The 6 Key Areas of Website User Experience

iPhone screen zoomed in on Mail app

You’ve got your website, yay! You’re all set now, right?

Uh, not quite. A website is no longer a static page on the internet. It builds and grows with your company, and develops with your users. You need your online presence to be a seamless user experience and an easy way for people to find out everything they need to know about you; essentially a rabbit hole of information for them to fall into.

The user experience (UX) is how easy your website is to navigate. Ever been in a situation where you couldn’t close that god damn popup, or click that button? Yeah, that’s poor user experience and we have all been there.

Understanding UX allows for a measurable response from your audience – are they returning to your site, spending a good amount of time on the pages and are they sharing the content? Search engines, like Google, use this data as a way to judge if you have a high-quality site – fast page speeds and an above average time spent on your pages is a good indicator of great UX. UX helps you to understand what aspects of your website could improve and often when UX is done well, you won’t even notice it in play. Having a good idea as to what your user expects from your website sets the foundations for conversions, and improved rankings – both of which affect your bottom line. A user experience audit can determine which areas of your website cause friction for your users and what elements are successfully completing goals. Below you can read the 6 key areas of UX to consider.

1. Homepage

Many business owners make the mistake of thinking their homepage has to be everything to everyone.

Your homepage should appeal to a variety of users but doesn’t need to detail every scenario that could ever possibly happen – this isn’t doomsday.

The homepage of a website should clearly, and quickly, explain who the organisation is. While pushing users to a clear call to action (CTA) or path for them to find the additional information they want/need from your website. Less is more to achieve this goal. Focusing on fewer things makes it easier for your user to make the decision of what they should do next. Utilising whitespace and hierarchy of text in your design clearly defines the important aspects of the page and pushes the user to landing pages where – if optimised – conversion will take place.

Your homepage should:

Remember, more often than not, you actually don’t want people to land on your homepage, you want them to land on a product or service page so a) they don’t have to dig around for it and b) they are in the correct place to make a quick conversion. Impulse purchasing can be used to your advantage when you are dealing with low ticket price items.

2. Page Purpose

Every page on your website has a purpose. That purpose encompasses everything on that page. For instance, the purpose of a landing page could be an email signup, so the main objective is having people submit their information. A services page purpose could be for people to get more information through the sub-services pages. Good UX creates a main objective or path. Like the homepage, you don’t want to overwhelm or confuse the user.

To assess your pages, we recommend starting with the main pages. Are the images, colours, and text clearly laid out to encourage users towards the desired action? Are there obstacles to them getting to the goal? As you answer and clear up issues on your main pages, continue to dive through the rest of your website.

3. Page Layout and Visual Consistency

The visual makes a difference to how your site is perceived. Authoritative websites follow their brand guidelines and consistently use the same colour palettes, typography, and imagery. Consistency reinforces the identity of your organisation, develops trust and builds familiarity.

Using the visual identity of your organisation, the design of your web pages should highlight the main objective of the page and compliment rather than distract from the purpose. White space around your headers and CTAs is an easy way to draw the eye to those areas. There are often two types of people, those that are afraid of white space when designing a website or those that want to keep is so minimal you’ll wonder what to do next. As in life, it’s all about balance and white space is a tool – it directs your customers to focus on particular content and carries them through the journey, hopefully through to conversion.

To evaluate your page’s visual experience, ask:

The halo effect, often used in web design, is people’s cognitive bias to transfer positive, or negative, experiences/thoughts of one attribute to another attribute. People have a tendency to do this with everything. For instance, if you land on a website and the navigation doesn’t load properly, your cognitive bias will judge the rest of your experience as a bad one, even though this might not be true. This phenomenon of the human condition also works in the opposite way and is why first impressions really do count.

Differentiate Hyperlinks

Links are often overlooked in the digital world – and in UX. Links are the basis of interaction on the internet and how those pesky little SEO bots crawl your website.

Users expect a clear differentiation from hyperlinks and other text. Having hyperlinks in a different colour or underlined helps denote they are clickable sources of content. There are many ways you can style and design your hyperlinks, and testing can determine the best design for your site.

As well as the colour of the link, the length is another important consideration. You want the text to be easy to click. Have you ever been on a mobile phone trying to click something on a website but haven’t been able to tap the tiny word? It’s frustrating. Linking longer part of sentences is a better practice.

4. Navigation

You want the navigation of your site to make sense to people. They should understand how the pages are connected, how they ended up on the page they are on and how to navigate to the next part of their journey. A good navigation should be very intuitive, so also be careful how you name pages, people love familiarity so if it’s a blog, call it blog not “wonderful witterings”.

Navigation includes the primary header navigation as well as the internal linking practices. Can people easily get to pages with additional information or related content? Remember the style of your links, we spoke about this about 4 sentences ago, so go ahead and refresh your memory.

When assessing your main navigation, review:

Get Rid of 404 Errors

404 errors occur when a user clicks on a broken link (a page not found). These errors are frustrating for users because now they have to hunt for the information they wanted from that link. And in all honesty, most times people won’t hunt. They’ll move on to another source where they can easily access the information.

You can check your website for 404 errors with free tools.

5. Website Design

When evaluating your page purposes, layout and navigation for your UX, remember: people like familiar.

Don’t reinvent the wheel with your web design.

You want your website to be intuitive for your users. An intuitive design is a familiar design, familiar is trustworthy. Your page layout, navigation, and website flow should follow the normal cues people are used to. This doesn’t mean your website should look the same as every other organisation, but ensure that your core elements follow familiar patterns.

This blog post shares 15 website designs with excellent UX. 

6. Credibility

Trust is fundamental in any relationship (take note Steve). Your website is building a relationship with your users. Certain items create inherent credibility and trust. Users may not notice these factors when they are there, but they will notice if they are missing. Think about when you are buying something online. Once you enter the checkout process, you expect the website to have a secure SSL certificate. As you enter your credit card information, information about the security of the site and how your information is processed should be available. If this information is missing from the transaction, it can throw you off.

Credibility comes in different forms depending on your industry and the purpose of your website. But to have a standard user experience, your;

Another way for new businesses to establish credibility is by borrowing it. Trust seals/logos lend the credibility of those organisations. The Norton Secured, PayPal verified, Trip Advisor recommendations and BBB Accreditation are all examples of trust seals you can display – but obviously only use seals that are relevant to your site.

Continuing UX

UX plays a major role in the success of your website. Bad UX can lead to high bounce rates, low traffic and lack of conversions. Good UX allows users to navigate your website.Good UX is an intuitive experience. Your user should never have to think about what they are doing on your site.

The UX experience is not something you can set and forget. As your company grows and changes, and as your consumers and technology changes, your UX should shift with them.

Let’s recap the 6 important things to look out for when assessing your website user experience:

Naturally, there are more than 6 things to consider when you are checking your user experience, and as a good rule of thumb you should always know your customer’s purchasing habits and align your user experience with that – not the other way round. Just because you love hot pink, flashing CTA’s, doesn’t mean Joan will appreciate that when she is trying to purchase her moustache dye.

Penny for our thoughts

Personalising your content: Try Podcasting!

Read more

How To Start A Business with No Money

Read more

Communicating To A Millennial Target Audience

Read more

Targeting and Understanding the Millennials

Read more

Did We Forget An Entire Audience? The Zillennials

Read more

What We Need From Clients Before Commencing a Website Design

Read more

Everything You Need To Know About TikTok

Read more

How to Use Email Automation [Guest Post] – Elisa Abbott

Read more