A 6 point UX checklist
UX stands for user experience and it is supposed to be at the heart of everything a web designer or developer does with a client's website.
However, since improving UX design could increase your conversions by 400 per cent (according to a recent Forrester report), it is worth delving a little deeper into what good user experience looks like in practice.
Here are six questions you should ask yourself if you want to retain your hard-won visitors and turn more of them into customers.
1. Is your landing page tailored for your target customer?
We all have our own preferences about what we like to experience on the websites we visit, but website owners should always look at their own landing page through the eyes of their target customer.
Most importantly, is there anything that is likely to annoy them so much that they click away. Advertising is a common bugbear but if you have to have ads on your website, its best to at least avoid pop-ups.
Music (especially auto-play music) is also a risky addition. For a start, you don't know at what time of the day or night your visitors might be accessing your website nor how far their speakers are turned up! The same advice applies to sound effects.
When it comes to what your customer does want, you won't go far wrong if you provide relevant content 'above the fold', include a prominent search bar for customers looking for a deeper browse and a fast page load time.
If you are in any doubt, a design like Gousto is a safe bet for good UX. With big, relevant images; simple text; a clear, repeating call-to-action (CTA) and a handy search bar, Gousto's website provides an effortless experience for their target audience.
2. Is your website aesthetically pleasing?
While most people appreciate the same things in terms of a website's structure, aesthetics are a lot more personal (beauty is in the eye of the beholder, so they say).
Having said that, the knowledge you have about your typical customer should give you some guidance as to what they are likely to expect in a visual sense.
Some of the factors you should consider when answering this question include your colour scheme, the balance of images to text and the typography used. You should also strive for something unique to help you stand out in your niche.
3. How easy is it to move around your website?
Easy navigation is fundamental to a good user experience and modern Content Management Systems (CMS) have made it easier than ever to keep the navigation/menu bars on your webpages consistent.
Menus should be logically structured so that further pages appear where you would expect them to be.
You should also ensure that your visitors always know how to get back to the home page. It is now common practice for websites to use their logo as a home button, so you can probably dispense with a separate home icon on your menu bar.
The LEYF website here follows the advice above with a clear, ever-present top menu. This makes it clear exactly where to go whether you are a parent, a jobseeker or someone looking for a contact number or to catch up on some news. The LEYF logo acts as a home button.
4. Have you created a personal experience?
Personalisation is the key to turning a good user experience into a great one and nobody does this better than Amazon. For as long as you are signed in to your account, Amazon's home page becomes packed with personal references from recommendations based on your Wish List and browsing history to details about your gift card balance, recent orders and top categories.
Amazon make liberal use of the personal pronouns 'you' and 'your' in addition to the customer's name to make their website feel as if it were tailor-made for each customer.
You may not be able to recreate the Amazon experience for your customers but you could use your landing page to ask your visitor questions which then filters them to a more customised home page. For example, if you sell clothes you could ask them to click whether they are looking for adult mens, adult women's or children's clothes and create three separate home pages accordingly.
Microsites are another way to focus on one subset of a larger audience.
5. Is your user experience inclusive enough?
Your website may be perfectly set up to appeal to the majority of your visitors but have you considered the needs of people with disabilities? A common oversight is to exclude those with visual impairments, including the elderly, by using a tiny font size or colour combinations that are difficult to read.
Note that people with visual impairments may find light writing on a dark background problematic while certain colour combinations won't work for those who are colour-blind (e.g. green and red).
6. How does your website perform on a mobile device?
Finally, it is now critical that your website is optimised for mobile devices. Not only will you be penalised in the Google search results for not being mobile friendly, you will annoy your visitors to. According to a 2014 study by Animoto, 52 per cent of people would be less inclined to engage with you if their mobile UX was sub-standard.
Although all recent websites should be mobile-friendly, responsive design can create different effects depending on the underlying code. Ideally, you should opt for something similar to the IOA website. If you access this site via a mobile device you will see how the columns are carefully aligned to prioritise the most important information and CTA.
If you are struggling to get a positive answer out of the six questions above, we will be happy to talk you through our process. Perhaps Eyes Down could deliver your visitors the user experience they deserve.
Topic: User experience