Wondering how to beat web competition? Start with improving your website UX.
Does your website do a good job to engage and retain your customers? Do you know what are the key elements to ensure a good user experience (UX)? And do you even know what makes a web UX to stand out, impress and in return, serve its main goal – to support your business objectives?
If you are new to web UX design, let me walk you through the basics of what makes UX good, some things to consider and typical mistakes to avoid.
1. Good layout drives your UX
Web layout is a composition of your text, images and other graphic and functional elements on your webpage. A good layout presents your information in a clear, logical and structured way to help your customers get what they need in the most effective way. In other words, this is part of your UX. A great layout is our end result but the question is what makes it great and what you need to consider to get there.
Let’s examine some key components that deliver a good and effective layout. Think about it as UX puzzle composed of a variety of interconnected elements.
This is a structured and logical arrangement (your road map) of content blocks based on understanding your customers’ needs and online behavior patterns. Information architecture (IA) sets up hierarchical rules and visual structure for your content. In other words, a good IA helps implement your content strategy effectively.
Content strategy is interconnected with your IA but it establishes rules to distribute your content and key messaging in a consistent and effective way through your website, This is where you decide how your brand voice should sound. You might ask how does it fit to UX?
Think about the website as an extension of you and your brand. Your chosen tone and voice, vocabulary and style make impression and create a personal connection between your brand and a customer – another puzzle of your UX. In addition, you might want to consider other elements to support your content strategy.
The following are a few of them:
- Strong headlines to get your key messages across. Remember, people do not read online – they skim.
- Effective usage of bullet points vs long sentences
- Breaking your content into smaller chunks that are easy to process, make your customers’ journey easy.
- Calls to actions (my personal favourite). Lead and influence your customers in making choices or decisions but do not scream at them using “BUY NOW!”. This is definitely not a good UX and it sounds really cheap.
- Picking quality visual content to support your messaging. My rule of thumb – do it right or do not do it at all. Wrong messaging can do more harm than good.
White or breathing space
Web designers call it “negative space” or the empty area between design elements. Applying the white space concept to your web design is the fundamental element. First, it creates a visual balance on your page helping a customer easily interact with your content, keep reading, and wanting to stay on your website. Second, white space is not wasted web real estate, as one may think, it is effective usage of the space without breaking basic design rules. And third, “Less is More” concept can be easily applied in this case.
Simplicity, clarity and visual balance increase readability level, retention rate and deliver a truly good web UX.
2. Responsive design. What’s new.
Responsive web design is when your website is easily accessible on different devices including a desktop, a tablet or a phone. It ensures that your layout, images, grids and content function well on any possible IT gadget.
Responsive design has been relevant for more than 10 years and became very important and popular when users started accessing internet from mobile devices. Today, responsive web design function is a Must, considering that mobile devices keep dominating total time spent online. According to Smart Insights, in Canada only, a share of mobile minutes accounts for 60% of total digital minutes.
Evolution of the responsive design continues taking into consideration a variety of devices being introduced every year and new emerging trends. You should not know all technical details but you should be able to ask right questions. If you are not sure whether your current website is responsive or not, give it a try and use this free tool. (link)
3. Have a really good landing page
Landing or home page is your first impression, your opportunity to get your customers hooked. You do not want them to leave to your competitors. Imagine the opposite. Every unique visitor landing on your home page wants to continue interaction on your website, learn more, ask questions and, finally, buy your service or product In sales lingo, it converts your leads into buyers. This is what a good landing page should do.
A recipe for a good and effective landing page is to consider all ingredients that I have covered earlier including a good layout, targeted messaging, strong headlines, visual support, interactive and responsive design. When all elements talk to each other than the magic happens – your homepage makes a “Wow” moment. One thing to remember, it is not only about homepage. Make sure to maintain quality and consistency in your interaction with customers across all website pages.
4. Share your expertise. It pays off.
Another important aspect of a good UX that builds trust and long term relationship is sharing your knowledge as an industry expert. Remember, “sharing is caring”. It can be blog posts, FAQ, video content, etc. By educating your customers about the industry, trends and best practices, you allow them to see you not only as a service provider but also as a trusted resource. If you know your customers’ needs and pressure points, capture their attention by offering good answers on your own website.
In addition, a targeted and relevant content on your website ensures better visibility on Google or Bing and is good for the search engine optimization (SEO). It means that your website will be more visible for your prospects through organic or “free” search.
And last but not least, enhancing web UX is a process and can be implemented differently depending on your business objectives, web presence strategy and overall readiness to embrace digital changes.
Interested to assess your web UX? Let’s have a conversation.