Having a website is considered necessary for most businesses to be competitive. Unfortunately, it’s not enough to throw a website together and hope for the best. Your website is a very important communication tool for you to reach your customers. If it’s not designed to present the right information and guide customers to what they want to see and need to know, it’s, at best, flawed. In fact, a badly designed website can actually repel customers, so it’s important to consider user experience when designing or evaluating your company’s website.
What Is User Experience?
User experience is how your customers experience your website across the board. Every webpage they read as well as every webpage they can’t find is also part of user experience.
Ease of use is a crucial part of user experience. When evaluating ease of use, ask yourself these questions about your company’s website:
- How simple is it for your customers to get what they want – whether that’s specific products or just information – from your website?
- Does the design of your website help or hinder this?
- Are there are parts of your website that customers rarely visit or even avoid?
- Is the site’s navigation structure intuitive? Is it simple to search?
- How fast can your customers find ways to contact your company?
- How hard is it to go through the contact process?
- Are your maps or other interactive features accurate, updated, and easy to use?
- Is it clear what your site’s labels and icons mean?
If your website isn’t well organized and simple to understand, your customers will bounce and go elsewhere. It only takes a few clicks and keystrokes to find a competitor’s website. They do not need to drive across town to another brick-and-mortar store, so they don’t have the incentive to stick around and figure out how your website works.
From a navigation standpoint, your website also needs to flow. That means content is connected to other like content so that a customer wants to remain on your site because it holds his attention and makes him want to learn more. For example, if someone enters your website’s via a blog article that answers a question he has, is that blog piece connected to other parts of the website? It should be. Does it guide him to the products or services your company offers? If this is not the case, your site is missing opportunities for sales.
User experience also encompasses how your customers feel when they use your website. If it’s confusing or frustrating, they will leave quickly and it’s unlikely you will see many conversions. If, on the other hand, the information on your site intrigues them or entertains them, they will stay longer and be more likely to learn more about your products or services. If your website is both enjoyable and easy to use that is doubly the case.
Not Every User Is the Same
Needless to say, people are different, sometimes very different. A website that optimizes user experience will make it easy and enjoyable for your targeted audience to use, however. The average length of time a user remains on a website is between 10-20 seconds. This means your website doesn’t have long to make a good impression. Every webpage on the site needs to “close the deal” in a sense and reinforce the quality of your brand to your customers.
Ask your customers how they feel about your site. Ask them if it’s easy to use. Pay attention to the feedback they give you because it’s valuable information. Once you have a better understanding of how your customers use your website, you can make changes that will improve user experience.
If the traffic and engagement on your website are less than what you would like, evaluating user experience is a good first step towards improving them. If you would like to discuss your website’s performance or have questions about how to improve user experience, please call us. We would be happy to help make your website a more useful tool for communicating with your customer base.