Websites designed with user experience (UX) in mind have much better chances of establishing loyal users and improving conversion rates. In fact, the importance of connecting with users and building relationships often depends on a company’s UX design. Follow these nine rules to strengthen your site’s UX and see more traffic and higher conversions.
1. Involve Your Users
Users naturally gravitate to websites they like. To best determine what people want in a website, just ask them. When you involve your users in the design process, you organically create a better UX. Though intuition is often a useful tool in a design project, what is intuitive to a site designer might not be intuitive to your customer base. Reaching out to users will give you design ideas that you can count on.
How you choose to communicate depends on your customer demographic. Create a Twitter survey, start a Facebook quiz, initiate a survey after purchase, or ask Snapchat users for a snap of what they like/dislike. Not only will this help you develop insight into your users, but it could also boost your business’s social media presence. Find them where they are, get their advice, and offer an incentive for their help. A 10% coupon or first access to sales may be just the reward a guest needs to spend a few minutes explaining how you can improve your UX.
2. Consider the Cognitive Load
The UX will be poor if someone has a difficult time interpreting what you are asking them to do, so consider what is happening in your customer’s mind when you design UX. One way of approaching this is through science. Consider cognitive load, which is a psychological term that describes the amount of thought a particular task requires of its doer. One of the most significant types of cognitive load is intrinsic cognitive load, which refers to the difficulty with which a user completes a prompted step or instruction on a website or application. Knowing what to do next should come naturally. If users struggle to understand how to take the next step, you have lost them. Keep the instructions short and easy to interpret, but most of all, make sure they are intuitive.
Another type of cognitive load is Germane cognitive load, which focuses on processing information and constructing schemas. On websites and applications, there are often discernible design patterns that a user can recognise. The UX will be better if the user can recognise the schema of your website or application, as they will understand it faster than if you use an entirely new design pattern.
3. Keep Things Simple
No one wants to feel dumb when he or she approaches a site. If your users do, they will bounce. People tend to have little patience for situations they cannot understand, but that can be doubly true for technology – where their fuse may already be short. When designing for streamlined UX, it is essential to keep things simple. Overly complicated wording or overwhelming decorative touches will not do your site any favours.
People tend to make choices online fast, so give them the space to do that by offering clear options. Omit excess attributes and focus on the most crucial part of your website or application so they can make a quick and easy decision. Confusing UX can make users feel like they are the problem. When a consumer feels like the design is too smart for them to navigate, they will find a site where they feel more comfortable.
4. Be Consistent
Being consistent is one of the most important rules of designing an effective UX for your website. First, it will make your website clearer. If a user can get a feel for your style and not have to adjust their thinking, it will be easier for them to navigate. If they can quickly navigate your site, they are less likely to bounce. More than increasing UX, developing a clear style will strengthen your brand and make it easier for people to recognise and remember your organisation.
5. Design Intentionally
Though UX should feel familiar and intuitive, it should not seem dull. Insert some unique or creative elements into your website or application design to attract users and make them want to spend time on your site. Be intentional with your creativity; too many unique moments may make the site feel inconsistent and frustrating. Break with convention just enough to make your website memorable.
Additionally, be intentional with your site’s overall design style. There is an endless number of design conventions, but they are not all interchangeable. If you choose the wrong style, your website or application could be less appealing to users. Having a strong UX for your digital service relies partially on your overall style fitting your brand and pleasing users.
6. Focus on Function Over Aesthetics
Though it is essential to make your website or application visually appealing, it is more important that it functions well. Before investing large amounts of time making your website or application appealing to the eye, ensure that it functions quickly and easily across interfaces.
7. Know Where You Are in the Design Process
UX design is an extensive and complicated process. It often takes a long time to achieve the stellar UX that everyone strives for. Because the process is long and complicated, it is easy to get caught up in each small step and forget to look at the overall project.
If you are looking for feedback from users, it is especially important to have an idea of your overall position in the process. Feedback will be far less useful if you have extensive details about one small portion of the project and only a vague description of the overall goal. It also helps you determine which questions to ask when trying to get user feedback. Instead of asking questions about each step individually, ask questions that analyse the overall effectiveness of the design. Because each step is working to get your website to the end goal, information about how the design as a whole is functioning is the most important thing to get from users.
8. Personalize the Experience
People are exponentially more likely to connect to a website or application design if they can get a sense of the person behind the screen. Developing a connection with users strengthens their experience with your platform and leads them to build loyalty to your brand.
If your website or application looks like every other one online, it is likely that it will be quickly forgotten. Lifeless, impersonal designs do not appeal to potential clients or customers. If you can design your website so that the user imagines a group of people behind the site instead of a machine, you will attract more users and improve the UX on your website or application.
9. Leave Room for User Error
Design your digital experience so that it still functions when someone makes a mistake. Consider how some search engines autocorrect for spelling; if they did not, many people would not get far in their online searches. Designing empathetically may help you circumvent problems your user will make, but you cannot foresee all errors. When a box pops up telling the user there was an error, be sure to include instructions. Instead of merely saying “an internal error occurred”, say that an error occurred and provide directions for the user about how to fix it. If your website or application becomes unusable after a user error, you will end up turning away many people.
In an attempt to create the ultimate website or app, many designers leave out the most important part – those who will be using and engaging with it. Spend some time improving your UX design, and see more traffic, increased conversions, and lower bounce rates.
(Lead image: Depositphotos)
Want to learn more?
Want to get an industry-recognized Course Certificate in UX Design, Design Thinking, UI Design, or another related design topic?Online UX courses from the Interaction Design Foundation can provide you with industry-relevant skills to advance your UX career. For example, Design Thinking, Become a UX Designer from Scratch, Conducting Usability Testing or User Research – Methods and Best Practices are some of the most popular courses. Good luck on your learning journey!