User experience is a lot like a recipe. It has ingredients and steps you can’t ignore if you want to get it right. Once you get all your ingredients together and follow the steps, you’ll have a user experience made — or cooked, if you prefer — to perfection.
What's user experience? It's the experience your users have (positive or negative) while navigating your website. It can mean the difference between making an online sale and having a user bounce right off your page. Good UX is crucial to the success of any website.
But UX is important for much more than that. Yes, a strong website needs good UX, but your digital marketing efforts are equally as dependent upon it to be successful.
So how do you give your users the best experience possible? To answer that question, we’re sharing some of the ingredients to our secret UX recipe.
15 Ways You Can Improve User Experience
1. Remember the Users Come First
You can’t have UX without users, so it only makes sense you’d create a website for them. While it’s tempting to create a site around what you or your stakeholders may want, take a step back and think about how they would want to experience your site. Your users are the ones you want to attract, convert and delight, right? Yes. So that means putting them at the heart of the site’s design, structure and content is what you need to focus on.
2. Use Your Calls to Action Wisely
A call to action (CTA) is what you want your users to do on a particular website page. That means you need to have a clear idea of what you want your users to do and what your goal is for a page. When you know what your goal is, you can strategically use CTAs throughout your website.
What’s crucial is that they’re simple, visible and easy for users to understand. Trying using a verb in your CTA to let users know exactly what you want them to do. CTAs like "Sign Up Now", "Contact Us" or "Register Today" work well because they're clear in what they want users to take action on. Optimize your pages to your CTAs and your users can do the rest.
3. Always Test — Always
If you’re not sure if a page is performing well, or what exactly about it could be improved, meet the A/B test. It’s your new best friend. An A/B test lets you see which version of a particular element performs better with users.
Does a blue button resonate more with users than a green one? Does one version of copy spur users to take action more than another? The A/B test can tell you with side-by-side data what works best. Be sure to test one element at a time, though, or else your test results may not be clear!
4. Optimize and Improve Your Load Times
Your users are impatient. If your website is slow and takes more than a few seconds to load, chances are your users will leave your website entirely. Worse yet, they might go to a competitor’s website and convert there, simply because it gave them what they wanted faster. Getting that load time as low as possible will be the first step in creating an excellent user experience.
5. Track User Actions
UX is a recipe and data is the #1 ingredient you can’t skip or swap out for something else. You can’t test or make informed decisions without data. But before you look into hiring a data scientist, there are some tools that can help.
Crazy Egg and Hotjar, for example, are heatmap tools that track user actions. You can see where users are engaged with your webpage and when they leave. You’ll have visibility into what’s working on your website and what’s not. Knowledge is half the UX battle, so enter it with the right weapons.
6. Link Your Social Media on Your Website
The world is social, and social media is how users connect with each other and brands. Facebook has a mind-boggling 2.6 billion active users. So you should definitely add links to your social media accounts on your website. It allows your users to connect with you on other platforms and lets you show off your business’s brand so they can better understand it.
7. Collect Feedback Whenever You Can
Data is important, as we’ve already pointed out. But you can always get more information from users by collecting feedback from customers on a regular basis. Surveys especially can arm you with the data you need for what’s working on your overall sales process. This feedback will eliminate any blindspots you might not have even known you had.
8. Know Your Users and Interview Them
User interviews are a key research tactic for a good website and UX. These interviews get to the heart of what your users want, why and what their motivations are. When you have these details, you have the fuller picture of what your website needs to be for your users.
9. Keep Forms Simple
Having to fill out a form with what feels like one hundred questions isn’t great UX. What is great is a simple form with a minimal amount of questions. Making things as streamlined as possible for your users. If it’s not mission-critical information, skip it. Your users will thank you for it — after they’ve filled out your form. 😉
Remember KISS: Keep it Super Simple!
10. Make Education a Priority
When users enter your website, they’re looking for answers or solutions. Your website’s job is to educate them on how you can help and provide those answers. If you can’t do that, they might just leave for another competitor’s website. When you prioritize education, you’re actually giving users exactly what they’re looking for.
11. Guide Users Through the Onboarding Process
One big thing your users will need to know is how you can help them achieve success. The onboarding process is part of that. But in order to make that experience truly great, you need to understand the use cases for your product or service from your users’ perspective. When you design your onboarding flow around what your users want to achieve, they’ll have a better understanding of your product or service and a better experience altogether.
12. Make Your Website Accessible
Accessibility is important for your users, including those with impairments. If your website isn’t accessible for users, you lose out on a critical group of people who can't access important information on your website. Paying attention to things like text size, color contrast and other features of your site can make it inclusive and altogether a better experience for the user.
13. Design for Mobile
If you’ve ever been on a website that isn’t mobile-responsive, you’ve probably felt frustration as you zoomed in on text or pinched to resize images. Your users can feel the same frustration if you don’t design your website with mobile screens in mind.
This is more than just text and images, though. It’s in the navigation, amount of content and the visual presentation of the site. Design for a mobile-first user experience and your user's frustrations will melt away.
14. Put Some Pizzazz Into 404s
Website design isn’t a set-it-and-forget-it deal. If you take down particular pages, you need a 404 redirect to tell users that the page they were looking for doesn’t exist. But there’s no reason you can’t make your 404 engaging as you redirect your users to a different page. Instead of leaving them with a dead-end, helping them navigate to another page will keep them on your website.
15. Create Content Users Will Want to Read
Content is a big part of your website. It’s where you tell your users what your site is about, after all. But if your content isn’t designed for your user, and instead just pitches your product or service, you might not be doing yourself any favors.
Instead, taking the time to think through what a user would be most interested in learning about (remember how we said to educate?) will give your user an experience where they’re not being sold to, they’re being helped. Tailoring your content to that user-first approach will keep users engaged and may just lead to a click on your CTA.
So there you have it: our 15 ways to improve user experience. Dazzling users and delighting customers is more than just a slick design. It takes research, data and optimization to elevate a website to the top of the digital food chain. A recipe can only come together when you have all the right ingredients, so don’t so skip out on any of them!
Still need help with your website’s UX? We have your back.