The user experience encompasses all of the interactions and touch points a user will have with your business throughout their entire buyer journey. It’s a symphony of ease, simplicity and aesthetic that harmonizes well with your potential customers.
You want the user to feel like the website they see in front of them was made for them. Great UX revolves around the user (pretty obvious), but it highlights an essential component. To create successful UX you have to know your user first. Getting to know the user is the foundation of all great customer experience and UX design — allowing you to better gauge the needs and tendencies your target customers are accustomed to so that you can provide a superior product or service.
When it comes to website design and content — this is no different. In a world where web traffic can starve or feed an enterprise, website UX is a necessary strategy. 88% of users say they are unlikely to return to a website after a poor experience.
Luckily for us all, humans are pretty easily conditioned and after decades of online use, they have become accustomed to certain design and user elements. What does this mean? Well, online behaviors are fairly common. All it takes is understanding the subtle nuances and needs that your customers have so that you can provide the best experience possible.
But before you get into these subtleties, it’s important to understand the foundations that nearly all great UX stand on.
The First Impression
Just like with interpersonal or even interview first impressions — your website’s initial impression follows a similar trajectory and carries the same significance. Your users will make snap judgements about your offerings or business as a whole within the first few seconds of seeing your website.
Whether or not your content or products are worth engaging with begins early. The clarity and conciseness necessary to form a positive first impression comes down to a multitude factors.
- Load time (53% of visitors will leave your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load)
- Not understanding the purpose of a business (what are the products or services offered)
- Difficulty navigating or finding simple information
- Strong call to actions
Now unfortunately, there is no single design that can touch on every single UX. If there were, every single website would look identical. But this is where understanding your customers comes into play. Each customer base is different and will navigate a website in a slightly unique way. Ecommerce customers work one way while B2B customers may seek more empirical information like white papers.
Avoid or remove clutter entirely. Any information or media that doesn’t need to be there should be removed because the only purpose it will serve is to distract or confuse the user. Conciseness is also key. Avoid big chunks of text and stick to short snippets of key information
Present information or opportunity in the shortest possible fashion. Users are fickle and have short attention spans — if they can’t locate key information fast you risk losing their business.
Your content and design should reflect the wants and needs of your customers and present valuable information in an intuitive manner.
Provide Value First
When delving deep into UX it’s also important to consider where exactly the traffic to your specific pages comes from. If you find that the majority of your traffic comes from search engines or external links, it is likely that these users came to your site with a very specific goal or inquiry in mind.
This means you need to provide engaging, informative and valuable information that pertains to these goals and inquiries on all of the pages these links lead to.
Each page should be designed according to where the traffic is coming from. This is a keystone of understanding the user in order to provide an optimal UX.
The content you create for your website is the gold, but without the right map to lead your customers they will leave before ever finding it.
All information and content on your site should go into pages with a “value first” mindset first. And consequently, these pages should be organized into a rationale that makes sense for the user. The end result is the navigation your users take to land on key information and eventually a call to action will lead them to you.
The term “above the fold” has been around since the inception of the print press, and for good reason. It refers to the practice of putting attention grabbing headlines quite literally above where the paper folds because it is the first piece of information a reader will see.
The same can be said for websites, but instead of a literal fold it refers to the moment your user has to scroll down. This means that before your user scrolls down they should clearly understand exactly what information they have landed on so that they can make a decision about whether or not they should continue on the page. Putting call to actions above the fold is a great practice for prompting users to continue down for more information.