You had enough!
Your site wasn’t bringing in any business and you decided to fix the problem, once and for all.
You did a detailed search for a company that could build a new website for your company. You committed the money and time to the project. You even took time out of your schedule to get personally involved with the project.
The project took 4 months to get done. That was 6 months ago and you’re not seeing any improvements in new business coming from this new site. Ugh!
What Is UX
Cheer up boopy, all may not be lost.
Your bright and shiny new website may look great but if the user’s experience with your new site isn’t good, that could easily be the reason that you’re not seeing the increases in business that you had hoped for.
The user experience (UX) of your website is more important than it ever has been in the past. UX impacts conversions, bounce rates, and even your SEO rankings.
This is going to be a little confusing, at first but stick with me. Your website’s UX and its user interface (UI) are 2 separate but interconnected things. UI is all about the interface, or the design, of your website. UX is the entire experience that the user has on your site.
Think about like this. The UI is like the dashboard of your car. It gives you all of the information that you need when you’re driving. The UX of your car is the experience that you have while driving. The seats, the dashboard, the steering wheel, these are all part of the experience.
Now you’re probably asking yourself why you should pay any more attention to this blog post. You’ve got a million things to do.
What if I told you focusing on the UX of your site would
- Increase your site visitors willingness to buy another product by 14.4%?
- 15.8% of users with a positive experience will be lease likely to switch to another company?
- Increased the likelihood of your visitors to recommend your products or services by 16.6%?
As you can see UX will impact your ability to realize add-on purchase, increase customer retention, and improve word-of-mouth recommendations from your customers.
Ok, now the question turns to how. How do you improve your UX.
Don Norman (UX expert) had this to say about how to improve the UX of a website. “The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother. Next, comes simplicity and elegance that produce products that are a joy to own, a joy to use.”
Know Your User
At the heart of UX is the user.
Because every user coming to your site is unique, you have to tailor your site in a way that they enjoy the experience.
On the surface, this may seem like an insurmountable task. However, if you consider the customers that you service now or the customers that you want to serve, you’ll find that there are specific types of people that fit into a smaller number of customer profiles. These smaller “segments” are who you want to cater to.
The UX Honeycomb
Peter Morville uses a honeycomb diagram to explain UX. His honeycomb has 7 key points for a successful UX plan.
Be useful. Is your website useful to the people that you’ve identified are people that you want to attract to your site?
Does the content on your site answer the questions that they came to your site to get answered?
Remember that at every stage of their buying process, your users have different questions. Make sure that you are providing answers to their questions during their entire buying process.
Is your site easy-to-use? This is where your UI (or design) will come into play.
Does your navigation labels make sense to your users or do they make more sense to you and your company?
Will your site’s visitors be able to completely understand where to go to get the information that they are looking for?
Are all of your links working? Here’s a really handy tool that you can use to test your entire site for broken links.
It’s important to recognize that the tasks that your visitors are trying to accomplish are wrapped in emotions. They like something or they don’t.
Are your site, your brand, and your products/services being presented in a method that the user will find them desirable?
This is at the heart of any website. If the users to your site can’t find what they are looking for, then you might as well just take your site down.
It’s difficult, but put yourself in the shoes of your user and then go through your site, as they would. Set up a couple different scenarios of how your users would use your site and then go through those scenarios like they would. Will you find what you’re looking for, easily?
Remember, not all of your users will have the same abilities. Could a visitor to your site, who has difficulty seeing, get the information that they are looking for?
Here are a number of different accessibility checkers. Just pick the one that you want to check your site for, enter your URL and the tools will give you the results.
This one is huge. Does your website represent your company in a manner that lets the user know that you are a credible business?
Do you have any badges or certification information about your business that will help your users realize that you know what you’re doing?
If your site visitors can’t come to the conclusion that your business is credible, quickly, they will leave.
Is your site providing value for your site’s visitors and your business? If you’re not getting more business from your site, then it’s probably not providing value to either you or your visitors.
Ok, I’ve just laid out a number of questions for you to think about in terms of your site’s UX. But, you’re probably wondering where you can get the answers to these questions.
Unfortunately, there is no easy answer to that. It’s actually more of a process that you develop on a continuous basis that improves your site based on feedback from your users.
Here’s some ideas for where to start getting the answers that you need.
- In-site Polls: Ask your visitors about their experience. Website polls are getting really popular right now and they can get implemented without a lot of development work. You can setup your polls to ask a couple of different questions about the visitor’s experience, or you can rotate a different question on different days. Ultimately, you’re going right to the source to find out what their experience was.
- Surveys: Send out periodic surveys to your current customers asking them how they use websites like yours. Question them about the type of information that they are looking for from sites, how frequently they visit a site with good information and ask them how they feel about the companies that provide the most information. You’ll probably find a very high level of loyalty to the companies that give away a lot of information.
- Hypothesis: Develop different theories about what might make an improvement in your UX and then test these different theories. There are a number of different tools that will help you to perform different A/B test on a page. This way you will find different elements that better engage your visitor before you go through the work of implementing a site-wide change.