It can be a truly exciting experience designing a website for your business. With that, you have the opportunity to communicate who you are in a meaningful and impactful way to the expansive online community. Throughout this process, it’s important to remember that although your website is all about who you are, it needs to be built with your users in mind.
You might be asking, what is user experience? Website user experience (UX) refers to the way the user interacts with your website. Website design, usability and accessibility, navigation, and function are all aspects of UX. Many times, people use the terms UX and UI (user interface) interchangeably, but their differences are critical to understanding holistic website design.
Whereas UX focuses on functionality and the overall experience that a user has with interacting with your website, the UI refers to the visual layout and branding of the site. The UX focuses much more on the way a user will feel when they interact with your website and there are multiple facets to understanding why they might feel that way.
Understanding the User Journey
If you’re wondering what happens after a user lands on your website, it would be helpful to consider setting up a user journey map. This map tracks everything your users do on your website and how they interact with it. This is a great tool in understanding how they’re using the site and whether that differs from what you intended. If they aren’t clicking CTAs or scrolling through any of your website’s content, that gives you a good indication that you should change something there.
The user journey is important when it comes to UX because it gives you a peek into what people are doing on your website and how they might be reacting to it. This is also why it’s crucial to always keep your user in mind when designing your website. It’s your website, but it’s your users who will be, well, using it.
Create a Sitemap
To put it plainly, a sitemap is a list of all the pages that will be on your website and their hierarchical relationship to one another. Creating a sitemap for your website can be helpful for SEO purposes, mainly to help sort out the navigational structure which is important for both search engine crawlers and the users. If your sitemap has a lot of pages that are hidden throughout your website, making it hard for users to find or access them, can result in a negative user experience.
Optimize Your Site Speed and Performance
The longer it takes for a website to load, the more likely it is that your users will leave. Nowadays, everything is accessible instantaneously, especially with mobile search rising and influencing online sales more and more each coming year. If a customer lands on your website and it takes too long to load, the sad truth is that they’ll find what they’re looking for somewhere else. Site speed and performance are important factors when it comes to UX, which is why Google rolled out its Core Web Vitals algorithm update in 2021.
Guide your UX with Core Web Vitals
The experience a user has on your website directly relates to your ranking in search results. Google has been placing a larger emphasis on user experience, and they came out with Core Web Vitals as a ranking factor in 2021 to help websites with better UX perform better in search engine results pages (SERP). Core Web Vitals envelops a variety of factors that Google uses to determine your site’s performance and they’re all related to UX.
Here are the areas that Core Web Vitals focuses on:
- Loading - the time it takes for elements on your site to fully load.
- Interactivity - how long it takes for an action to be completed after a user initiated an interaction.
- Visual Stability - the stability of your page and how its elements shift as your page loads.
Focusing on all three of these Core Web Vitals factors can make your website more likely to rank high in search, while also making it easier for users to navigate the site.
Focus on Clarity and Simplicity in Content and Design
Good UX has a high level of usability, but that doesn’t mean that good UX always equates to good functionality. There’s a lot to be said about how content and design correlates with UX. In the same way that users want a website that’s easy to use, they also tend to favor websites that are simple and easy to digest visually.
Most users come onto a website with a goal already in their mind. They know what they want and it’s your job to get them there. Construct elements on your website that will help facilitate the process of users going from point A to point B. If your website’s content or design restrains users from getting to that ending point, that could result in a poor user experience and no interaction from potential customers.
Content and User Experience
Believe it or not, content and user experience have an important relationship with each other. When you’re creating website content with a desire to produce a positive experience for users, you need to craft your content with your user’s wants and needs in mind. It’s not likely that users will scour your website to read each and every written word on the pages. However, that doesn’t mean that the content you place on your website is disregarded.
All the copy on your website should be clear, concise, and very easy to digest. It should also aid in the navigation of the site. Users should never click a button or link and end up somewhere they never intended to go. The content and the design of your website should nod to each other. If these two seem disjointed in any way, users could misinterpret the actions you’re wanting them to take.
Design and User Experience
A website’s front-end design can visually bring a site to life. Web design can be a very fun process, however, the same rules that apply for content apply here: make it simple and easy to digest. Visual elements need to be eye-catching, but not attention grabbing. Too much visual overload or design inconsistencies can easily overwhelm users and make them want to get away as fast as possible. Creating elements that are functional and visually pleasing, will keep users engaged with your website.
Work within Website Accessibility Standards
Website accessibility is an important part of UX because it ensures that all various types of users can easily access and interact with a website. Think from the perspective of potential users who may have disabilities or more difficulty interacting with the website than others. For example, some users may need to access your website through screen reading software, which reads portions of the website to them if they have visual impairments. Making sure that HTML documents have language attributes and using alt text on images will accommodate users with screen readers. Finding ways to include these users will provide a positive user experience for everyone.
Responsive Website Design
When designers talk about making a website responsive, what they mean is making a website compatible across all devices and browsers. When responsive design is implemented during the development process, this allows the website to conform to all screen resolutions and function accordingly. It would be an annoyance to users if they can access their favorite website on their computer, but not on their tablet or mobile device. Without responsive design, users may have to scroll much more on a mobile device to get to what they want or find it hard to interact with buttons if their sizing doesn’t match the proportions of a smaller device’s screen.
With many people using their mobile devices to access pretty much everything online, most designers take a “mobile first” approach. This means that you begin by designing your website to fit the smallest screen, like that of mobile devices, and then scale up your design from there. Responsive design is important to consider, especially when it comes to UX because no matter how users access your website they’ll be able to use it effortlessly.
Get the best UX there is with Epic Web Studios
At the end of the day, your website’s users are potential customers. If you knew your storefront was derailing customers from coming in and looking around, would you stand there as they leave your store? Of course not! Epic Web Studios stays on top of all the core user experience fundamentals and new UX tips for websites. We know UX like the back of our hand, so it’s integrated into everything we do when developing a website from scratch or redesigning an existing one. Ready to create a beautiful and functional website for your business that will keep users coming back time and time again? Reach out to Epic Web Studios today and wow your audience.