Let’s start with the elephant in the room: the essence of user experience. User experience is all about the emotions that your site brings to those who visit it. Users will not forget what they felt when they were browsing your website, regardless of its content. There are plenty of tips on how to improve website UX out there. Many of them are focused on maximizing and offer solutions for usability, efficiency and design aesthetics. These tips have one goal, one message: improving UX to boost conversion rate. If your potential clients feel good when they visit your website, they are far more likely to be open to cooperation, and, therefore, the conversion rate stays high.
In this article, we are going to provide you with five comprehensive strategies for improving your website’s user experience.
#1. Know Your Target Group
We bet this is not the first time you have seen this piece of advice. Do not scroll any further in an attempt to skip this section – this strategy is crucial and that is why it comes first.
First and foremost, you need to determine the demographics of your target group. What is your average user’s age, gender, location, occupation?
Next, invest time and effort into creating a portrait of your typical user. In this context, "portrait" is not about looks. It is about psychometrics, i.e., this person’s character, values, hobbies, interests, and the daily issues that they experience. It is also quite helpful to imagine his or her usual day, in step-by-step details.
This information is necessary to determine their online habits. Are your users more likely to use a smartphone, tablet or PC? Are they more likely to use the latest released devices or one/two/three-year-old ones? What about their style preferences?
Only having figured out all of this can you proceed to successfully implementing the website improvement ideas that you have in mind.
#2. Opt For Minimalist Design
Now that you know who your website is for, it is time for website improvement. Design is often a matter of taste, but when it comes to website design, this is not completely true. There is one trend that you should definitely follow: minimalist design.
Basically, minimalism is getting rid of everything excessive and leaving only crucial elements that can’t be removed.
For instance, use visual aids where it is absolutely needed to communicate your messages, but keep it simple. Remember to use only high-resolution images. It should go without saying that there is nothing more frustrating than seeing a low-res image on the site that is supposed to represent your brand online.
Use a well-balanced color palette. Your website should not look as if a truck with paint of dozens of colors exploded there. Any designer would grind his or her teeth having seen such a site. Two or three main colors that fit together are more than enough.
Do not forget about the negative space (also known as white or breathing space). It is the space that surrounds the key elements of the page and is not occupied by any content. Its purpose is to highlight the key information and to make sure users will not miss it.
#3. Improve the Website’s Performance
Slow websites are, basically, irritating. That’s obvious. So, what can you do to make your website faster and, therefore, more pleasant to use?
Firstly, identify images that take too much time to load, and optimize them.
Assess your web hosting server specifications: the server may be the cause of slow page loading. If this is the case and you need to change web hosting provider, do not opt for what is cheaper - invest in improving user experience.
Consider using special accelerator plugins that cache parts of your website to make browsing as fast as possible.
Bonus tip: make sure your website looks flawless on different devices. Most users access websites via their smartphones, so your task should be to make them satisfied with the mobile version of the site.
#4. Craft Your Content Thoughtfully
First of all, look at the amount of text on your homepage. If it’s loaded with tons of text, you may want to edit it and leave several lines between each key message to your users. Remember: in the digital age that we live in, an average user has just an 8-second attention span.
However, users should easily be able to find all the details they may need. So, make sure that you provide enough relevant information on other pages. Add links to them onto your home page in order to keep the balance between too much and not enough information. You should also consider starting a company blog if you have not already done so.
Besides text, you may feel the urge to include a video or audio on your page. Weigh up including such elements carefully. Add them only if you are absolutely certain that they are not going to slow your site down. But, for your own sake, do not include auto-playing elements. There is hardly anything more annoying than an auto-playing video or audio that often scares users half to death.
Last but not least, make sure you have a prominent and compelling call to action. You may consider placing it above the fold to ensure users will see it on every page of the site.
#5. Don’t Turn Your Site into a Jungle
No one likes getting lost. If your users are too overwhelmed by all the menus, links, and categories, they will not bother trying to find what they need. They will simply switch to another website that is easier to navigate. So, here are a few simple tips to avoid such a scenario and to improve user experience:
- Minimize the number of menu selections. Experience has shown that more than 7 or 8 menu options are confusing, and therefore, they make the whole user experience more time-consuming.
- Add links where they are appropriate. As we have mentioned above, you may add links to pages with a more detailed information. Do not forget to add the link to your home page on every page as well. Get rid of any links that are irrelevant or, even worse, broken.
- Make your search box easy to spot. Furthermore, your search feature has to function properly, so test it thoroughly. Take into account common misspellings.
Do you remember the first section of our article? Knowing your users is crucial for knowing what they expect your site to look like. They may be used to seeing certain navigation elements placed in certain places, so do not force them to reorient. Also, your navigation should be consistent throughout the whole site.
The Bottom Line
Improving UX is always a hot topic because the perks are quite obvious. The more pleasant your website is to browse, the higher your conversion rate is. Our small guide for improving user experience is far from being an exhaustive list. Instead, we aimed to gather the most crucial tips in one place. So, the takeaway is:
- research your typical user;
- opt for a minimalist approach;
- make sure your website is not too slow;
- create and organize the content for the site thoughtfully;
- make navigating the site easy and intuitive.
Now, it is your turn to apply these tips to practice. In case they seem overwhelming, do not hesitate to reach out to specialists that can help you make your site’s UX more pleasant than ever before.