Guidelines for a better Web User Experience
Although a user’s experience on a website is largely subjective, there are several things you can do to ensure that visitors return to your site.
A great user experience can result in increased customer loyalty, higher rates of conversion, and a decrease in abandon rates and customer service requests. It improves the quality of a user’s interactions with your products and services, and it enhances their perception of your organization. A good user experience will ensure that users find and recognize the value in what they are being offered and provided.
To ensure that visitors get the best experience possible, it’s necessary to understand their needs and values, and the abilities and limitations your site gives them as users. You can learn this by working closely with your clients to gain a better understanding of their business environment. When you understand your client’s business, you can come to know what type of users your website or app should cater to.
The design of your website is the most important factor to a user. A solid design incorporates the principles of human-computer interaction (HCI) and facilitates easy and intuitive user navigation by employing the web standard – your website or app should provide iconic representation of its facets and use white space efficiently for readability and a comfortable aesthetic.
The design should be responsive. In an era where new devices and operating systems seem to be released every day, a single site with multiple capabilities to function on desktops, tablets, mobile phones, and other web-accessible devices is sorely needed. The most popular framework for developing responsive websites is Bootstrap.
Interactivity is also key to a good user experience. For a user to feel engaged, your website or app should feature calls to action, search prompts, and easy navigation. Interactivity can be enhanced through audio or video media, hover states, scroll events, and sliding interfaces.
It’s also important to keep user clicks to a minimum. You should cut down on tasks or actions required by users to create a simplified and streamlined experience that lets them find the content they need without spending excess time clicking through other pages to get there.
Precision of information that you provide on your website is also very important. A web page should not be verbose. Think of each page as a paragraph in an essay, where each section contains information on a single topic. A web page can have a lot of information to share, but it must be the right information, and relevant to the page’s heading. Ask yourself: is the information usable? Is it desirable? Is it searchable? Can users access it? Does it come from a credible source? Does its location on your website make the most sense?
Your website should include search prompts and search filters so visitors can make use quick and easy search capabilities. Navigation of your site should be uniform so that users don’t get lost or have to navigate backwards to go forward. To enhance the user navigation experience, your web pages should have a quick load time. The faster a page loads, the better experience your visitors will have. This keeps them engaged and increases the user retention rate.
Employ graphics intelligently. Graphics slow a page’s load time, so they should only be used as and when required. The images should be informative and users should be able to grasp the purpose of the graphic immediately. Overusing graphics will clutter your page, while using them sparingly and in the right locations will draw users in.
Scrolling plays a large role in enhancing the user experience as well. The key information on a page should appear at the very top, while navigation graphics such as search bars should be scroll-locked to remain always in view.
Once your website or app is launched, it’s key to run a usability testing process with your representative users to generate a greater user-centric interactive design, so that your website and the users’ experience on it can be built upon and improved even after the framework is implemented.
At the end of the day, user experience is everything. Your business can have a world-class product with a website that showcases a consumer or industry need for it, but if the information is muddled and navigation is confusing, users simply won’t return.