UX stands for user experience, which can apply to the quality of all interactions a customer has with your company, or a part of it. As business is increasingly conducted online (in part as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic), website UX continues to grow in importance. In this context, a positive UX enables site visitors to easily accomplish what they intended to do on your site when they arrived there. That could be anything from learning more about your company to checking the status of an order.
A positive UX isn’t easy to achieve but it’s well worth it, given the following benefits:
- More frequent visits. When users have a good experience, they’re likely to return.
- Higher spend per visit. When items are easy to find, users are likely to buy more.
- Higher revenue. More visits plus more spent per visit equals higher overall revenue.
- Improved customer loyalty. Customers go out of their way to use preferred sites.
- More referrals. Satisfied customers are likely to tell others about you.
The number of strategies for improving website UX is nearly endless. In the following sections, we’ve chosen some of the best to help you improve your website UX in 2022.
Perform a UX Audit
The first step for providing a better UX is to perform an audit to find out what you’re already doing well and where you can improve. The goal should be a frictionless experience, meaning visitors don’t encounter annoyances when trying to perform specific tasks. For example, when making a purchase, they can easily locate products, add them to a cart, view the cart, provide personal and payment information, and later check the status of their order.
Another critical goal to strive for is consistency in design. That means elements such as the search bar, menu, and cart icon are in the same location on every page. But consistency isn’t just about layout. It’s also about your color palette, fonts, button design, and menu organization. These elements must also be constant from one page to the next, which helps visitors easily find what they’re looking for and feel confident on your site.
Maintain User Focus
If in your audit you come across any problem areas, you can use the strategies listed below to correct them. But always keep one thing in mind: user focus. That is, every decision you make about your website should be based on how visitors will use it. For example, while you may be anxious to get users to sign up for your newsletter, you may chase them away by interrupting their session with a signup box that stops their progress.
The key to this strategy is understanding your customers very well. You should have a good sense of what problems they’re trying to solve by using your products or services, what their everyday lives are like, how much they already know about your offerings, and what factors are likely to turn their visit into a purchase.
One reason Netflix is so popular is that story is a highly powerful medium. It’s one you can leverage in your website as well. First, be sure you know the right story to tell based on information you have about your customers. Then use one of the following emerging forms to convey it in an engaging way.
- Scrollytelling is taking the place of scrolling. Rather than scrolling down a page when they use their scroll wheel, users get the experience of seeing text and graphics change. The best scrollytelling experiences tell visitors the stories they most want to hear. The video below shows three examples of scrollytelling.
- Data doesn’t have to be boring. Another way to tell a good story is through data. Yet, presentations featuring data have traditionally been dry and unappealing. Website designers are now finding new ways to share data and its meaning, including fun visuals and infographic-style displays.
- Everyone loves videos. Video content is another robust medium for storytelling, from brief animations to more in-depth real-life explanations.
Discover the power of microcopy. Website users want you to get to the point. That’s why you should move away from lengthy descriptions with lots of background to snippets of one or two impactful sentences (“microcopy”), accompanied by helpful graphics.
Explore Inclusive Design
Not all website users are the same, which is why your website must accommodate a wide variety of abilities. This approach, known as “inclusive design,” is a win-win because it enables visitors who want to use your site to easily do so, and it brings you more potential customers.
According to a blog post published by UX design educator CareerFoundry, “Inclusive design seeks to find design solutions that do not exclude anyone on the basis of ability, gender identity, sexual orientation, body type, cultural experience, etc.” One example from the post is a site that uses gender-neutral language. Another is one that uses accurate visual representations of various groups based on age, race, gender, ability, and socioeconomic status.
You can even take this concept one step further, considering the paradox of specificity, which states that designing toward a more specific set of users makes your site useful to a broader set of needs. An offline example of this concept is rolling luggage, which was initially designed specifically for pilots and flight crews who need to cart luggage around constantly for their work. Now it’s extremely rare to walk through an airport and see luggage without wheels.
A Welcoming Environment Promotes a Positive UX
Now, more than ever, your website is your storefront, your showroom, and your checkout line. Just as you would in a brick-and-mortar establishment, you must create an environment that’s comfortable, easy to navigate, and a place where visitors like to spend time. In place of helpful store clerks, your site should include obvious instructions, guides, and information to help customers find what they need. Finally, your website should be welcoming for anyone who could benefit from what you have to offer.