In our last Marketers’ meeting at WebServes, we talked broadly about the importance of User Experience and how it defines major aspects of Branding and Marketing. This got me thinking about how we can make the improvement of User Experience (UX) a step-by-step process; starting with website design.
Whenever we talk about why we should improve our websites, the first reason that comes to mind is ‘better SEO’. While this is a very important reason, it is just a part of the process aimed at the end-result which is ‘happy customers’. A basic rule of thumb in business is ‘Customer is King’ but sometimes, we get so caught up in ensuring that our websites appear in relevant searches, that we forget how important it is to ensure that once users do arrive at our website, what kind of User Experience are we giving them?
According to User Experience Consulting firm Nielsen Norman Group,
“User experience” encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.
This is a very broad definition and it is practically impossible to outline all the ways you can improve your UX in just one blog post. I really do believe that there can be a four year course focused on improving UX in all aspects of an organization! So for the sake of brevity and do-ability, I will focus on how you can improve certain aspects of your website (the User Interface) to improve your Users’ Experience.
1. Faster Page Loading Time
“Improving speed to make something 25 percent faster is a much more valuable feature than a brand-new feature.“
- Jason Fried
Have you ever tried opening a web page and abandoned the site entirely because it was taking too long to load? Some people are more patient than others, but a whopping 40% said that they abandoned a website that was taking longer than 3 seconds to load. With just 3 seconds to make a good impression, it is no surprise that many websites go unnoticed. So how can you improve the loading time of your website? Luke Clum of Tutorialzine says first use a site speed testing tool to assess how your website is currently performing and then do the following:
a) Resize or remove large images and files
b) Reduce the number of plug-ins in your site
c) Eliminate flash files, which greatly weigh down performance
d) Cache your site so that it won’t have to take time to fully assemble every time a user accesses it
2. Clickable logos that redirect to the Home page
Sometimes, when I visit a website, I visit so many pages that it becomes hard to click on the ‘back’ arrow on the browser to go back to the Home page and this is when I appreciate a site that has a clickable logo that takes you back to the Home page, as is the case with our WebServes website. It is an easy addition that makes for a great UX.
3. Mobile optimized view
For example, browsing on the phone as you wait for the bus, or during the time it takes for your meal order to materialize into the food itself.
Since these time periods are relatively short, the need for instant gratification overtakes our minds such that as many a 30% of mobile web users said that they would wait for only 6 to 10 seconds before abandoning a webpage. It is therefore important to ensure that your website is optimized for mobile view so that it loads faster.
4. White space
Text is good and we all know that pictures speak a thousand words, but of what use is content that makes no impact? You need to absorb all this information and white space helps you do just that. Note: White space does not have to be white; it may be of any color as long as it is empty.
Make your website an aesthetic work of art by simply including some white space. In addition, having white space increases the prominence of the points you want to highlight. For example, enough white space around your mission statement ensures that it stands out.
‘Connect a million minds‘ has a clear website with lots of white space that clearly highlights their mission and the call to action; ‘Pledge, Connect, Share’
5. Search bar
Having a Search bar makes it easier for users to find what they are looking for instead of combing through every page and using the browser’s ‘Find’ function.
It is better to have a user who finds what he/she needs, takes action and leaves happy, rather than having a user who spends a lot of time searching for what he/she needs and leaves unhappy.
These tips just scratch the surface in terms of improving a website for better User Experience. Do you have more to add? Share your thoughts with us!