You can design the best-looking website in the world, but if it’s hard to navigate or the content isn’t engaging, it’s not worth a dime. That’s why it’s vital to optimize your website for user experience (UX), ensuring each user journey is as smooth and meaningful as possible.
In this post, we’ll explore why website UX is so important and show you eight ways to optimize the user experience.
The need for UX optimization
Let’s quickly clear up UX vs UI. The user interface (UI) refers to the look of the website — buttons, color scheme, and interactive elements. Website UX is about how people connect with the design and whether it’s easy to find the required information.
A UX-optimized website helps people to find your website, as you’ll rank higher in the SERPs. That said, high traffic volume doesn’t help you if those visitors bounce away due to a negative experience (and they might tell others about it, too).
When you deliver a great user experience, you’ll keep people on your site for longer, where they can learn more about your product and brand. This leads to more conversions or helps you stay top-of-mind when someone’s ready to buy. What’s more, UX optimization also assists with customer retention.
If your website functions properly as well as looking good, users will perceive your brand as professional and trustworthy and, as such, your products and services as high-quality.
8 Ways to Optimize Website UX
We know why user experience is crucial, but how do you go about it? Here are 8 tips encompassing the essential elements of website UX.
1. Implement easy navigation
UX is all about smooth journeys, so visitors must be able to find their way around your site with ease. Think about the actions they might want to complete, such as making a purchase or finding a blog topic. Go through the possible steps they’d take, and look out for any friction points.
If you use a cloud ERP system or CRM software, they can also be useful here, as your developers can access them and pinpoint where customers are having trouble. As both of these tools collect and organize your customer’s information and feedback, they provide a powerful source of information that can indicate any trends when it comes to a poor user experience.
On top of this, make sure all the internal links are working, with no 404 errors or misdirects to the wrong pages. Include a search bar for the user’s convenience. A minimalist design with plenty of white space also helps visitors to find what they’re looking for.
2. Ensure mobile-friendly design
It’s really frustrating when a site hasn’t been optimized for mobile devices. The text is too small, the page is too wide for the screen, and buttons appear in the wrong places.
Instead, you want to aim to have a website that provides an experience that is obviously made for the mobile user. For example, below, you can see how the Etsy mobile site transforms to have easily clickable thumbnails and an extra site navigation located at the top of the page.
Screenshot taken from etsy.com
With so many people using mobile devices to browse online, you could be losing a ton of potential customers if you don’t pay attention to the mobile experience. Google uses this as a ranking factor and may even penalize sites that fail to factor it into their design process.
It should be as easy to achieve your aim on a mobile as it is on a computer. Responsive websites adjust their display according to the pixel width of the relevant device, reshaping themselves to be legible and easy to navigate.
3. Conduct usability testing
Usability testing is when actual users perform real tasks on your website and evaluate the experience. You’ll discover the pain points and gain a better understanding of user behavior. As well as feedback from testers, you can measure task completion time and view activity heatmaps.
It’s best to run user testing in the early stages of web development when major changes are easier to make. Wireframe and prototype testing will also save you time and money later on.
A/B testing enables you to trial different elements, like landing pages and CTAs, to find out which are more engaging or bring more conversions. Don’t forget mobile testing across devices and global testing for site visitors in different countries.
4. Incorporate visual elements to improve readability
It’s essential that users can read your content easily, so avoid walls of text and include visual design elements. Photos, infographics, charts, and graphs will aid understanding as well as breaking up the text, while videos help people learn about your product.
We’re not just talking about images — you can also use bullet lists, pull quotes, and negative space. Organize the text into sections with H2s and H3s (which also helps search engines to index your site).
Remember that accessible design is a key principle of UX. Consider users with color blindness or other visual impairments by using readable fonts and the right contrast ratio. You can even take it one step further, like the BBC example shown below. Using the “Tab” keyboard function, those with disabilities can skip content and navigate the site easily.
Screenshot taken from bbc.com
5. Optimize content
Content plays a big role in UX. It has to be engaging and informative, and it has to match the user’s search intent. Long-form pieces are popular, but many users will skim-read. Put the key points at the top and provide a clickable table of contents and a TL;DR summary.
The aim is to provide value and position your brand as a thought leader. If someone is searching for fashion tips, you want to make sure that they find inspiring content on your boutique eCommerce site, that showcases relevant products. This way your content is offering valuable advice as well as providing the kind of products the customer is looking for.
You could use dynamic content based on customer behavior, such as exit-intent pop-ups, cart reminders, and personalized product recommendations.
6. Simplify conversion points
Conversion points are places on your website where you want users to take action, such as requesting a demo or signing up for your newsletter. It’s essential that these points are simple, obvious, and enticing.
For example, CTA buttons should stand out from the page and make it clear what the action is (“Buy Now”, “Get Started”, “Learn More”). You might also use pop-up offers or clickable banners, and hyperlinked text within web copy — make it obvious with color and underlining.
The main tactic is to make it simple for users to convert, so don’t complicate the process with multiple steps. If they need to fill out a form, only ask for brief, relevant information. The example below, taken from the Sage ERP solution page, does exactly this–the customer only has to supply a small amount of information to get the answers they need.
Screenshot taken from Sage.com
7. Decrease website loading time
If there’s one thing that really annoys users, it’s slow-loading pages. Nobody likes to be kept waiting — and when they give up, you’ll see an unwanted spike in your bounce rate. There are several things you can do to increase loading speed and improve your Core Web Vitals.
You should optimize images by compressing them for the web, and remove unnecessary characters from your code. Other options include using browser caching, reducing WordPress plug-ins, and using a hosting service with a content delivery network (CDN).
8. Utilize AI and chatbots
AI algorithms can help you improve UX by collecting and analyzing visitor information and optimizing the site accordingly. Thanks to machine learning, they can make further adjustments over time and deliver a personalized experience. AI also helps to eliminate bias in testing.
Chatbots are a great way for website visitors to find answers. They can be programmed to answer FAQs and to escalate to a human agent when needed. This method is quick and easy for users, as there’s no need to join a phone queue or wait for an email response. Plus, they’re available 24/7.
So, that’s your introduction to user experience design and its importance for customer satisfaction. If you follow our UX design tips, you’ll guarantee that all your visitors make smooth progress through your website and find what they were looking for.
A positive online experience boosts conversions, loyalty, and brand reputation, as well as improving your SERP rankings and website findability.