We have come a long way since the dawn of the internet and websites have evolved considerably over the last couple of decades. Now, websites have become very important marketing tools, and just about every business worth its salt spends adequate resources to get this aspect right. However, simply having a good-looking website is no longer enough, because you need to focus on the user experience (UX) it delivers. Once you know the importance of user experience in the digital world, you may implement suitable measures to get your website on the right track.
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What Is User Experience?
In simple terms, user experience in the online world refers to how consumers feel when they interact with digital offerings, be it a website, an app, or even a game. While web designers and developers have the know-how to control some aspects, others are environmental, and a few depend solely on user preferences. Aspects that have a bearing on user experience include, but do not limit to:
- Human Interaction
The reason why UX is important for business is that it takes into account different aspects of how a consumer interacts with your website. These include perception, behavior, actions, and satisfaction.
Why User Experience is Important in Website Usability?
You should not confuse user experience with website usability. While usability plays a crucial role in UX, it is a field concerned with the effectiveness and user-friendliness of web design. User experience, on the other hand, touches upon connections, emotions, experiences, and even intuition that consumers feel when interacting with a product, a service, or a website.
User Experience Beyond the Digital World
Improving user experience does not have to limit to websites and digital offerings. It is possible to use the process successfully to benefit just about any business. In essence, user experience touches upon these facets:
- The product or service you wish to sell.
- Who is your consumer?
- Why should a consumer use your offering?
- How will a consumer use your offering?
- When might a consumer use your offering?
- Where might a consumer be most likely to use your offering?
Importance of User Experience in Web Design
If you’re wondering why user experience matters when it comes to creating a good website or mobile app, or why user is experience important, consider these statistics collated by Baymard Institute.
- 40% of visitors will leave a website if its loading time exceeds three seconds.
- More than 30% of consumers will abandon a brand they like after a single bad experience.
- 90% of people stop using mobile apps that perform poorly.
- 88% of consumers are less likely to return to websites that deliver poor user experiences.
The importance of UX for people who access websites using mobile devices is clear too. One study suggests that the biggest pain point for mobile shoppers is when they have to enlarge the content to click on a button or a link. Other drawbacks the report mentions include slow loading times, poor product discoverability, very small text, and the absence of smart searches.
Making the Case for User Experience
There is no denying the importance of UX in web design, given the number of benefits the process has to offer. Bear in mind that the most important purpose of a website with a good user experience is to reach out to and engage its target audience in the most effective manner. Paying attention to improving user experience can help you in these aspects.
Determining Your Goals
Discovery is an integral part of improving user experience. This is why a good web design agency takes time to interview the main stakeholders and get all the valuable insight it can about the project. This stage might include interacting with heads of various departments such as sales, marketing, and operations. Getting different perspectives gives UX designers more to go with, and they work in formulating plans accordingly.
Goals might differ when it comes to different departments, although they may overlap as well. Then, the goals tend to have a direct relation with the website’s structure, the content that goes on it, as well as the target audience.
Understanding Your Target Audience
After you know what your goals are, you get to focus your efforts on your target audience. This involves carrying out research and creating personas. Creating multiple personas with different personalities, traits, needs, and backgrounds gives you the ability to break your target audience down into segments. Then, you need to determine the steps to take so they receive the best possible user experience. Next, your website generates high levels of user engagement, converting leads into sales.
Providing Relevant Content
When people visit your website and don’t find the information they seek, they are bound to look for it elsewhere. Once you know your goal and understand your target audience, determining what people want from you becomes considerably simple. This gives you an easy way to provide content that is relevant as well as useful.
Providing content through a website requires that you address two important aspects – tone and voice. Do you want to appear professional? Is your website more fun-oriented? Do you want your readers to look at you as an authority figure in the field? How you put your content across has a direct impact on your branding, and, as a result, on people’s experience with your brand.
In a world where attention spans are on the decline, it is important to provide content in as engaging a manner as possible. Your aim should be to grab people’s attention, engage them quickly, and give them the information they are looking for in the format they desire. After all, content marketing no longer limits to text, and includes pictures, infographics, audio, and videos.
Enhancing Site Usability
Your website should be easy to use and navigate; failing which users will probably leave in quick time. When web designers focus on proving really good UX, they make sure the information people are looking for is easy to find. They provide options that aid users’ decision-making when they have to take any kind of action. However, given the importance of user experience in web design and the complexities involved in organizing content and data, it is best to leave the process to a proficient UX designer.
Attracting International Audiences
Another benefit of focusing on user experience is that you get to target a much wider audience. If you feel your offerings might attract a global audience, a multilingual website may work rather well in enhancing user experience. The result would be reduced bounce rates and increased conversions.
This benefit even holds true if you provide services to a specific area. Consider this – you provide carpet cleaning services in New York City. Someone who lives in the UK and has a home in New York finds your website online and decides to use your services. With the internet shrinking the world as we know it, there is no telling just where prospective customers might be.
Making a Mark
Several businesses across sectors still depend on websites that score poorly when it comes to user experience. By taking charge and giving your target audience the experiences they are looking for, you get the ability to move past your competition. For instance, a common problem with eCommerce websites that you can do away with is having users zoom in or double-click on products to view images.
Saving and Making Money
If you are wondering about the monetary aspect of improving user experience, it actually works in your favor. When done in the right way, your efforts can have a long-term positive effect. Then, instead of moving from one expensive design to the next, you may focus on making ongoing improvements by learning from your website’s performance.
By providing your target audience with a really good UX along with the products, services, or information you have to offer, you increase the likelihood of turning them into paying customers. With existing customers, your efforts may lead to retaining them, and you can also use them as brand influencers.
Creating a Website That Delivers Great User Experience
Now that you know why UX matters, it might be worth your while to understand how to deliver a great user experience. Fortunately, the process is not as hard as one might imagine, with a little planning going a long way. Start by understanding that delivering a good user experience is not just about how your website looks. For instance, the visuals of your website need to follow some type of hierarchy, and there are other types of website experience elements that need your attention as well.
Follow a Structure
Try not to branch out too much and stick to your core area of expertise. Do not experiment with your website’s layout often. When posting content on your blog, make sure it is easy to understand, with minimal use of jargon. Content that is outdated or irrelevant often ends up annoying people, even loyal customers.
Think Mobile Responsive
An increasing number of people are turning to their mobile devices to shop, look for information, and access different social media platforms. According to Google, negative user experiences on mobile devices can reduce the possibility of someone making a purchase by over 60%. When you have a responsive website, the device used to view it automatically adjusts how it is displayed, making for a good user experience.
Carry out user surveys to get insight into what your target audience feels might work as the most effective design. Since user experience is largely subjective, interacting with and studying your target demographic can give you valuable information. Asking simple questions such as how they feel when they use your website, what makes them decide when making a purchase, aspects they find confusing, and the kind of language that appeals to them can give you a pool of constructive feedback.
Use Personas Effectively
After you develop one or more personas, you have some understanding of your website’s target audience. Creating a persona requires that you delve into all kinds of customer data you have along with your website’s analytics. Conducting interviews with existing and prospective customers is always a good idea. The personas you create can then replicate traits that are similar to those of your target audience.
When creating a persona, pay attention to common traits that include demographics, personality, motivations, as well as any other information that might offer insight into your customers’ behaviors. Developing personas does not happen overnight and you have to remain persistent in your efforts. Besides, they may evolve over time.
Use Tools to Observe User Experience
Once you understand the importance of UX, you may use tools such as Hotjar and FullStory to observe and analyze user experience on your website. These resources give you the ability to monitor and assess user activity on regular and mobile websites alike. They give you insight into aspects such as the pages users visit, how much time they spend on any given page, the videos they watch, and how they navigate through the website until they perform the desired action (purchase a product, subscribe to a newsletter, submit a form, or make a donation).
There is no disputing the importance of user experience in web design, given that people now get online in various scenarios. For instance, they might turn to the internet to make a purchase, to check reviews of products or services they would rather buy through brick-and-mortar establishments, or simply to look for some information.
No matter what the scenario, if people are not happy with their user experience, they are bound to look for alternatives. On the other hand, if they have a favorable experience, the likelihood of their becoming or remaining your customers increases manifold. Fortunately, working with a good web design company ensures that your target audience is not left wanting for a better user experience.