Think about your best online shopping experience. Navigating the pages is fast and intuitive, the content loads quickly, and the products are a breeze to sort through. Not a single time does the website make you feel lost, overwhelmed, or confused. Quite the opposite. You find what you are looking for in a heartbeat and even discover some additional items that pique your interest. The experience is so effortless that before you know it, you are excitedly expecting an upcoming delivery. Thanks to its user-friendly website, the company has gained another happy customer.
User-friendly Experiences Facilitate Conversion
The business impact of great user experience is quite impressive. Not surprisingly, an easy and intuitive design is a key contributor to healthy conversion rates. It has been shown to increase conversion by 400% — double of what a beautifully-crafted interface can do. After all, why would you abandon a website that offers everything you need and is a joy to use? Just as the user-friendly website can help conversion, negative user experience can make people forgo your services. Research has shown that 21% of US online shoppers have abandoned an order for one, single reason. The checkout process was “too long or complicated.”
Intuitive Designs Improve SEO Ranking
In addition to playing a role in conversion, usability can also make or break your SEO ranking. Google has introduced algorithms to detect and analyze the experience of users as they interact with your website. Slow-loading pages and confusing navigation can move your site down the list of results, sending your customers to the competition.
How to Create a Better Customer Experience?
Luckily, there are proven techniques you can use to enhance the online experience of your customers. Listed below are six steps you can take towards creating a more user-friendly website.
Make it quick and effortless for users to achieve their goals
User-friendly designs begin with a thorough understanding of why customers visit your website and what they want to accomplish. Once you identify the main user goals, make sure the steps towards achieving those goals are easy, quick, and intuitive. Let’s look at an example. One of your major target groups is new website users that you want to convert into customers. Novices have minimal to no knowledge of what your company is about and what services you offer. Unfortunately, another thing they don’t have is much patience to search for this information for long. A 2015 study found that 46% of users would leave a website if they can’t tell what the company does.
Putting yourselves in the shoes of novices can help you prevent any confusion. How do you do this? Make sure your homepage contains clear, succinct information about what your website is offering. Then, place it in a prominent location that new users can easily see — usually the page header. Don’t forget to include a call-to-action button to point users to how they can get the benefit of your services. You might encourage them to visit your shop or contact you for a free consultation. This will ensure that new users don’t struggle to find information or wonder what to do on the website.
Make it easy for users to achieve your business goals
Some of your business goals align with what customers want to do when visiting your website. Others might not necessarily be one of their priorities. Get them to sign up for a newsletter or follow you on social media with some extra effort. Make the feature extra visible, easy-to-use, and enticing. For example, consider putting social media icons in the main menu at the top of the screen. If the links are buried in the footer, users might easily miss them while looking for your products. Similarly, surround your newsletter sign-up form with white space to attract attention. Add a one-line description explaining the value of signing up, so that customers have a reason to do so.
Make it easy for users to understand your content
When it comes to processing information, we humans have a very limited capacity. This is especially problematic when browsing the internet. It bombards our brains with large amounts of constantly-changing content that we need to process quickly. This is why text-heavy pages are very difficult for your customers to read through. How do they cope? They simply don’t read everything. Instead, they tend to scan the page and then, abandon it if they can’t find what they need quickly enough. According to one study this is what 79% of online shoppers actually do on a regular basis. To minimize the effort users spend processing your website, make sure you only show them the content they absolutely need. To facilitate scanning, break your message into its main points, and give each a large descriptive heading. Finally, emphasize key information throughout the body with color and size.
Increase engagement though a beautiful visual design
Although not sufficient on its own, an aesthetically-pleasing interface can improve the user experience. It also helps make the company appear more professional and trustworthy.
There are a number of things you can do to improve your website’s visual appeal even if you are not a design guru. Balance text content with large, high-quality images and include ample white space. This will make the content more engaging and help users process information more efficiently. Make sure your titles are consistent in color and size; and all your icons are in the same style.
Fortunately, making your design beautiful does not have to be painstaking. Many modern WordPress themes come with attractive designs that you can easily customize yourself. Make sure that whichever theme you choose is optimized for a view on a mobile screen. Research shows that many users prefer to use their phones when shopping online. If you need any help with customization, you can always get high-quality professional help from WordPress experts like Codeable.
Remove technical issues for a user-friendly experience
Technical issues like broken links on your website not only harm your SEO ranking but may annoy and confuse users. Checking links on your website manually is a long and tedious process. Luckily there are plenty of good tools that can assist you in this task. Broken Link Checker is a widely-used WordPress plugin that helps you monitor the links on any part of your website. Best of all, you can edit the broken links directly from the plugin without navigating to the respective post.
Get help with usability
There are many things you can do yourself to make your website more user-friendly. However, sometimes you might need the help of an expert. UX Designers specialize in creating intuitive and easy-to-use experiences that can increase your conversion rate and improve your SEO ranking.
A common technique we at DodoWeb employ in our process is the Usability Evaluation. As part of this evaluation, we go through your website to carefully test and examine it. We review aspects like the navigation, customer flows, content organization, and technical performance. Then, we compare them against evidence-based usability principles and best practices. To summarize the findings, we prepare a formal report. It lists each issue and pairs it with a design recommendation for how it could be addressed. From there, you can approve and prioritize the changes that you are interested in making and proceed to have them developed. This is usually quite easy and straightforward as our UX designers already work in a team with developers.
This was the end of our brief introduction to making your website more user-friendly. If you have any questions or remarks, don’t hesitate to leave a comment below or contact us!
Gabriela Kostova is a UX Designer and Front-End Developer at DodoWeb. She has a background in Cognitive Psychology, Information Design, and Usability.