When guests come to your home, you want to make a good first impression right? The same should hold for your website. Here is what you can do to turn around user experience for the better.
1. Improve navigation
The navigation/menu on your website serves two purposes;
- it helps the visitor find what they’re looking for
- it helps your search engine rankings
Your visitors should come first, search engines second. Be human. Use descriptive navigation instead of generic “What We Do” text. Use words that your visitors would use and words that your visitors are searching for. It’s fewer clicks for the user and helps search engines indicate your relevance.
Pro tip: Don’t use jargon or internal lingo. Companies try to be clever instead of being empathetic to their visitors. No one knows what “RTT Buzz” means. Is that your blog? Say “Blog” then.
2. Use white space
On more than one occasion I have heard clients complain that there was too much white space on their site and that this unused real estate ought to be used for advertising more of their services. However, white space is essential to good design. White space makes your content more legible while also enabling the visitor to focus on the elements surrounding the text.
According to Crazy Egg, white space around text and titles increases user attention by 20%. White space can also make your website feel open, fresh and modern and if your branding is consistent with these then it can help you communicate that feeling to the visitor. One downside of white space to keep in mind, however, is that it does indeed take up space.
If you’re trying to get a lot of content above the fold (above the part that is immediately visible without scrolling) having too much white space might be replacing some valuable information. The key is to find the balance between what is most important to communicate at the top and surround that with some space to highlight the image and/or text.
3. Try the 10-foot test
Ok, time for a little exercise. Pull up your home page. Now get up from your desk and take ten steps back from your computer. Can you tell what your company does at a glance? Better yet, have someone else try it. Can they?
If not, you need to tighten up your messaging. Be specific. Don’t try to be clever.
4. Optimize your page speed
One of the most frustrating experiences for visitors of the web is waiting for a page to load for too long. With the rise of mobile devices, people are accessing content all over the world on many different platforms. While browsing online at a cafe or while watching TV on their laptop, they expect a fast result for the content that they want.
When they don’t get it, they usually bounce. Slow page load is an interrupting experience for a visitor and it can be a source of frustration and often users simply don’t have the time to wait.
So, where do you go from here? Get your score. Google offers a free service where you can get information on your page speed. Google will also offer you some suggestions for improving your load time on Mobile and Desktop.
To improve your page speed, start by compressing all your images before loading them onto your website. Image file size is one of the leading causes of a slow page speed — using websites like compressor.io can help you dramatically speed up each webpage you own.
5. Use attractive calls to action
Your customers are already accustomed to following visual cues to determine which content is important to them. Calls to actions (CTAs) that are marked with an action word enable your website users to more easily navigate your site and get exactly what they want in the location they expect to find it.
In creating buttons for your website you should think about color and the psychology of color. Think about the message that you want to evoke for a user (trust, experience, intelligence) and choose your colors wisely.
A second thing to consider is the actual words you use for your buttons. The words should include a verb or an action word that excites the user to do something. Choosing the right words or psychological triggers is highly determined by the level of emotional identification that word prompts. No emotional connection means no action. So make your words bold, time-sensitive and action-oriented.
6. Use images wisely
People across the Internet are getting smarter and faster at judging company websites before deciding if they want to browse the site further. When they first visit your site, they can easily pick out a generic stock photo they’ve already seen elsewhere or that resembles the non-personal style of stock photography. Using stock photography can decrease trust and also stand out as generic and non-unique. Unfortunately, these associations carry over to your business as well.
Bottom line? While stock photography can be of high quality, it fails to create a connection between the user and the brand. Ultimately, no stock photography will be as capable of conveying your brand, services, and products the way that you want to. Only your actual images can do that while also speaking clearly to your potential customer. Use images strategically and place them on your website to support the content and allow the users a visual break from text, but make sure they are relevant and non-generic.
7. You MUST make it responsive & mobile-friendly
Having a mobile-friendly site used to be a “should have,” now it’s a “must-have.” On April 21st, Google updated their mobile search rankings algorithm. Mobile-friendly web pages will now rank higher in mobile search results versus non-mobile-friendly pages.
There’s a reason Google did this. They want the user to have a good experience when they land on your website. If you have a site that has tiny links and the site is hard to navigate, people are not going to want to stay on your site. You’ve done the pinch and zoom. It’s not very pleasant.
8. Keep your website pages consistent
Consistency means making everything match. Heading sizes, font choices, coloring, button styles, spacing, design elements, illustration styles, photo choices — you name it. Everything should be themed to make your design coherent between pages and on the same page.
To provide your users with a beautiful experience as they navigate through your site, they must know they are still on your website. Drastic design changes from one page to the other can lead your user to feel lost and confused and to lose trust in your site. “Am I in the right place?” It is a question I often find myself asking when navigating through inconsistent sites, and when I do, I usually end up leaving. Inconsistencies in design lower the quality of the products and services you’re providing, according to the user.