bare in mind that like your headings, they need to be specific and related to the page’s content.
- A clear navigation bar so the visitors know how to move around your site.
- An excellent homepage. The homepage will often be the first page your traffic will see when they access your site, so it will often essentially act as a signposting page. This means that it needs to be two things: simple and engaging. Users that land on your homepage need to be able to find the content they are looking for in as little time as possible.
- The use of a search bar. These are one of my favourite features of any websites. Search bars are brilliant because it makes your sites usability even better. If someone cannot find what they are looking for, they can simply search it and find it easily from there.
Take a look at our Site Structure blog to learn more on website layout.
White space refers to exactly that, the white, empty areas on a web page – much like these handy notes are showing;
(It may seem obvious, but this will help you to visualise for your own site)
There is a stigma around white space. Some people believe that white space is a waste of space on your site that could be filled with other things like images or more information. This isn’t necessarily true. Yes, you do need to make sure you have enough room to have the information on that you want but, there can be a balance. White space is good for your site as it makes the content easier to read and easier for visitors to focus on. A page crammed full of pictures, adverts and random flashing things will distract readers from the main content.
Not only does it better to read, but it gives the page a sense of professionalism. Bulks of colour and graphics could make your site come across as a little childish or untrustworthy. Keep it simple.
Regarding having balance, I don’t mean LOADS of white space like this;
As you can see, too much white space makes your site look empty.
With the advance in technology, speed is key. How many times have you gone on a site, and it’s taken a while to load so you leave it and go on another? You’re not alone. The ‘7 second rule’ reinforces this. The 7 second rule is essentially the idea that if a visitor to your page cannot find what they’re looking for within the first 7 seconds, they will leave. You need to make sure your site’s visitors can find exactly what they are looking for very quickly. Most people don’t have the time or simply don’t want to spend a while scrolling and clicking around on a site to find their desired information. The quicker your site, the better your UX.
Quick Tip: A really useful site for testing your page speed time is Pingdom. It will flag up exactly what elements on your site are causing your page speed time to increase. For anyone based in Europe you will need to select ‘Stockholm, Sweden’ from the ‘Test From’ drop down.
We can’t forget about those mobile devices! After all, mobile users have completely taken over the digital world. Having a site that is mobile compatible is a must if you’re wanting to improve your UX. It’s been proven that 53% of visitors will leave a mobile page if it takes longer than 3 seconds to load.
AMPs (Accelerated Mobile Pages) are pages which, when you conduct an online search, have this symbol by them in the search results;
This icon means that these pages strip as much unnecessary HTML, CSS and Java as possible, in order to significantly decrease the load time of those pages on mobile devices. Making either pages on your site or your entire site AMP compatible would be a very good move for enhancing the User Experience for mobile users.
Something else to mention quickly whilst on the topic of mobile phones; avoid ‘welcome mats’ and ‘pop-ups’ on mobile as much as possible. They tend to be bigger and more difficult to click off them on mobile devices.
Testing, testing 123…
Testing the quality of your site is an absolutely vital element of boosting UX. You may be able to easily navigate around your site and understand it, but that doesn’t mean others can. Imagine the visitors are complete beginners to web-pages, it needs to have easy usability. Make sure you’re always checking your site is simple.
I’m sure most people would agree that errors on sites are irritating. aren’t the end of the world for search engines, but if a search engine picks up that your site has a broken link or error, it will negatively effect your SEO (Search Engine Optimisation).Plus, for your users they’re an ‘eye-roll’ moment, and will probably cause them to go on another error-free site. Why wouldn’t they? Keep a look out for those pesky 404 (page not found) errors. We all know what they look like…
Check for any broken links to avoid those exasperating errors. If you do find an error, you can always 301 re-direct your link to another page.
For help with checking for errors, there are some sites out there. You can use Online Broken Link Checker, to scan for any 404 errors for free or Google Webmaster also has tools to check for any errors.
Having links in your site is a really good way of showing knowledge of the subject, and helping the user learn and be aware of more. Hense, why it is good for UX.
Having links in your website is great, but they need to be right. The links on your site need to be easy to find and identifiable from other text. It would be a waste if you’ve made a really good link just to be lost in a sea of text that looks exactly the same. Make your links stand out by using techniques to make them look different, for example a different font, different size, in brackets or boxes or a different colour. The stereotypical link on a website is usually blue and underlined which is commonly recognised by most online users, so you could make yours the same.
Say you’re wanting to link to a blog you’ve written about digital marketing, which one would you notice more?
(A) Social media is a great form of digital marketing and comes in many different forms
(B) Social media is a great form of digital marketing and comes in many different forms
Structuring your links well is also important. There needs to be some control there. If you have too many links on a page, it will look untidy and unprofessional. You need to balance it out and have a suitable amount of links. Not only does they need to be balanced, but they also need to be relative. Having a link completely unrelated to the rest of the sentence just makes it look confusing and out of place. Make sure your link ties in nicely to the rest of the text.
You should have all the tips you need to be a User Experience wizard now! Apply these pointers to your site, and you should see a difference. Simplicity is absolutely paramount in improving UX, a great site equals great results.