The experience your users have whilst navigating your website can determine whether or not they’ll purchase a product, enquire about a service or return to your website in the future. This means that having a technically sound website with a good content strategy in place may not be enough to reach your full online potential.
Human beings are all different so it is no wonder that each user will have a different perception of the functionality of your website. You may now be wondering, if there is no universal formula, how can I go about optimising my customer’s online experience? Well, in UX we have to go with Spock’s logic – “The needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few”.
At HeadRed, our UX experts have gained a wealth of experience backed by many years of trial and error practices. To help you drive your website to the next level we’ve put together a guide on best practices for UX and we’ve included a bonus you can’t miss at the end of this article.
Calls to Action
Calls to action are an essential element of any website. Without them, users wouldn’t have a clear path to conversion which is any business ultimate goal. Try implementing these three simple principles and don’t forget to answer the phone when all those calls start flooding in.
#1 You should always have a call to action above the fold. This could be a phone number that users can click on to call your business or a direction request if foot traffic is essential to your industry.
#2 Use descriptive CTAs that state exactly what the user should expect. This helps you avoid disappointment and move customers further along the sales channel. An example of this is the popular “More” button which could mean thousands of things. Instead, give your users a clear reason to click on that button with something less generic like “Our Services”.
#3 Don’t rush commitment, users that aren’t ready won’t click on your link if they believe it to be a final step. Rather than encouraging them to “Buy Now” leave the door open for them to change their minds with “Add to Cart”.
There are hundreds of businesses like yours online. What makes you different? Differentiate yourself from the competition by clearly stating your unique selling points at every step of the funnel. Whether you offer free delivery, a 10 year guarantee or a free sign up, shout about it, because it can be the final push your customer needs to convert.
This also applies to the text you use on your calls-to-action. Benefit oriented calls to action such as “Sign up for free delivery” will get significantly better results than just “Sign up”.
Answering frequently asked questions can also be a good way to provide value before your user feels comfortable moving forward. It can quickly resolve any concerns they might have and save you time to focus on your core business operations.
Some users might find it frustrating when they don’t have control over certain aspects of your website. Automatic carousels are a good example of this. If you choose to have one on your website adding a feature that the user can use to control it such as arrows or side scrolling will make a huge difference to their interaction.
Would you buy from a business you’ve never heard of that has no customer reviews and gives you no quality guarantee? We know we wouldn’t, especially if it involves a high value transaction. Social psychology tells us that humans unconsciously base their decisions on others. Furthermore, according to BrightLocal 2019 survey, 91% of 18-34-year-olds trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations, which seems as good a reason as any to add reviews to your core landing pages!
Showcasing reviews, case studies, and links to your social media accounts can help you increase your businesses credibility; serving potential customers curated proof of the quality of your products/services.
The menu is the skeleton of your website. If users find it hard to use or to search for what they are looking for they’ll give up as fast as they clicked on the search result. Map out where every page should go, establishing a clear hierarchy and organising pages by traffic volume/value to the user where applicable.
Having a user friendly menu can be trickier on mobile as you have less space to be creative but a few things that you can do are:
1# Consider a floater menu that sticks to the top of the page and is always accessible while you scroll down the page.
2# Show a consolidated menu that takes up less than one-fifth of the screen but presents the core pages to the user in an easily clickable way.
3# Include a search field if you have an e-commerce site with a large number of product pages; giving a quick route to specific products if your users look to be struggling.
For retail websites having functional, eye-catching product pages is key. A good starting point is applying all the principles you’ve learned so far to your product pages including individual product reviews, value propositions and descriptive calls to action.
Even so, the start of the page should be the product price which is why it is recommended that you display it above the fold. Furthermore, you can choose to add a sense of urgency to the buyer through limited stock and time warnings.
Good job. You’ve gotten your users all the way to the end of the funnel, now you just need to ensure that they are able to easily go through the final step. If your form is difficult to fill out or confusing be sure that a fair amount of users will give up before hitting the send button.
In order to ensure that this doesn’t happen and that your form is as user friendly as possible you can:
#1 Mark required fields with an asterisk so users immediately know to fill them in, rather than waiting until after they’ve tried to submit the form to flag as an error.
#2 Reduce the number of fields to make the process easier. For example, instead of asking for the first name and the last name ask for the full name.
#3 Typing on mobile can be hard which is why enabling autofill can be very useful and even save the user time.
Check Out Process
According to Baymard Institute 68.8% of users abandon their cart through their check out process and there are a number of reasons why…
Your first concern should be, is the checkout process secure? That is, can users safely give out their personal and card details without having them stolen? If you see a “Not Secure” warning right next to your domain name then you should expect your sales to be affected. This can be easily fixed with an SSL certificate.
If your checkout is already secure there are a couple of other things that can help you improve the user experience and avoid them giving up midway.
#1 Don’t redirect users into the checkout page right after they have added an item to the cart. Not only can this be found frustrating by a user who intended to add further items to the cart but also you’ll be discouraging users to keep browsing the website and buy more.
#2 Allow customers to check out as guests. As incredible as it sounds, 35% of users are known to abandon the checkout if it makes them create an account. One way to encourage them is to offer a benefit to creating an account following checkout, such as a “register and get 10% off your next purchase”.
#3 Users can get impatient when they don’t know how long it will take them to complete the checkout. A progress bar is a great idea in those cases as it tells users how far away they are from reaching the final step.
You’ve Got The Theory, We Can Put It Into Practice!
If you believe your website isn’t following these basic principles, why not let us have a look so we can tell you how to put the theory into practice?
At HeadRed, whenever we work or design a website, we strive to ensure that it adheres to the best user experience practices. However, we don’t just stop at great results, we are always looking to make them better. Data doesn’t lie and that’s why we believe A/B testing is the best way to secure continual UX improvement.
Get in touch with our team of experts and on 024 7630 3685 or drop us a message and we’ll help you on your journey to increasing your conversion rate.
As promised we’ve got an extra piece of valuable information that can get you started on the world of user experience. What if you could check out users’ interactions with your website to find out what is working for them and what isn’t? Well, we’ve got good news, you actually can! We’d recommend as you start to look at the user experience of your site that you try any of these visitor recording/heatmapping tools to gain first hand insight on how well your website is currently performing: Crazy Egg, Inspectlet & Hotjar.