User experience (UX) plays an important role when building or maintaining a great website. It determines if a website user will stay that extra few minutes on your site to perform some kind of action, or leave within a few crucial seconds. You must realize that most customers use technology to get stuff done. Websites that are slow or that have a confusing interface will cause a customers’ time on a site to get cut short. In this day and age, there is absolute zero tolerance for poor user experience. There are a few things one must do when reviewing their site based on the user experience:
- Run a usability test – Try to step back and put yourself in your customer’s shoes. Think about how they would navigate through your page. If this is too difficult, ask someone who is not a web designer to give it a go. Find someone to act as a user on your site and give them a few tasks and see how well/easy they perform them. How a user views your site design is a definite indicator of how credible they think you are.
- Run a cognitive walkthrough – A cognitive walkthrough is a form of expert evaluation where you step through the actions a user must take to complete a task with your system. First you must identify the user’s key tasks and then perform each one thoroughly. This process helps you find bloopers with your system and identify problems with your interface.
- Define a UX objective – Think about the specific kind of experience you want your user’s to have, then define and measure that experience. Do you want a user to buy a product? Sign up for a newsletter? Book an appointment? This will allow you to identify the steps the user takes to reach your primary objective. You can then begin to establish if these steps can be simplified or made more prominent on your site.
- Don’t ignore mobile – As we mentioned in one of our previous blogs, many marketers still have not launched mobile optimized websites or landing pages as part of their marketing strategy, which must change. To start to improve your mobile-optimized site, you must identify the top four or five tasks that people want to carry out with your interface – whether it be finding contact information, viewing your work or products, accessing your social channels, searching your location – then ask yourself how easy and accessible it is for a user to perform these tasks. Don’t forget to test other browsers as well, such as iPad’s and other devices.
- Use your metrics – Your metrics tell you about how consumers are using your website, so utilize this important information to make improvements. Pay attention to search terms that users are typing in to find you and what pages they are exiting from. Study your metrics to learn more about your user behavior, and mend your site accordingly.
- Use online resources – There are plenty of web articles, reports, seminars, and free online tools such as UX testing tools, UX measuring tools, online usability testing tools, etc. Get out there and use those free resources to improve your website’s overall user experience.
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