There are several factors that go into making any web-based business successful, but these days, user experience is quickly climbing to the top of the list. According to B2C, 94% of a user’s first impressions are design-related and 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. This means that considering user experience not only helps your business, not doing so can harm it quite a bit.
There are also companies like Apple whose entire business model is based on user experience, and with their popularity in the market, their loyal customer base, and the fact that their historical stock profile is quite healthy even in volatile times, it’s clear that there’s something to this business model.
So what are some of the best ways for web-based companies, both small and large, to utilize this model to its best effect? First off, there are four pillars to achieving user experience when building your website: useful content, pleasant look and feel, easy navigation, and accessibility. Here are some ways to hack each of these areas to make your website as customer-friendly as possible.
Whether it’s accurate, concise, and somewhat catchy product descriptions, or a stellar blog that builds a loyal following of users in your target market, it’s crucial to make sure this area of your website is on-point.
Regurgitating what’s already been written elsewhere (or worse, straight hosting copied content from around the web, which violates copyright law,) does not make for a healthy website, and neither does only talking about your company and your products. The best hack for keeping a continuous flow of useful content is to follow the 80/20 rule in all aspects of content creation.
Generally speaking, only 20% of your content should be directly about your business or your products, and the other 80% should be generally useful to your target audience and engaging for your readers. You should spend only about 20% of your time creating content, and the other 80% promoting it. And when it comes to the time you do spend creating content, about 80% of it should be used carefully strategizing (and re-strategizing) quality, relative pieces, as the top two factors that contribute to successful content marketing are creating higher quality content more efficiently and continual development and adjustment of content strategy.
The last thing you want to consider is utilizing interactive content like polls and quizzes, contests, calculators, and interactive infographics or white papers to not only draw in users, but engage them and keep them on your site for longer.
Pleasant Look And Feel
When it comes to a visually appealing website, there’s so much more involved than just great graphics. Cutting edge web design, along with high quality visual content, eye-catching photography, and easy-to-scan infographics should definitely be on the docket, but keep in mind the benefits of simplicity. Whether you design your own website, use one of the top five website builders, or outsource it to a professional, these general UX rules should be followed.
If you look at examples of award-winning website typography, you’ll see both avant garde custom fonts and clean, simple block text. Both are not only acceptable, but preferable to have on your site, but it’s important to know where each fits. To hack the typography conundrum, keep brightly colored or hard-to-read custom texts in your logo and your page headers (this works especially well in text-over-image headers,) and make sure the rest of your text is easy to peruse and a bold-yet-neutral color that contrasts its background.
When it comes to the purported best looking websites, all sorts of phrases are thrown around: eye-catching imagery, bold colors, clean, flat, old-school. These all sound contradictory, and plenty of them are. This list proves that a really good looking website isn’t a one-size-fits-all notion, and different styles work for different brands. To hack this issue, pick a theme and stick to it. Users won’t get a lot of pleasure from moving from a bright-looking art deco homepage to a drab product section with mediocre photography and neutral tones.
Customers are highly likely to leave a site after a bad experience, and trouble finding what they’re after qualifies as a bad experience. There are so many hacks that will keep you kosher in this area, so bear with us.
First off is the three click rule: if possible, make sure that each individual page on your site is no more than three clicks away from the home page. When useful content or priority product pages are buried deep in a site with a tome of a url, it’s unlikely anyone will ever see them.
Second, make sure that your priority pages are easily visible and accessible from your home page. A homepage that beckons “click here to enter” or requires users to watch a video or advertisement before viewing the main site only gives them another hurdle to cross between them and what they are after. Your home page should also make it clear who you are and what you do, or in other words, be very consistent with building your brand. Also, surprise surprise, the first step to effective branding is to create better user experiences.
Next, keep descriptions of click-throughs as concise as possible, and make sure they are accurate. Clickbait that tricks users into ending up somewhere only to find the opposite of what they expect often makes them feel an instant sense of betrayal. Clickbait is an ineffective fad, and if it is a tactic you plan to use, you should only employ it in your content marketing efforts and not on your actual website.
It’s easy to assume that the simple act of designing and maintaining a website makes your business accessible to the entire world, but it’s important to consider that a large number of consumers are now accessing the web from a mobile device of some sort.
When you design your website (or hire someone else to,) make sure to pay careful attention to its mobile responsiveness. Utilizing responsive design has myriad benefits to both you and the consumer. An easy way to lose potential customers is to make your product or your website inaccessible to them, as they will likely lose patience and go elsewhere. When every aspect of your website is accessible to anyone, on any device, at any time, you carry much less risk of users bouncing to a competitor’s site.
Accessibility doesn’t just apply to what device a consumer is using: it applies to the consumer, as well. If you don’t take into account common disabilities like motor, hearing, and vision impairment, even colorblindness, it can render your website inaccessible to a large number of the population. Luckily, there are several simple ways to ensure that your website is disability-friendly, like proper utilization of alt tags, subtitles, transcripts, closed captions, color control, and more.
As you can see, it really is possible to take your business’s web presence to the next level by paying close attention to user experience. If you have any user experience hacks of your own, please share them in the comments.