Optimisation generates positive user feelings towards your brand
User experience is more than just making your website simple to use. It is an important way to respond to the needs of your target audience.
Analysing how customers navigate your website helps you to gain a deeper understanding of what they value. Maybe certain pages on your website have a high bounce rate – user optimisation can help to reduce this. Offering a good user experience will make customers return to your website and they will be more likely to spread the word about you too.
Whether you are a new business or you are looking into rebranding, UX should be a top priority. A seamless user experience could increase conversion rates by 400%, making it pretty much a prerequisite for any website.
Useful tips on positive UX
Here are a few useful tips on how to set up your website to ensure a positive user experience:
1. Rearrange your navigation bar
Navigation menus not only frame your website’s content, but it is also crucial from an SEO and user experience perspective.
It is important to start off by thinking about your customer’s journey and the desired end goal.
Customers need to have information about your products or services before they get in touch. Along with this, an interesting factor to consider is that the majority of users read from left to right.
Therefore, by placing your main links on the left and a call-to-action on the right, your menu is a good navigation template to work from — given most western countries read left-to-right.
If you are already an established website with access to analytics, it is worth looking into your top-performing pages and investigating the categories and keywords that the users are clicking on. This will help you to rearrange your menu in accordance with your current customer journeys.
Making your website pages deep and avoiding too many direct links on the homepage helps individual pages seem relevant. It also allows Google to view all the pages on your website is equally important.
A good example of a balanced navigation menu can be found on Atlas Band Touring, where categories are accurately titled and the links are streamlined. An important point to note is that the navigation bar should be consistent and look the same across all pages in order to minimise confusion.
2. Check for broken links
The thought of users being met with 404 error codes is every web designer’s worst nightmare. Not only is it frustrating, but users may think that you don’t care about their experience or your own content.
Google’s metrics include bounce rates, so checking for broken links should be a routine task to maintaining positive user experiences.
3. Make it engaging
There has been a lot of talks so far about how to keep Google happy, but it is also equally important to keep your users happy. There are a few easy design strategies that can improve engagement rates.
One important aspect is the font you choose. You want to make sure it is readable, which means it should be no smaller than a 16-point font size. The font style is also important to consider; it should be on-brand with your logo and overall scheme but it should also be web-specific.
Instead of opting for Times New Roman (which is great for print purposes), choose something that is more appropriate for digital devices, such as Arial.
Sometimes too much content can overwhelm the reader and make your website’s purpose appear more confusing than it is in reality. Designing buttons that encourage a relevant call to action is a direct way to make your principles clear and engaging.
4. Make it interactive
Having an interactive website is a good method of user experience optimisation. It makes the user feel less like you are talking at them and more like you are having an interesting conversation.
Encouraging users to leave a review not only generates electronic word of mouth but also helps the consumer to directly interact with your company. Adding a contact form or an instant messaging tool to your site is a positive way of gaining useful feedback and in turn, this makes the consumer feel valued.
Adding buttons that link to a company’s social media pages is also a great way to start conversations and it encourages visitors to share your content.
5. Ensure quick load speeds
It is a good idea to conduct a speed test to get an accurate reading of how quickly your website loads.
According to Google, a page should take around 3 seconds to load. If your website is sluggish, then opting for a reliable website host is a good place to start.
There are a number of other reasons why your website might slow, but one of the big factors is image size and format. A shocking 39% of users will stop engaging with a website if the images are taking too long to load.
Managing the pixel dimensions of images and converting them to JPEG format can make a page load quicker and make for crisp displays.
6. Make it mobile-friendly
As you can probably tell, keeping to Google’s high standards is a good rule of thumb in user optimisation. Google tends to prioritise websites that are optimised for mobile.
Users like them too; as many people prefer to use mobile rather than desktops when browsing websites. Interestingly enough, customers are even 5 times more likely to abandon a task if the website is not optimised for mobile.
Not only will a mobile-friendly platform help you to build good SEO value with Google, but it can also help your business to reach a wider audience.
Limiting pop-ups and using percentage widths ensures users don’t have to scroll horizontally, are all key ways to make your website mobile-friendly.
7. Test Usability
So, you may have read this post and are currently thinking that your website achieves all of these user optimisations tips already – but there is only one way to find out!
If you have a small budget and a new website, it might be worth engaging in hallway testing, whereby random people test your website and give feedback. This can be particularly useful if your website is in the development stage.
Automated usability testing applies specialised software that can help you get a more accurate reading of performance issues. It simulates the multiple scenarios in which people could find and use your website through testing different consumer behaviours on different devices and browsers.
Whatever path you choose in order to test your user experience, it is important to remember the five goals of usability; efficiency, effectiveness, engagement, error tolerance and ease of learning.
User experience optimisation should be the primary objective for your website. However, it is important to bear in mind that this is an ongoing process. Google metrics and customer behaviour are in a constant state of flux. Making sure your customers are happy, reacting to user feedback and making your website as responsive and easy to use as possible are good goals to aim for in the future.