Your website is often a user’s first impression of your brand, so you have to make a statement. But what makes a website stand out? These days, making a website attract attention is more than just ensuring it looks good. It must be easy to use, interactive, and informative.
If you’re looking at your website analytics and noticing a lot of users are coming to your site and immediately leaving (a high bounce rate) then it might be time to make some UX improvements.
What is UX?
UX stands for the user experience within your digital space and encompasses a lot of disciplines that may be overwhelming to think about. But we are here to simplify and explain what goes into a user’s experience. By definition, UX is how the user thinks, feels, and interacts with your product, or in this case your website.
When a user comes to your site, they may evaluate in 1 of 4 ways, which are defined below. Your website should give the user value, be easy to navigate and be enjoyable to use. To help characterize your UX, ask yourself the following questions:
Value: Is my site producing value for the user?
Functionality: Does my site have a lot of page errors?
Usability: Is my site easy to navigate and interact with?
Impression: When a user first visits my site, what are they thinking? What immediate actions are they taking?
Difference between UX and UI
The terms “user experience” (UX) and “user interface” (UI) are often used interchangeably, even though they are describing two related but different things. The UI of a website consists of all the elements a user interacts with, buttons, slides, menus, maps, etc., or the relationship between the users and the computer systems and software.
On the other hand, the user experience, as the name suggests, encompasses the entire experience of the website. UX takes into account how a user interacts with not just UI elements, but every other aspect of the website — load times, color usage, whitespace, mood, and subject matter in imagery, and even down to the amount of scrolling required to view elements on a page.
When looking to improve your website user experience, think about the big picture.
Why UX matters for your business
You may think that UX is something that will just help your website look better, but incorporating user-friendly features into your website design will also increase sales, and if applicable, products sold. If you are successful in improving your user experience, your bounce rate should also decrease.
When a user visits your site, you don’t want them to move on from your site because they are frustrated when they can’t find answers on your site. Your ultimate goal in improving your website user experience is to grab your user’s attention and convert them into customers.
A website that is aesthetically pleasing is one thing, but you also want a site that is easy to navigate, has limited page errors and motivates users to interact with your company. Creating a site with great UX allows users to trust your brand’s quality and credibility.
Google Core Web Vitals
There are three Google Core Web Vitals that help determine a website’s user experience. These are the Largest Contentful Paint, First Input Delay, and Cumulative Layout Shifts. These Core Web Vitals will assess all aspects of the user experience and help give you an industry standard.
We’ve outlined some of our best practices on how to improve user experience on your website that help generate traffic, keep users engaged, and allow users to easily reach their goals on your site. These practices are best paired with a strategic design team that creates content for your user.
Keeping up with the Best Design Practices
1. Clear Call to Actions
What do you want your users to do while they are on your site? Answering this question will give you call-to-action ideas to incorporate into your site. The RICE marketing strategy will help you determine what types of call-to-action, or CTAs, to include on individual pages.
If you are looking to interact with users that may not be quite ready to purchase your product or service, try adding soft call-to-actions on your website pages. Soft CTAs are not directing users to perform your main desired actions. Some soft call-to-actions ideas include:
- “Join our Mailing List”
- “Read Some Customer Testimonials”
- “Learn More”
On some web pages, your goal should be to convert the user to a customer. This stage of the RICE marketing strategy calls for hard CTAs, which motivate a user to perform an end goal, for example, purchasing the product or service.
2. Internal Linking
When laying out internal linking strategies, be conscious of the path you want the user to take throughout your site. Including internal linking allows website visitors to stay engaged on your site and easily learn more about your product or service.
3. Take Advantage of White Space
Whitespace web design is crucial for users to be able to digest and understand the content on your website. Having a website that is cluttered with information, graphics, visuals, and other various content will cause users to feel overwhelmed and confused.
Whitespace creates a visual break for the user’s eyes. When a user visits your site, you want them to see a clean, polished look that is easy to comprehend.
Your whitespace web design can include more space between each body of content, margins on either side of the page, and group-related topics with white space. Remember, white space does not mean it needs to be white, the background color of your website can align with your branding colors.
4. Write to Your Target Personas
One of the best ways to improve your user experience on your website is to design your website for the user. What needs and pain points will your website solve for the user? Who will be visiting your site?
Don’t be afraid to ask users questions or have them rate their experience. This feedback will help you shape your website to what works best for your target audience.
Images should enhance the copy and design of your website, not make the site disorganized or overwhelming. When thinking about what visuals to include on your webpage, find ones that explain the copy, evoke emotion, and talk to your audience. Avoid using images to just “fill space.”
Metadata may not be the most obvious practice to think about when looking for UX improvements, but having the correct metadata in place will help users find your website. There are a few different types of metadata, including descriptive, administrative, and structural.
Your Google snippet will encompass the title tag and meta description, which is the first thing users see if your webpage shows up on their Google search. We recommend a title tag of fewer than 60 characters and a meta description of fewer than 160 characters.
7. Mobile UX Design
The UX improvements above are all very important to consider for your next website redesign, but if your site does not perform well through mobile, you’ll lose a lot of your potential audience.
Key takeaways for mobile UX design are to make everything “thumb-friendly” as users will not have the accuracy of a mouse. Larger UI elements will ease the navigation and interaction points of your mobile website.
Additionally, remember that everything will be stacked so the content will appear much longer, requiring additional scrolling on mobile. We recommend keeping paragraphs to a maximum of three lines, so readers are able to digest the content fully without being overwhelmed.
Mobile UX design is significant because it contributes to your Core Web Vital score. It will assess the accessibility of links, content readability, and other page elements.
The Role of a UX Designer
The UX Designer will work with user research, front-end design, information architecture, and usability testing to increase your website’s user experience. They’ll help you make your website easier to navigate and interact with, so users are more likely to revisit and engage with your site.
The UX audit is the first step in identifying any shortcomings on an existing site. The marketing team will comb the entire site, examining not only the UI but the overall user experience. This is to ensure the UX is serving the ultimate goal of the website. During this process, any user pain points or site goal misalignment will be identified and remediation will be suggested to ensure UX improvements across the site.