UX stands for “User-Experience”
It is the overall experience a person has when they visit your site. Is it easy to use? Does it look good? Your page should be fun to interact with and offer valuable information that is easy to understand.
The principles of UX can be applied to practically everything from Apps and Websites to a milk carton, the item or product has been designed to interact with the user in a specific way.
UX for the web
For this post we will be focusing on how to improve the User-Experience for a website and exploring different aspects of web design that makes the overall experience more enjoyable.
Eye tracking – where are they looking?
This study by Eyetrack III found that users attention was initially fixated around the upper-left of their screen before slowly moving right and then further down the page. So make sure that your most important content is above the fold and to the left as that is where your visitors want to look.
Take a look at this Heat Map which tracked user eye movement on a web page:
Things like logo’s, CTA’s, special offers and email sign-ups are ideal for this location. Here are some examples of this tactic being employed:
- Walmart (logo top left)
- Samsung (feature image left)
- IKEA (logo top left)
- Amazon (logo top left)
- The Dairy Fairy (CTA left)
There are countless more examples but it seems the most popular place particularly for logos is top left!
Unique Value Propostion (UVP) – put your cards on the table.
First impressions are everything online and making a good one could keep a visitor on your site for longer. This is exactly what a UVP does. It’s a statement that clearly explains how your product or service solves their pain points, its specific benefits, and why they should buy from you instead of your competitors.
Here’s an example of an excellent UVP:
It’s made clear immediately:
- who it’s for
- what it does
- why you will like it
- how it benefits you
According to ConversionXL your UVP is what will determine whether a person sticks around and browses your sites content or leaves within a few seconds.
Visual vs Written- show them, don’t tell them.
Imagery is much faster than written word (60,000 times faster to be exact). Incorporate infographics, image sliders and animations on your site to give visitors a more enjoyable and memorable experience.
Keep in mind that too many images will make your site slow, so its important to find a happy medium between visual and written content.
White Space – less is more.
The most effective way to improve looks and functionality is to add white space. Removing clutter will make your site easier to use and nicer to look at, inclining people to come back or show their friends.
Study’s show that more white space also leads to better comprehension of the content you do have which makes sense. Take for example Apple’s website which uses plenty of white space.
This advert for the iMac uses white space very effectively to clearly show you the product and direct your attention to the essential content: “Wireless everything.”
Desktop nirvana looks like it was built in Slider Revolution 5 and gets its message across eloquently. No wires, no clutter. They kinda hit the holy grail of “functional beauty” with this one.
Broken Links – don’t make a bad reputation
If a first time visitor tries to enter your site and they hit a 404 or “broken link” it’s likely they will never visit again and if someone asks them about your business their opinion probably won’t be a good one.
Additionally if your homepage is working fine but other links are broken it makes for bad a UX which has negative knock on effects for SEO and Traffic.
Don’t worry, 404’s are very easy to fix
If a link is broken, you cannot remove it but you can create a 301 Redirect. There are lots of ways to do this, if you’re using WordPress simply install Redirection, a plugin that allows you to easily find 404’s and link them to a 301.
Page Loading Time – you only have a few seconds…
A major factor in the experience of your site is how long the homepage and others take to load. In a nutshell, the longer your website takes to load the worse the overall experience is for the user.
Your site can be the most beautiful thing ever crafted, it won’t matter if someone has to wait 10s plus to see it. It’s likely they’ll abort before it’s fully loaded and if they do hang around, everything they see will be marred by the wait.
Check out this blog post if you’d like to learn more about site speed and how you can improve it.
Conclusion – that’s a wrap!
UX happens whether you plan it or not. If you have a beautifully crafted, easy to use site like Apple or a basic HTML text only document, UX is still happening. The only difference is one has been planned to be excellent and the other just happens, offering a very poor experience.