Building websites with high conversion rates requires a mix of data science, design, and even psychology. For most people these first two probably seem obvious, but the psychology component is often forgotten. In our industry you’ll hear a lot of talk about “UX” (short for User Experience), however, its effects on conversion rates are often under-emphasized.
Designing a complex user experience is a distinctly different type of work than regular design, development, or data science – but their relationship is inherently intertwined. You can use A/B testing to test your ideas on an existing site, but in many cases, small changes to the user experience can have dramatic effects on the way users interact with the page – and more importantly, convert.
Here are 5 UX principals, which when used correctly, we’ve found can have a large impact on website usability and conversion:
- Break information into smaller, digestible chunks
- Reduce cognitive load
- Familiarity over Ingenuity
- Use Bold Headings
- Wait for the right moment
There’s a lot of research out there about enabling users to make decisions by reducing the number of choices. If you’re looking for a basic primer on the idea, there is a great Ted Talk on the subject: https://www.ted.com/talks/sheena_iyengar_choosing_what_to_choose?language=en.
It’s important not to overwhelm users with options, because it creates an inability for them to choose (decreasing conversion). Generally, it’s best to have no more than 3-6 choices for users to pick from.
Our brains can only process a finite amount of information at any given time through working memory. Finding ways to design sections of your site to be simple and straightforward can decrease the cognitive load of users on your site and give them a greater ability to focus on what’s important.
People are biased to naturally prefer things that are familiar to them. While it’s important to create the best experience you can for your customers, make sure you’re presenting an experience that users will immediately feel comfortable using.
Generally speaking, any time you see a “wall of text” on a website, you can assume that only a small percentage of users will read it. Adding prominent headings to sections and calling out key words and phrases will help make your site more accessible to the majority of people who are skimming through to find exactly what they’re looking for.
My favorite current example of this is when you visit a retailer’s website and are immediately presented with a prompt to take a survey on your experience. How can I rate my experience on your site, when the only thing I’ve seen is this survey request?
No matter what type of conversion you’re trying for, it’s important to make sure you’re not asking too early or too late. You typically won’t see an ‘Add To Cart’ button above product content on an e-commerce website, because users haven’t seen or read enough to be convinced to buy yet. Conversely, if the call to action is hidden too far along in the nurturing process, or nonexistent altogether, you’ll end up with willing users abandoning before the conversion point.