January 24, 2019

Site usability and importance of user experience (UX)

There’s more to creating a website than visual design; you need to keep your users in mind, ensuring they can easily use your site and will want to return. That’s why understanding your users and adapting your website accordingly is essential for the development of your brand.

When users initially visit your site, their first experience with your platform is crucial. Their journey must be as pleasant and comfortable as possible in their search for information or products. Everything must be instinctive, as a satisfied user is a returning user. That’s why the structure of your site must be designed according to the user experience (UX).

What is UX and UI?

The notion of UX is generally used in a digital context. In reality, it applies to any experience with a system: a service, an application, a tool. It’s quite difficult to give a precise definition of UX, as it’s based on your website users and their personal feelings, which then intertwines with many different marketing techniques.

The user interface (UI) is the design of the website you create. It conveys your brand image, vision and content in an attractive digital interface. Internet users make their judgements in 5 seconds. That’s why the UI comes in first, as it’s what builds the user’s first impression.

With many factors involved in the customer experience, here are our  top tips to help you make your site more attractive and useful for Internet users:

Make it fast and simple

Your primary objective should be to make it easy and pleasant for users to navigate your site, hence the first golden rule: keep it simple. Any design element must be justified and have a real function for visitors.

Moreover, a user might lose patience very quickly on a site with endless loading times. Improving the loading speed is then crucial since Google has integrated this factor into its algorithms. With the development of mobile Internet and the evolution of consumer behaviour, the responsive aspect of a site is essential. Ensuring a pleasant navigation and simplified access to all the website information on all media is highly appreciated by users. After 1.5 seconds, Google considers that a site is slow to load and does not hesitate to penalise it in its ranking. Indeed, Google knows that the longer a page takes to load, the more the user will tend to look elsewhere.

Make your website intuitive

You must make your website easy to navigate in a way that follows your customers’ thoughts and needs. For that, you must bring them to content that interests them. This will help them understand their needs until they are ready for the ‘act of buying’. You should, therefore, think about the breadcrumb trail that you trace on your website.

For a user, the different steps of the purchase funnel (steps between placing a product in the shopping cart and receiving the order confirmation) can be daunting (even more so if they do not yet have an account on your site). To stop users giving up along the way, you will have to make the purchase funnel as easy as possible and remove any unnecessary steps. Only ask the visitors for necessary information and guide them through each step.

Always keep Google in mind

The days when a website could be favourably indexed by search engines with the simple integration of a few keywords are over. The evolution of tools, thanks to Machine Learning, has made old SEO tactics almost obsolete. Other factors, more relevant, now make it possible to judge the quality of a website: UX is one of them.

Google is increasingly paying attention to certain customer experience criteria for SEO, such as loading speed, mobile-first design or lack of duplicate content. Indeed, the artificial intelligence (AI) behind Google’s Search Engine Results Pages (SERP) is based on visitors’ interactions with your site, such as average session duration or bounce rate. The AI considers that a user is interested when they spend 30 seconds or more on your website.

Analyse your users

It’s essential that you put yourself in the shoes of your website’s users. Developing a website is not just a matter of developing it: you or your employees are not the end users.

When designing your website from scratch, research your target audience to get a greater understanding of their preferences. When redesigning or optimising a website, observe and study how people navigate your site. Consider analysing the traffic on your pages and auditing your website to find out how your site is currently performing. This will give you an idea of what works and what doesn’t.

From the information obtained on your Internet users (socio-cultural context, motivations and obstacles etc.) you can determine the standard profile of your ideal customers. These are the people you are talking to when you design your website. You have to think about them: will they enjoy your site, be able to use it easily and ultimately buy the products you offer them?

The attention given to UX is therefore crucial to the successful development of your website and to its ability to attract and retain customers. However, it is not always easy to understand all its ins and outs, which is why we’re here to provide you with personalised help. Call us on 01603 252555 or fill in a contact us form here.

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