As a generation well versed in technology, our expectations for website usability are constantly rising. This means that web developers have to keep up with their competitors, or better yet, stay ahead of them by using innovative methods to make the user experience more fluid.
Though the task may seem initially daunting, it can be made easier by simply understanding what users get out of your website’s interface. From there, the process of modifying your website to meet the needs of the user will be rewarding to your company as web traffic and interaction increase.
The reward of creating better UX is something that your company will not want to miss out on, so to get you started on the mission, here are seven steps to improving user experience.
Step 1: Make the Mobile User Experience More Efficient
In our non-stop, frantic world, our smartphones are a constant distraction. Developing content that can grab a web visitor’s attention and easily adapt to all device sizes is essential. On a mobile device in particular, users are more likely to abandon a website in a heartbeat if the content is difficult to consume. Both simplicity and ease of use are critical in a world where attention spans continue to decline.
Step 2: Increase Web Speed
Web speed is a critical aspect of user experience. According to Google’s latest web performance research, 53% of mobile users abandon sites that take longer than 3 seconds to load. Additionally, when polled, 46% of consumers say waiting for pages to load is their least favorite thing about shopping on a mobile device. Not only does load speed influence conversion, but organic search results are also impacted by the speed at which your site loads.
Step 3: Consider Ease of Navigation
Cross device navigation is important. The way we scroll through an article on a desktop computer is clearly different than how we interact with the same content on a tablet or mobile device. Navigation needs to be clear, simple, and easy – whether you are using a mouse or your finger to navigate a page.
If someone can’t properly navigate your site, why would they use it?
Step 4: Link to Related Posts within Your Site
Usability is about keeping your visitors engaged with your content. This can be accomplished by building content pillars or themed content within your website. Internal linking is an important component of this strategy; it is vital that relevant content logically interlink. External link citations can help improve rankings and user experience, even if it does encourage some users to navigate away from your site.
Step 5: Fix Website Errors
Professionalism is important in any business, and that doesn’t change for their online interactions. Without professionalism, your site and your company will seem like an unreliable source.
Common website errors are 404 error pages. These can appear on websites when a page has been moved to another link, but the previous link is still active. They can look especially sloppy from a tablet or mobile device. It is frustrating for users to have to deal with this, as they don’t feel that they should have to scour your whole site to find what they are looking for. Who can blame them? The information they seek should be right there, waiting for visitors with open arms!
The best ways to fix this problem would be to customize your 404 pages to have a personalized message for your readers to happen upon instead, or implement 301s which are redirect links that will take your site visitors to another page with content. Such an easy fix that will keep users happy and on your site.
Step 6: Get to Know Task Analysis
To understand user experience, you have to understand the user. Task analysis helps you do just that. With task analysis, you are trying to get inside the mind of your target audience to learn about their interests, how they use your website, and what devices they use most frequently. Once you understand your web visitors’ interest, you are able to make their website journey as frictionless (and exciting!) as possible.
All aspects of website design should be considered from the user’s perspective rather than the creator’s. Changing the viewpoint will have a great effect on your design process. In an excellent article on UsabilityNet, task analysis is broken down as follows: identify the task to be analyzed, break it down into sub-tasks, draw the sub-tasks in a layered diagram, decide upon the level of detail to use on the tasks, continue this process by making a written account, and deliver this to someone who wasn’t a part of the sub-task breakdowns so they can look it over for consistency.
Step 7: Improve Your Visual Design
Aesthetics matter. A website may have all the information you need, or the product you’ve been dying to have, but if you go onto a company’s website and see an underdeveloped, badly organized homepage, you’ll likely search for something that looks more reliable. Users have certain unspoken standards, because we’ve been exposed to a lot of high-quality products – especially through phone applications. UX Magazine highlights this issue, saying, “Basically, the way your product looks is the first thing users will notice and will likely be one of the most important things they notice.”
There is a lot a company can do to increase user experience. They already have the product people want to buy – or the content that people want to see – now they just have to make sure the information is appealing to their audience on all fronts.
User experience is one of the more visible fronts, so it should never be ignored or put on the backburner, and with these seven steps for improved UX, you can help your company cultivate a reliable brand.
If you’re not sure where to start, or if you have questions about the steps above, contact us and we’ll help you create the most functional and friendly user experience you can imagine.
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