On an average day most of us suffer from the dredge that are appalling and unuser friendly websites. But what is it that makes these websites so bad? Well, it’s because they’re suffering from a complete lack of “UX”. Err, what? In other words the design of the site is not providing a great – or even at least a good – user experience for the intended audience. Now, before I go any further, let’s first clarify what “user experience” is.
For all you English grammar buffs out there you’ll notice that user experience is in fact a noun. However, my intentions today are not to educate you on the Queen’s English or test your English grammar knowledge. Instead I aim to provide you with some quick tips on how to improve your websites user experience. And by “you” I mean those of you who are somewhat in agreement with the above example sentence…
“if a website degrades the user experience too much, people will simply stay away.”
I really couldn’t have put it better myself. So, let’s begin.
1. Correct spelling & grammar
A website’s content is often overlooked when referring to user experience as we tend to focus on design and navigation elements. However, poorly written website content with spelling and grammar mistakes looks bad – extremely bad – as it can undermine your website’s credibility. But how do you make sure your content is perfectly written? Well, there are a number of ways.
If you have the time, and feel confident on your own, then review your website content and correct any major mistakes. You could also invest in a professional copywriter too – if there’s a budget available. However, I would suggest using Grammarly, an automated proofreading tool that detects spelling and grammar issues and provides advice on how to fix them.
2. Fix broken links
Don’t you just hate it when you click on a link and either the page doesn’t load or you get the “404” error message – “Page Not Found”? If you hate it then surely your website audience hates it too, meaning their user experience is ruined… again.
My advice would be to check your website for broken links and fix them ASAP! But, wait a minute I bet you’re thinking – “I have 100s of pages on my site! Do you know how much time it will take me to check them all?” Hmm. If only there was a way that you could quickly check for broken links on your website…
Well, good news folks! There is. In a world where we pretty much have an App for everything, we also have online tools that can check your website for broken links. I recommend using DrLinkCheck that will check your website pages (up to 1000 pages) and inform you of any broken links.
3. Improve your web page-loading time
I like to think I’m quite a patient person, until I have to wait more than 5 seconds for a website to load. One of the main issues that causes a website to load slowly are images. If your site is stuffed with too many “large” image files – as in image files that haven’t been appropriately resized for the web – then it drags on the page-loading speed and thus makes for an unpleasant user experience.
If you feel your website is loading slowly then I suggest checking your images and follow some of the best practices on how to correctly resize or “handle” web images. However, image size isn’t the only issue for causing slow page-loading times. Use Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool to analyse your website and generate suggestions on how to make your pages load faster.
4. Make your website mobile
It’s been said thousands of times, but I’m quite happy to keep on saying it – 80% of all Internet users go online using some form of mobile device. Even right now are you using a tablet or smartphone to read this? Regardless, our website is designed for desktop and mobile devices so there’s no need to go through the hassle of “pinching and zooming” in order to read the content. You can just simply scroll through the content and easily click on the menu tabs and links.
If you don’t have a mobile website or your site is not optimized for mobile devices, then I suggest you make this a priority NOW! From a user experience perspective if they have to spend time zooming in and out of your website content and they find it difficult to click on a link or one of your main menu tabs, then you’ll p*** them off royally.
5. Know your audience
No matter what anyone tells you, you’re not designing your website for everyone. You’re a business with a target audience in mind, so it’s about creating a site that sells your products and/or services to THAT audience. But how do you define your audience? Unfortunately there is no quick remedy for this.
Defining your audience involves researching your user groups and creating buyer personas that represents them. For those of you that have already done this then firstly “hi-5” for doing it, and secondly you’ll know that it does take some time to gather the information. However, for those of you that haven’t already invested the resources into researching your audience, I don’t want “we haven’t the time” to be an excuse for not doing this.
If the time commitment is there, and you can channel your energy into performing this research, then the end results will be great. You will have the ammunition you need to create a website that really improves the user experience.
There are many ways on how to improve your website in order to give the best possible user experience. I have listed what I consider my “top 5”, and if you only decide to implement a couple of them, then you’re at least on the right path to giving your audience the user experience they deserve.
Now, I’d like to open the floor to you – what are your tips and advice for providing a great user experience? Let me know by leaving your comments below!