Hopefully, when you designed and developed your website you gave some thought about how your users would interact with the site. The type of experience your visitors have is extremely important – it can be the deciding factor on whether or not they will do business with you. However, when a user has a good experience on your website it leads to trust and loyalty and even an increase in sales.
Whether you are designing a brand new website, redesigning, or just have some web maintenance that needs to be completed, you should always keep in mind who your users are and how they will be using your site. You can balance the goals you’ve set out for your website with the goals your users have when they are using your website.
There are so many ways to enhance user experience on the web. Here a few things to keep in mind when thinking about creating the ultimate experience for your web users:
1. Easy to Find Resources
Make the key areas of your website easy to find and access. Always make sure the information on your site is organized in a manner that is logical to the user. Try not to bury content using sub-sub-sub pages – you don’t want your users to feel like they need a treasure map to navigate your site.
photo credit: Brymo
2. Customize & Personalize
Some websites allow the user to change preferences and customize the page with information specific to them. When I set up my Verizon wireless account online I was able to select my phone and my plan. Whenever I log in, the options given to me on my home screen always align with the products and services I have available to me depending on my current service plan. Now I don’t have to go searching around to find car charges and phone covers that are adaptable to my phone – Verizon has done it for me. Also, we have seen websites, such as Netflix, have much success personalizing their site by tailoring the movie options for the customer based on previous rentals.
3. Segment Your Users
If you are able to define specific web users that frequent your site, build pages on your website specific to them. Then, once they arrive on your site, filter them to those areas. This allows them to find the resources they are seeking easier and more efficiently.
This can refer to the design and the language that you use on your website. You need to know who your users are and design your site in a way that makes them feel comfortable. Layout, color scheme, font, and imagery can help create an environment that relates to the demographic that uses your site. If there is data available to understanding how your users consume content, keep that in mind as well for help creating the layout. For example, there are very distinct differences on ESPN’s website and Martha Stewart’s website, based on the fact that there are two very different demographics using the sites.
photo credit: pursuethepassion
5. Good Navigation and Site Search
Poor navigation can crush a user’s experience on your site. A user should always know where they are, where they have been and where they want to go when they are on your site. We all know how frustrating it is to get lost when driving in unfamiliar territory, so make sure you use signals and give clear direction. If you have a particularly large website with many pages, a good site search function could come in handy. Think about it, if you have an e-commerce site and someone can’t find the product they are looking for (in a timely manner) they will not purchase it and you’ve lost a sale to your competitors.
User experience goes hand in hand with good customer service and in one way or another. In all human business, there is a level of customer service that is expected and desired. Any time we interact with a person representing a business it alters the perception we have of that business. The same is true for your website. When people come to your website you want to ensure they feel at ease and can easily reach their goals; whether they are researching or purchasing. You want them to leave your site knowing that they can conveniently find what they are looking for using your site and a good perception of who you are as a business.