When it comes to designing your website, there are so many different things to think about that it’s easy to miss the obvious. For example, while everyone is struggling to decide the colour of a button, you may be missing out on the fact that your website does not show or describe what it’s about.
UX testing and improvement is an ongoing process. There are some changes that take time to implement, but thankfully, there are also some quick wins. If you want to make some beneficial changes to your site that will still have an impact, we’ve got some handy tips. But remember, this is just the beginning, there’s a lot of work to do if you want to be at the top of your user experience game.
Here are some simple ways that you can improve the user experience on your website so that visitors can find what they want quickly.
Make sure you have a clear proposition
One of the most common mistakes that websites make is not having a clear one-liner explaining what their business or organisation does. For example, if you are an online fashion retailer, you can have a simple line explaining that you sell clothes online. Don’t be afraid to state the obvious. A user should know what your website is about within 2 seconds of landing on it.
Page loading speed
Slow loading time is one of the biggest turn-offs for visitors to your site. According to some studies, 30% of users flag this as the biggest usability bugbear. If you have an e-commerce website, it should load in under 2 seconds – anything over it’s more difficult for users and search engines to explore your site.
Go beyond the homepage
Sometimes we can get fixated on the homepage and ignore the other important pages of our website. Take the 5 most popular landing pages on your website, which you can find on Google Analytics, and find out how easy it is to perform the most important tasks on your website from that page.
For example, if your website is about an event, is it easy for you to find the relevant information you need to book and attend? This will help you discover any glaring issues that may interrupt a visitor’s journey such as broken links, missing information etc.
Conduct a user test
Conducting one user test with someone outside of your organisation can give you more insight into your website than several redesigns based on guesswork. Getting fresh eyes on your website is essential for identifying things you may have missed.
Asking questions like, “what is this website about?” or setting them a simple task like, “how do you sign up to the newsletter?” and watching how they do this can help you learn a lot about your website. It’s important for anyone to be able to understand what your website is about and how to use it.
Run an A/B test
Do you want to make a design decision based on improving a user journey but you’re finding it difficult to convince others on your team? For example, you may want to simplify your navigation by reducing the number of tabs on your top-line navigation. Why not let real user data decide? Clone your homepage with the new navigation bar and see which one gets the most engagement by running an A/B test.
View your website on all devices, not just desktops
When preparing for your website launch on tight deadlines, it’s tempting to test your website on a desktop without looking at how it looks like on other devices. For example, that newsletter box you decided to fix at the bottom of your website wherever you scroll may take up half the screen on a mobile device.
There are often bugs that people don’t pick up on mobile — from misaligned text to serious errors during the checkout process — that can significantly impact the user experience of a website. With traffic from mobile overtaking desktop traffic in 2017, it’s vital to prioritise user journeys on mobile devices. In 2017, 52.2% of all traffic came from mobile devices, a figure that’s rising every year.
Banish pop-ups, auto-playing videos and other intrusive features
We all know how frustrating it is to land on a website for a second before a pop up explodes on the screen asking us to sign up for a newsletter. That’s why it’s best to avoid highly intrusive design features such as pop-ups, auto-playing videos (especially those with the sound on) or adverts that follow you down the screen. It can also affect your impact your ranking on Google as websites that use pop-ups on mobile versions of the website can be penalised.
Start with your homepage. Small changes to the content can have a big impact. Don’t make do with sub-par content that your users can’t relate to. Make sure you’ve got strong calls to action and try and define a brand personality through the content across your site. Ensure your content is scannable and easy to digest.
Consider the purpose of each page – does your content help explain this and encourage people to continue through your site’s user journey? Visitors need to arrive on your web page and instantly know exactly what it’s about, any confusion, and they’ll be off. If you can communicate your message adequately, you’re on the right track.