Your website is your most important marketing tool and should be working for you around the clock. In order for it to be an effective marketing tool, it needs to be designed with the visitor in mind. What am I talking about when I say this? Website user experience!
In this blog post, I’d like to discuss 5 tips for effective website user experience. The phrase user experience is one that I’m sure you’ve heard since it’s used all the time when talking about websites, but do you actually know what it means?
It’s important to understand the meaning because it is one of the most important factors in determining the success of a website!
User experience (or UX), as it applies to website design, is essentially designing a website so that it is easy to use and appealing to consumers. We achieve this by using content, images and design to create a powerful emotional response. It’s incredibly important because most visitors won’t stay on a site if the design is bad.
In order to design a great website you must understand the needs and wants of your potential clients. When you understand this, you can design a website that will be successful.
It’s important for web design because it significantly affects conversion rates. How a website looks and functions directly impact how interesting a product or service seems to a consumer and what their chances are of purchasing it.
So, what makes for a fantastic website user experience? Here are my 5 tips:
Guiding visitors seamlessly from one section to the next is incredibly important in website user experience. Think of a website as a path and the design moves them along the path. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Items at the top of a page will be more noticed.
- Users will scroll down a page as long as it’s clear additional and relevant information is below the fold.
- The longer a page is the less likely a visitor is to scroll to the bottom.
- Be consistent throughout the design as this will help users move through.
- Try to avoid dead end pages.
- Don’t reinvent the wheel – use what’s common and known because it works.
2. Page Load Speed
Visitors generally have short attention spans so if your website takes a long time to load, chances are they’ll leave and move on to the next site. Also, Google now takes page load speed into consideration for organic search rankings. (Your can test the speed of your website by clicking here.)
There is a huge amount that goes into building your website so that it loads fast and you’ll want to make sure your website designer is building your site with these best practices in mind. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Ensure visitors to your website can find information quickly.
- Have your text load before images.
- Delays longer than several seconds will cause visitors to leave your website.
- Your hosting company plays a big part in how fast your website loads.
Navigation is your main website menu – what appears at the top of the page. This is how visitors to your website will find the information they need to make a decision about hiring you.
You’ll want to make your navigation as simple and easy to use as possible. Best practice is that there should be no more than 7 items in your menu – less is more.
Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- Have a clear way to access the menu (make it sticky or have a to the top arrow).
- Keep you menu consistent – it shouldn’t change throughout the website.
- Make page names simple – remember clear rather than clever.
- Don’t use hamburger menus on desktop.
- Home does not need to be a menu item – your logo will take visitors to your home page.
To find out more about best practices for your website menu design click here.
Having high quality and relevant content is incredibly important for user experience. Having a clear understanding of who your target audience is and how you are uniquely positioned to solve their problems with your service or product is paramount.
While the words matter, so does the way in which they are laid out on the page. Here are a few things to keep in mind:
- The most important information should stand out as the most visually prominent.
- Put the most important content at the top of the page.
- Use size and color to differentiate primary information from supporting information.
- Don’t use industry jargon.
You’ll want to ensure your website is designed for visitors to scan. Many visitors to your website won’t read everything – they just want the basics.
Remember, readability is not just how easy it is to read the content, but also the quality of the content.
Here are a few tips to keep in mind:
- Use bulleted and numbered lists.
- Consider legibility when choosing fonts.
- Make use of images.
- Utilize white space.
In summary, a well-designed website user experience comes down to guiding the visitor to the information they need. Remember less is more and the success of your website depends on the way you present your content and how effectively you make use of images and graphics.
Also, SEO is no longer just about keywords and backlinks; it’s about making sure that the visitors to your website have a great user experience.
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If you’d like to start the conversation about working together, please fill out the client application form and I will be in touch to schedule a complimentary introductory call.