Your website design is about more than just branding and beauty. If you’re not focusing on the user experience (UX), then you’re likely turning potential customers off (and away) from your business.
In case you haven’t heard, customers are looking to do business with brands that know how to deliver a great customer experience (CX) (both online and offline). And the first interaction most have with a company is their website. So if you’re not careful, you could end up with a high bounce rate and negative reviews, which will further hurt your bottom line.
No wonder 70% of enterprise CEOs view UX and CX as a way to differentiate themselves from the competition. But whether you’re a small business, entrepreneur, or blogger, having a website designed with the end-user in mind is vital.
Let’s take a closer look at what UX is, why it’s important, and how you can make yours stand out.
What Is User Experience (UX)?
User experience is a person’s response and perception after using a product, system, or service. For example, when you go to a restaurant, your experience is with the wait staff, the ordering process, and the food quality.
Ultimately, the experience of an individual depends on what they’re engaging with. So this can be applied to the design of your website, app or software, among other things.
It’s also critical to consider the user’s expectations because this too plays a big role in their perceived experience (and response). For instance, when you visit a restaurant, you expect to wait about a half-hour for your meal. So you wouldn’t complain about slow service as you would if you were waiting in the drive-thru of a fast-food joint.
It’s the same with websites — when visitors come to a web store, they expect something visually comprehensible. They want to easily find the shopping cart, product categories and return policy link. If your site is lacking or hiding these navigational links, then the user experience will suffer.
Why UX Matters for Your Website
When you build your website, the goal is to attract and retain a particular group of visitors. Just as you’d develop a product from the point of view of prospective customers, so should you do the same with your website.
In doing so, you can gain the following benefits:
- Differentiate your brand from competitors (especially those with poor user experience design).
- Increase the retention rate of visitors (by delivering value to your audience).
- Reduce your bounce rate (by eliminating nuisances such as poor navigation).
- Keep people on your website longer (by helping them find what they’re looking for).
When you understand your customers, it’s easier to adopt a website UX design that caters to them specifically.
6 Key Aspects of Great UX Design
Your website is your digital storefront. It doesn’t matter whether you’re using it to sell products and services or share information — you need to appeal to your target audience.
Here’s a look at how to use a few UX best practices to improve user experience on your website.
1. Make Sure It’s Useful to Your Audience
When visitors come to your site, they should find it helpful. For instance, if your site is a resource, it should contain content that resonates with their needs. The home page should let users know where they are and what to expect from your site. Otherwise, they may end up leaving without searching around.
Your site should have a clear and logical navigation menu and structure so that visitors know where they are and how to get where they want to go. Page descriptions should be short and helpful, letting users know what to expect on each page, so they can decide where to go to find the content or products they need.
2. Make It Easy to Learn and Use
Most people today are internet savvy. Yet, they’re used to a certain type of layout. For instance, on an e-commerce website, visitors expect to see a shopping bag or cart in the screen’s upper right corner. Being too unique could potentially hurt user experiences, so refrain from going too far outside of the box with your design.
On sites that do this well, users know intuitively what to do from the moment they land on the page. Always ask yourself If the next step is obvious and easy to take.
3. Aim for Mobile Adaptability
Here’s where your website design can potentially hurt your SEO ranking. Google rewards websites that accommodate mobile devices — and bumps those that don’t down in the search results. Having a responsive website design covers this by automatically adapting to the device a visitor is using. Without it, you can expect to disrupt the user experience and increase your bounce rate.
Sites that merely downsize the desktop to cram onto a mobile screen make it awkward to navigate and difficult to read. It’s basically an invitation for your visitors to leave.
4. Keep Navigation Simple
You don’t want to hide your navigation links, buttons and menus within your design. Be sure it’s simple to find, or better yet, place it where everyone expects it to be, at the top of the screen. Also, be sure you create a menu that makes it quick for users to find what they’re looking for.
As soon as someone lands on your site, the content should speak specifically to them. Menu bars and tabs at the top and bottom make it clear what’s on the site and how to find it.
5. Build a Desirable Design
Have you ever visited a website that didn’t have any images — just a long block of black text on a white background? Or worse, bright text on a dark background? Designs like these turn users off and away from the site, likely forever. So be sure you use elements that are eye candy (not an eyesore).
But don’t go overboard — if you have too many visual elements, it can bog down your site, making it slow to load. Make sure your user interface (UI) is clean, eye-popping and balanced, not cluttered, unattractive and confusing.
6. Design for Disabled Users
Don’t forget to make it simple for disabled users to use your site. An accessible website should take into account different impairments a visitor may have. For example, use large text and text/background color schemes that are easy on the eyes for those with poor eyesight. Some website owners add text-to-speech capabilities so visitors can hear rather than read the text. You can also implement ways to navigate through your website without a mouse or use voice control.
Besides being a better way to design, there are legal mandates to making your website easy for everyone to use. This can seem daunting, but the good news is there are services that can take much of the leg work out of ensuring your design is accessible and fully compliant in this arena. At Orpheus, we recently partnered with AccessiBe to offer our clients the option to have a turnkey accessibility solution incorporated into their website.
Build a Website That Stands Out (In a Good Way)
Choosing the design of your website extends well beyond your brand color and theme. With the right elements, you can ensure your site is true to your business’s identity and your audience’s needs.
At Orpheus, we help businesses like yours develop websites with your audience’s user experience in mind. So if you’re not happy with the current state of your website or are looking to build from scratch, we have a team of web designers and developers on standby.
Contact us today to get started creating a website with a strong focus on UX and UI design.