Successful websites are built on strong web design foundations such as easy navigation, engaging content and powerful technological infrastructure. That said, even the most well-executed website build will have plenty of areas for improvement.
In order to improve a website, it is important to discover what are the current problems and prioritise them according to business goals and user expectations.
Collecting user data with tools like Google Analytics, mouse tracking and heatmap platforms can help provide an in-depth look at user behaviour metrics to ensure that your website is providing the best user experience.
But before we go any further you need to understand why user experience is crucial to any business that has a customer-centric culture.
What is User Experience Design?
UX design sounds like a technical term, but it’s a simple principle.
If UX is about how users interact with and experience your website, then UX design is the process you undertake to make those interactions and experiences positive ones.
UX design encompasses all of the following:
- User Interface (UI) design. UI and UX are often used interchangeably, but they’re two different things
- Usability, which looks at whether pages load correctly, links work, and other elements vital to how users perceive your website
- Information architecture
Why is UX important for your website?
No matter the ultimate objective of your website – be that to sell something, generate enquiries, or provide information to users – the UX is what helps you meet and fulfil user needs and business objectives.
Websites that offer a good UX will earn loyalty from their users and attract higher numbers of visitors. Having a poor UX will produce the opposite effect. Users will leave your site and you’ll find it challenging to grow your business.
When you provide a positive, meaningful UX, you’re able to explore far more opportunities with strategic planning like customer journeys and tailored experiences regarding products or services to guarantee success.
How to measure UX
There are many ways to measure UX. The best approach to interpreting UX metrics is to collect both quantitative and qualitative data using a range of research tools.
Source: Nielsen Norman Group
The most straightforward process for choosing useful UX metrics is to break them down into behavioural and attitudinal metrics. That is where a good UX design agency comes into play if you are not comfortable to do it by yourself.
Behavioural UX metrics are highly measurable and represent the “why and how” and include:
- Internal click-through rate
- Goal flow success rate
- Customer journey progression and dropout rates
- Shopping cart abandonment rates
- Task success rate
You can also take your UX analysis a step further with tools like Hotjar and Mouseflow, which provide heatmaps and mouse tracking to help you understand in even greater detail how users are interacting with your pages.
Attitudinal UX metrics (What and Who) are more qualitative and might include:
- Feedback from customers on your site’s UX from platforms like Trustpilot
- Feedback you get from things like on-site surveys or user emails
- Comments from user testing projects
- Metrics like Net Promoter Score, which gives you a quantitative figure as well as qualitative feedback
With so many ways to measure UX, there’s no reason for you not to be doing it to ensure your website is always optimised for your users.
The Design Process
Before implementing the following UX design tips, it is important to understand the design process in full and use the Double Diamond Framework created by the British Design Council.
This framework will guide your project to design the right thing and the thing right. By following the two questions below, you can ensure your UX project initiatives are more likely to create the desired outcome:
- Is this the right problem to solve?
- Is this the right solution to execute?
Here are 20 UX design tips that you might consider implementing to give an instant boost to your metrics.
20 actionable UX design tips
Put your important messages near the top
Ensure your important messages are near the top of the page so users can read them and take the next step or action without needing to scroll or look around.
Ensure your interface is consistent
We’ve all visited websites that have issues with layout inconsistencies. They’re challenging to navigate and perform tasks.
They’re usually the type of sites users are not in a hurry to revisit anytime soon. To avoid this problem ensure that every website element has a consistent layout and interface, so customers know what to expect and do.
Avoid having dead-end pages
Every page in your website either needs to lead to another page in a relevant journey or be a Call to Action page where a final transaction occurs. Even if you have an informational, non-transactional website, you still want to keep users reading for longer.
Keep your pages as relevant as possible
We appreciate that you won’t always be able to say everything you want at the top of the page. At the same time, users will be put off if the scrolling bar makes it obvious your pages are overly long.
Have as much information as you need on your pages, but get to the point! Your main goal is to make the user pay attention to details that are important to your business instead of irrelevant information.
Keep your CTA colour unique
If your call to actions are a blue button, try to avoid using blue elsewhere on your website. In order to optimize conversions the call to actions must stand out from everything else.
Use a tool like VWO to A/B or multi-variate to test call to action buttons on your website, or conduct user tests before going live if undertaking a website redesign.
Make sure users can do what they want, quickly
As much as you want to talk about your products and business, many of your transactions will come from returning visitors, having done their research and already know what you can do. Make it easy for these visitors to send an enquiry or make a purchase without needing to navigate their way through masses of content again.
Ensure your pages load quickly
Ensure your pages – at least the parts the user will see straight away – load quickly and allow users to get on with whatever they need to do.
Make text load quickly
If your site is image-heavy, that will pile a significant workload onto your web server. Ensure your text-based elements load first so users can start reading and digesting information while the rest of the page loads.
Ensure all clickable elements are “single touch”
Requiring a double click of the mouse is perhaps as old school as it gets. It’ll also kill your UX performance on mobile devices. Make all clickable elements on all versions of your website accessible via a single click.
Avoid elements too close to the edges of the screen
Again with mobile in mind, having clickable elements too close to the edges of the screen might lead to people clicking inadvertently. Not only will this frustrate visitors, but it’ll make your analytics data a mess, too, so make everyone’s life easier by ensuring it doesn’t happen!
Sticky navigation is when your header follows users down the page. From a UX perspective, this ensures they can always navigate to anywhere featured in your top line navigation without first needing to scroll back up to the top of the page.
Breadcrumb trails make it easy for users to see the journey they have taken through your website, navigate back if they take a wrong turn, and are great for creating internal links, too. Make them a must to enhance your UX!
If you’re a SaaS business or operate another platform that requires a login, ensure the login section is separate from your menus. The same rings true for on-site search functions. These are things that are there to aid your user journeys and experience, so make them easy to find and keep your menus for navigation.
If your website is more than four levels deep, change it
You shouldn’t require users to work their way through any more than four levels of your website before coming to a call to action page. Unless you’re a huge eCommerce business with a vast number of product categories to include, a website deeper than four levels should be revisited and redesigned to be more user friendly.
Make forms short and easy to complete
There’s nothing like an ugly, long-form to put people off completing it. Keep your enquiry forms short and to the point. If you need a longer form, have a message advising how long it will take to complete. Keep all form fields in an easily scannable, vertical line, too.
You don’t need to highlight your links in blue and underline them, but you do need to make sure they stand out. Whether that’s with another colour from your branding or simply a colour that stands out against your regular text colour, choose the option that both looks great and makes life easier for your users.
If you have carousels already, look at your click data and take action accordingly. If you don’t already have them, they have a click-through rate of around 1% on average, so opt for a static design and something that is engaging and will encourage clicks.
The purpose of your pages must be clear
If you want your users to buy something, it should be obvious that’s the case. Likewise, for enquiry forms or whatever else your website’s objective may be. Assume each user needs explicit guidance on what your page is for!
Use bold and prominent font to make critical information stand out
Most of your visitors will scan first and read in detail if something catches their eye. Use bold and prominent typefaces to make your key messages stand out and draw the user into making a click or investing time reading your content in detail.
Keep blocks of text short and concise, even on long pages
Long pages don’t have to be ungainly and unreadable. Stick to short sentences and the mantra of having one idea per paragraph. Your content will be much easier to digest. Use elements like bullet points and tables to break up your text and give you an alternative means of providing information to readers, too.
Now it’s your turn to decide which metrics you’re going to use to measure UX success. Consider the tips mentioned above to ensure your website continues to be a platform your users love and recommend to their friends.