One of the most important factors of a strong online web presence is how well users are able to interact with your site. Whether your users are on desktops, mobile devices, or tablets, the experience your website provides is directly related to conversions and overall online performance. Despite the undeniable importance of user experience, we often see that it’s a factor most overlooked.
Sometimes it’s simply that a few changes and updates need to be made to help a website perform better. In other cases, it’s that a website is outdated and needs to be completely revamped. Regardless of where you’re at with your own website, checking these 10 elements of user experience will help you identify weak spots and identify avenues for growth or improvement.
- Page Speed
After a user clicks on your website, you have about 1/10th of a second to make an impression and push them closer to a conversion. There are millions of websites online, so if the load speed of your site takes too long, it’s highly likely that a user will bounce from your page and find another website. Test your site speed using Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool. If you find that it’s lagging, talk to your web developer about improving it.
Ensuring that your website is mobile-friendly and has a design that’s responsive across all devices is imperative to online success. This is especially true now that shifts in search behavior reveal a huge rise in the number of mobile searchers compared to desktop. You can see how your site performs by using Google’s Mobile-Friendly test.
- Contact Information (CTA) Buttons
According to a recent study, 44% of website visitors will leave a company’s website if the contact information or phone number isn’t displayed and 51% of people think “thorough contact information” is the most important element missing from company websites. For mobile optimization especially, you should have easy to find contact buttons that clearly illuminate a path for your users to reach you.
- Instinctive Navigation
In the most successful web designs, users instinctively know where to click and how to navigate through a website. An important part of facilitating that intuitive use is having a readily displayed and user-friendly navigation menu that maps out your site. Ideally, it will direct users to the most important parts of your website in as few clicks as possible.
- Brand Logo Linking
In keeping with navigation, linking your home page to the displayed logo of a website is an important detail not to miss. One study showed that, after reaching a site via a referral site, 35% of visitors will click on the company’s logo to reach the homepage. It’s an intuitive part of user behavior and an easy user experience detail for websites to have.
- Short Forms
Form fields are an important part of the conversion process for many companies. If a user wants to request more information or download something off of a website, then a simple form field should request and require their contact information. That being said, having too many form fields will turn users away. Try to limit your form fields to the basics: name, email address or phone number, and reason for stopping by.
There’s a fine line between too much and just enough when it comes to ads. For an example of a company that crosses that line, look no further than Forbes. Users are first directed to a page with a quote of the day, as well as an advertisement on the right, that they must stay on for a countdown of 3-5 seconds. Upon clicking on an article, users will see an advertisement in the header, on the right side of the page, and mixed in with the content. While I love Forbes and the content they produce, I avoid their website at all costs, because I know I can expect a poor user experience. Make sure your ads are not intrusive and don’t cross the line.
- Auto-Playing Media
This is also along the lines of making sure ads and pop-ups aren’t ruining the user experience of your site. Media–in ads, as part of your website content, or elsewhere–should not play without user interaction. If the user doesn’t click on or hover over the media, it should not play! If media does play without user interaction, you’ll end up being the website that users promptly close out of to escape unwanted audio.
- Site Search Feature
An internal site search bar can help keep users on your website longer. If the navigation menu fails to show a user what they’re looking for, an internal search feature can be the last stop. This is particularly effective for users searching for something specific. Adding a site search feature in the footer of your website or next to the navigation bar will give users another way to browse your site.
- Visual Appeal
Aesthetics matter, especially online. Adobe’s studies show that 38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive, and that when given 15 minutes to consume content, two-thirds of people would rather read something beautifully designed than something plain. The color, balance, layout, and images your website has all play a hand in the overall look and feel.