There is no scarcity of information in the Internet era. Users are free to choose the most suitable channels from a vast sea of options. As a website owner, delivering promotional messages to your target audience can be challenging in this competitive environment. Engaging and useful content, an appealing design and a user-friendly interface are needed to attract more visitors, retain their interest and convert them into well-paying buyers.
In this article, the Clever team shares UX best practices and also draws your attention to some common mistakes that can alienate potential clients from your site. Our tips are sure to help both new and established companies who want to improve the usability of their online platforms.
1. Provide Straightforward Commands and Features
Make your website easy to navigate. Users expect valuable information to appear at their fingertips, and they will go elsewhere if you fail to provide it. It takes only a few seconds for a visitor to determine whether your website is worth exploring, so striking a strong first impression is key.
Look at your online platform from the user’s point of view. Is the design pleasing to look at? Are the subject and purpose of each page clear and unambiguous? Are action buttons visibly placed? Will it take excessive effort to find desired information?
Combine colors, fonts, and images in ways that focus users’ attention on the most important commands and features. Do not clutter up space with meaningless content. Avoid placing CTAs and other buttons next to each other; distribute them evenly among page blocks.
Hide second-tier functionality in folders to make your layout more user-friendly and compact.
2. Prioritize Website Usability Over Creativity
While original and creative design ideas are welcome, avoid going overboard. Web users expect a standard and familiar layout. When visiting your platform, they will expect to find header and footer menus, sidebar options and other common elements. A completely unfamiliar layout can confuse and alienate some users.
By placing a signin button in the upper left corner instead of the upper right, you run the risk of alienating new users. Very few visitors will go out of their way to find common website buttons in unfamiliar places.
Exercise caution when introducing elaborate updates. Sometimes creativity must be sacrificed in the interest of creating a common, familiar and straightforward user experience. Breaking with traditional order can cause your business more harm than good.
3. Ensure Fast Loading
Slow page loading drives users mad. The last thing you want is for new visitors to arrive at your site from search, social media or other channels, only to experience irritation at the slow loading speed. They are likely to leave before the page fully loads without ever learning who you are and what you have to offer. After being disappointed once, prospects are unlikely to revisit your platform in the future. It will take tremendous efforts to regain their favor.
People use a variety of devices and Internet connections to access your site, making it impossible to evaluate page loading speed manually. Automate the process with Google PageSpeed.
You can use this helpful tool in any browser. Just enter the page’s URL to get an accurate assessment of its loading time, graded on a scale of 1 to 100. The tool will also generate optimization tips geared specifically to your platform. Pages scoring 90 or above are considered fast, 50 to 90 are medium, while a score below 50 indicates slow loading speed and the need for an in-depth upgrade.
Be sure to check loading speed for each page type used on your website, including homepage, category pages, subcategory pages, product pages and blog article pages. A comprehensive inspection will help you determine whether your loading speed is satisfactory, and what measures should be taken to improve it.
4. Cater to Customers’ Needs
Before implementing a new solution on your website or branded app, be sure it matches your customers’ expectations. Your venture will not be able to stay afloat for long without your customers’ appreciation and loyalty.
The first step towards launching a great website is to conduct thorough market research and establish a lively dialog with your target audience. Find out what features people find appealing on your competitors’ websites. It may be a harmonious blend of colors, stylistic design, appealing product photos, convenient layouts, fast loading or other elements. Also, pinpoint your rivals’ weaknesses and fill in the gaps on your own site.
A well-balanced mix of best practices combined with your own original approaches will help you create a unique website that appeals to users without taking them outside their comfort zone.
Whenever you launch a new feature or change your site’s design or layout, be sure to conduct a user experience survey to see whether your audience likes the updates, and be sure to fix any issues they point out.
5. Keep User Intent in Mind
To get customers to stick with your brand, you need to think like a customer. Find out where they found your links, what grabbed their attention, and what inspired them to visit your site.
Since a single page can be promoted in multiple ways, it is important to find out which channels work best for you, and focus on them. If you advertise your landing page via email, PPC ads, and on social media, and find that the latter gets the most traction, it makes sense to invest more in developing branded social media accounts.
Once you determine the most powerful promotional channels, dig deeper to figure out exactly what makes them so effective. It may be ads that offer enticing discounts, strong CTAs, invitations to get more information at a website, or other factors that make users stop scrolling long enough to click.
A critical element of your advertising messages that motivates users to take action is the promise of value. Make sure your offers coincide with the content of your website pages. Do not mislead your prospects. If they go to your site and cannot find the information promised in your ad, they will feel betrayed and quickly form a negative opinion of your brand.
6. Establish Relevant Internal Linking
Do not overwhelm your visitors with large volumes of information packed into a single page. Lengthy detailed articles take time to absorb, and most web users are simply too busy for long reads.
Spoon-feed visitors with useful content in smaller portions, giving them time to digest new concepts. Your followers will appreciate being able to learn interesting things in an engaging and easy manner without overload, and will return to your site for more.
Break up complex topics into a number of sub-topics and put them on separate pages. Use internal linking to connect related pages. This gives users the option to move on to the next topic, or return later for more information.
Following are some good examples of internal linking:
- Provide links to related articles and commercial pages in your blog posts.
- Redirect users from the order placement page to reviews and related products from product pages in your catalog.
- Invite users to visit your Q&A and About Us pages to find out more about your brand.
Internal linking improves your website’s usability and paves a smooth path for users to navigate your site.
7. Highlight Important Elements
Use large icons, bold fonts and bright colors to accentuate important content. Most commercial websites use red action buttons, enlarged calls to action, and moderate background color palettes to create contrast.
Highlighting important elements increases the likelihood of sales. It boosts the commercial properties of your pages, converting passive visitors into well-paying customers.
8. Tailor Your Site to Various Devices
The average web user juggles at least three devices every day, from PC to laptop, tablet, or smartphone. You want to create a smooth shopping journey for every prospect, no matter what device they use to access your site. Make sure your pages upload without delay on mobile gadgets and fit various screen sizes.
Also, keep in mind the difference between desktop and mobile user experience. It is uncomfortable to type long answers without a keyboard, so your mobile version should offer clickable options that don’t require typing. Also make sure that users do not have to zoom to read small text, and that images do not go beyond the screen borders.
Stay up to speed on Android and iOS software upgrades so that prospects can access your site using the newest versions of these operating systems. Stay abreast of tech innovations and continually adapt your site to new features.
9. Make a Good Impression on First-Time Visitors
A stunning first impression is key when a new user visits your site. They should immediately perceive that you will be able to satisfy their interests and needs, and be enticed to take a closer look at your content and commercial offers.
To impress new visitors, you should:
- Demonstrate the page’s relevance to user intent;
- Refrain from tedious foreplay and get straight to the point.
- Meet users’ expectations and deliver the value you promised in your ads.
- Build trust by sharing positive feedback from previous customers, showcasing security labels and highlighting other elements that reinforce your credibility.
- Use pop-ups sparingly or you will alienate potential buyers.
There are many important details to consider when launching a new website or upgrading an existing one. First and foremost, ask yourself the following questions:
- How can I attract the attention of potential buyers and inspire them to visit my website?
- What information will visitors seek on my pages?
- Will it be easy for them to find that information?
- How can I make a great first impression and retain users’ interest?
Also, keep in mind the following:
- Content should be original and align with page topics.
- All website pages should be interconnected and easy to navigate.
- Place links to your pages on external resources.
- Make your site user-friendly for people with disabilities.
- Regularly check the appearance and technical function of your pages, and immediately fix any issues.
- Use data from previous sessions to simplify sign-in, order placement and other repetitive processes, and to offer relevant products to repeat customers.
- Your client’s shopping journey should be seamless, even if they switch among multiple devices along the way.