User experience (UX) is one of those terms that sounds like it may be complicated, but in reality, it’s not. It’s essentially your website visitor’s personal experience when they are interacting with your site. We will be discussing how to deliver an optimal experience for your site visitors. In a recent study by Econsultancy on 2016 digital trends, improving customer experience rated as the #1 priority for 2016.
It boils down to customer-centric website design and content…you will gain and keep loyal customers if they feel that you are consistently providing a positive experience for them.
When designing or improving a website, there are certain things that you should do to ensure a great user experience. As you continue to learn more and more about your visitors and customers, the result will be an optimized user experience.
Neil Patel puts it best in his blog about creating more page views. According to Neil, user experience needs to consistently accomplish the following to be effective:
I love Neil’s list of characteristics, but I am adding 4 more items to it:
- Easy to understand and digest
- Visually inviting
Now Let’s Talk About Designing an Exceptional User Experience: The 5 Golden Rules…
Golden Rule 1: Design your site from the user’s perspective
- Create detailed customer personas so you know your audience inside and out.
- Keep in mind what your user expects to accomplish when they are on your site.
- Think of the customer experience holistically so your site meets their specific needs at any given time.
Golden Rule 2: Make your navigation simple, user-friendly and intuitive
- Keep your menu tabs to one line versus two so it doesn’t overwhelm the user.
- Make use of drop downs for a cleaner look and easier navigation.
- Make a conscious effort to keep it simple, intuitive and not full of clutter.
- Catch the user’s attention by making good use of the real estate above the fold. By this I mean, don’t block the above the fold space with a large visual that will cause your user to have to scroll down too much. It can be very distracting.
- Build a responsive site so that your user can view it across all of their mobile devices.
- Be careful not to clutter your site with multiple side panel advertising like GoogeAdsense. It makes for a better user experience having that on the bottom (or even not at all).
- Pay close attention to how long it takes for the site to load. Ideally, it should load in under 2 seconds.
- A 2-second delay in load time during a visit results in abandonment rates of up to 87%.
Golden Rule 3: Write in a natural conversational way
- It’s a proven fact that users relate better to this style of writing. The tone feels more like a conversation.
- By nature, the internet has made everyone skimmers versus readers. Ensure that your content can be easily skimmed and absorbed.
- If you are really passionate about the topic you are writing about, it comes across in your writing. That type of passion really pulls users in.
- Make your headline attention grabbing. I generally also use a color on my headline to set it apart.
Golden Rule 4: Use formatting to make it easier for the user to read the content
- Small paragraphs of 2-3 sentences help the user to absorb the information.
- Use plenty of white space so the user is not overwhelmed. In fact, according to Crazy Egg, white space around text and titles increases user attention by 20%.
- Break up your content with visuals and video. The user of today wants more of a multimedia experience in term of content.
- Always include a summary at the end of the blog post for the user to reference later.
- Add backlinks to authority sites in case the user would like to know more about the topic.
- Add internal links to related content on your site.
- Since the user reads left to right, have your images paginated to the right so it doesn’t break up their reading flow.
- Have a call to action on each page of your site.
Golden Rule 5: Make it easier for the user to interact with you
- Use larger buttons on your call to action.
- Create unique offers to invite engagement.
- Try out jumbo sliders versus traditional sliders.
- Strategically use pop-ups so they don’t turn off your visitor.
- Provide true value to your visitor so they will have a reason to want to come back.
- Always include social media buttons so the user can easily share with others.
- Avoid stock photography and use more real pictures that your audience can relate to. Check out this infographic on real images versus stock photography.
Now, I want to provide you with some “Golden Tools” that you might want on hand to help achieve the golden rules…
I. Tools to Improve Load Times:
- Page Speed analyzes your web page speed and then diagnoses problems that might be slowing it down. It’s very straight forward…all you have to do is put in your URL.
- Pingdom isolates any bottlenecks that are impacting your speed.
- Google offers a free service where it tests your speed and then offers suggestions on how to improve.
II. Tools to Optimize Images:
- RIOT: Radical Image Optimization Tool is one of the best free services to optimize images quickly and efficiently.
- Smush Pro – This is a nice WordPress plug-in that does heavy duty image optimization.
III. Tools for Creating Images:
- Canva – a nice little design tool for those of us who are design impaired.
- Picktochart – This tool allows you to create very professional infographics.
- Pixabay – This is one of my favorite sources for free imagery.
IV. Tools to Create Customer-Centric Content
- Grammarly – This free tool corrects your grammar and also spell checks for you. There is also a paid version.
- Co-Schedule Headline Analyzer – I did a review awhile back on this tool…It’s one of my favorites to create killer headlines.
- BuzzSumo – This free tool helps you identify popular topics to blog about by analyzing how many social media shares it has.
- 750 Words – I use this tool every day when I wake up. Essentially it’s like writing calisthenics where you write 750 words about anything you want. Think of it as both a data dump and a means to improve your writing skills, particularly for long form blogs.
V. Other Tools:
- Five Second Test focuses on landing pages and calls to action. It quickly evaluates your design to tell you whether these components are being properly optimized. From there, it gives you actionable tips on how to improve, as well as alerts about serious problems that have to be addressed.
- Crazy Egg – This tool provides heat mapping so you can see how your real users are using your website.
Thanks again for stopping by…I hope you found this blog post to be very helpful for creating exceptional user experiences. I would love to hear your comments about other tools that you have found useful.
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