All of the sites that we built are optimized based on two primary principle – User Experience and Google Search Guidelines.
Why Is UX Important?
User Experience (UX) driven web design means that when building a site our focus is to always provide the best possible experience to the user. When someone first visits your new website they immediately have a choice to make – Is this site going to provide me with what I’m looking for or do I need to hit the back button? Typically this decision process will not last more than a couple of seconds. Only a couple of seconds for the user to see what your site is all about, understand how and where to navigate it and make a decision that they like your site (and therefore business) and would enjoy being your customer. Whoa.. there’s a lot that happens in the first few seconds. That said, ensure that they answer positively to all of those questions isn’t as hard as you think. The key is to focus on your user experience!
How To Provide an Awesome User Experience?
There are many methods to determine if a website has good UX or not. For simplicity’s sake, I will review user experience through a fairly tried and true paradigm. Usability.gov generally defines usability using the following terms: Useful, Usable, Desirable, Findable, Accessible, and Credible. I’ll use their same terminology to describe how we focus on user experience here at CreativeAK.
Throughout the build process, we will ask you customer-specific and industry-related questions. Your answers, along with some market analysis and competitor research will allow us to work with you to craft the right content to ensure that your potential customers are finding content that will keep them engaged and looking for more.
This one seems pretty straightforward, but it’s actually a very easy aspect to overlook. This topic asks – is the site easy to use? When a potential customer first lands on your website they should instantly understand how to use it. This means that navigation and site structure are easily recognized, make sense and are easy to use. One way to view this is to use the KISS (Keep It Simple Stupid) method. This is not to say that your site cannot be in-depth and complex, but it must also be very intuitive. This is the easiest quality of user experience to overlook. As a website is developed it is very easy to continuously add features and content to the homepage (for example). Lots of information is awesome, but if it overwhelms or confuses potential customers, they will inevitably hit that back button and leave your site in search of a clearer solution to their problem.
Websites should be beautiful. In the past, there were reasons to place functionality over form, but with modern css3 styling and our ability to integrate imagery into a site, there is no excuse for a site not to prioritize both ascetics and function. Is a potential customer enters your site and sees a messy clash of colors and imagery they will not stick around. What emotion do you want your site to evoke in an individual? Will that evoked emotion help or hurt your website’s ability to convert potential customers? We always focus on developing a clean, minimal design with beautiful imagery.
Can the site be found and once a user visits the website can they find what they are looking for? If the answer is no to question number 1 then the user experience is non-existent. If the answer to question 2 is no, then they might as well not have found it in the first place. Confusion and questions are your enemies when it comes to positive user experience. You may have a product that is exactly what a potential customer is looking for, but if they cannot find it then they will never purchase it. User experience is about giving the customer what they need when they need it.
This is fairly straight forward from a technical aspect, but it is still amazing how often it is overlooked. We must build the web so that it is accessible to those with and without disabilities. Think of the user experience of a potential customer who is hearing impaired clicking on a website on which their screen readers does not work. It would be the same a person who is not impaired clicking a link and arriving on a blank page. Obviously a poor user experience. Here are a couple of interesting stats on web accessibility:
- The increase in mobile screen reader usage continues to astound. Only 12% reported using a mobile screen reader in January 2009 compared to 82% just five years later. (https://webaim.org/projects/screenreadersurvey5/)
- 3%-4% of people in the US, UK, and Canada can’t see well enough to read (sources: census.gov, Statistics Canada, UK ONS) Incidence increases with age, with more than 10% of over-70s affected. (https://www.powermapper.com/blog/website-accessibility-disability-statistics/)
(Video by W3C Web Accessibility Initiative (WAI) – Published on Aug 23, 2016)
This can be a difficult attribute to instill in a potential customer within the first few seconds of them entering your website. That being said, it is one of the most important. Credibility is the most powerful marketing tool in your toolset and should always be your focus. Not only will people never purchase from you if they do not trust you, but Google will not rank your website well if it does not trust you or your business. But don’t worry, there are plenty of methods to help you demonstrate that you are trustworthy to potential customers. These include, for example, placing testimonials on your website and staying away from verbiage or content that they may find offensive. In many cases, a business’s credibility is influenced well before a potential customer even enters their website. These off-site influences may include other online review sites (Google Maps, Yelp, Facebook Reviews) or in-person word of mouth by friends.
Bringing It All Together To Implement A Positive User Experience
As stated earlier, there are many ways to review UX and even more ways to implement a UX focused website. The important take away about user experience is that we must attempt to view a website objectively from the eyes of a potential customer. Put yourself in their shoes. Would you stay on a site that takes 10 seconds to load? What if are looking to purchase something on a website, but you cannot find what you are looking for, how long would you continue to look before clicking away? Change the focus of what you want to get across on a site to what the user needs to see in order to take that next step of purchasing your product or service. Once you start seeing through their eyes you have taken the first step toward UX driven web design. This is our focus in every website we build.