Customers usually like to take their time and explore their options. But no matter how long it takes for them to look around, once they’ve set their minds on something, they expect the purchasing process to be quick and easy.
This experience not only covers physical stores, but online shops as well. Much like how a brick-and-mortar store is laid out in a way that adapts the process of purchasing, a website should also be designed with the customer or user in mind.
User experience (UX) is defined as the user’s interaction with the business and its services and products through the website, app, blog, or user interface (UI). A user survey by eConsultancy reported that 95% of respondents believe that good UX is essential. For businesses, it will not only streamline the buying process, as it also helps in conversion, which also means an increase in revenue.
An optimized blog or website is essential to UX, with 70% of consumers saying that they learn more about the company through these web pages instead of ads. This also makes UX a key brand differentiator that would likely overtake price and product by 2020, especially since 84% of companies are expected to increase their focus on UX metrics.
Embracing the need for good UX means focusing on its five pillars:
- Contextuality: ensuring that users are aware of where they are on the journey.
- Being Human: being approachable, trustworthy, and transparent; using human interactions over machine-like interactions.
- Findability: providing wayfinding signs to users.
- Easy: being consistent and precise with visuals and message to make navigation effortless.
- Simplicity: using messages that are intelligible by avoiding distractions, jargon, and long loading times.
But apart from knowing what’s right, in order to optimize your website’s UX design, you’ll need to be aware of what NOT to do.
Unforgivable UX Mistakes to Avoid
Not designing with the user in mind
Your site should be created knowing that your customers are going to be the ones using it. Chances are, they don’t put the same importance on elements that designers care about aesthetically. But they will care about things like testimonials, social proof, and easy navigation.
Find out which areas of the website are problematic and which pages users spend the most time on. From there, you can list down the issues and prioritize fixes based on where the most additional value can be extracted.
Choosing clever over clarity
There’s nothing wrong with using creativity to entice users, but there are times when it’s being prioritized over clarity. You don’t want to confuse visitors about what they need to do on your website and how.
Close the expectation-reality gap by conducting a heuristic analysis that takes an objective look at your site to see which elements cast doubt. You can also do a user test by letting someone perform tasks within the conversion funnel to see how similar or different their actions are from the intended path.
Bombarding users with CTAs
While increasing conversions should be the end goal of optimization, optimizing UX does not mean flooding your website with call-to-actions (CTAs). When there are too many options toggling onto the visitor, they may get paralyzed and end up even more undecided than when they started.
To get the users to do what you want, the UI should be intuitive, and a great experience should not be forced onto users. Instead, they should be made aware through simple CTAs that are hard to ignore and easily accessible without too much scrolling.
Businesses understandably want their websites to be different from their competitors, but some designs are based on prototypes that make UX simple because consumers already know how it works.
Designers often feel like straying away from the standards to make the UI exciting and different, which is not always a good thing as it can also make things complicated for the user.
Retaining prototypes doesn’t mean you can copy what others are doing—its whole point is following how the user’s mind works. For best results, you should be using typical industry prototypes as inspiration for developing your own unique brand experience.
Not designing for mobile
There is no doubt that most people are consuming content through mobile devices, with 52% of customers saying that a bad mobile experience would make them less likely to do business with a company.
Make sure that your site is relevant across the board—be it desktop, laptop, phone, or tablet. First, optimize the UX for each specific device, as the design will not translate the same for all devices. This means also checking the readability of the text on different gadgets in different conditions. Then, conduct tests and quality assurance for each to see if all the elements are working.
For mobile, it may be better to require fewer taps on a single screen to effectively convert.
Not checking your page’s performance
The performance of your website isn’t only measured by the conversions it makes. Performance, in this context, is the loading speed and accuracy of its elements.
For instance, when your website loads too slow or if some elements fail to show up, conversions can be affected. A user will experience problems if your servers have issues or the UX isn’t clear enough to site visitors.
Check your website’s performance through analytics tool and identify the errors that users are triggering and the pages with slow loading times. From there on, you can take the appropriate steps to resolve any outlying issues.
Too much content
Nowadays, potential customers are becoming more visual, meaning they prefer content like videos and photos on their UI. Text should still be present, of course, but it tends to be glossed over when it’s too long or is irrelevant. Make sure not to overwhelm users with useless content.
Inserting too many images or videos isn’t recommended, either. Remember that your page performance relies partly on loading time, and too many visuals (especially those in high resolution) can result in slow loading speeds.
Instead, be selective with imagery to maximize impact without creating distractions from the main conversion goal.
No online chat functionality
If you want your business to appeal to younger, more tech-savvy buyers, use channels that they’re familiar with and often use. An online chat feature is always a good idea since no millennial or post-millennial customer likes to use phones to make business inquiries anymore.
These days, if your website doesn’t have a direct channel to communicate with your brand in real-time, you’ll be isolating the part of your target audience that demands that level of service, and probably losing them to your competitors.
No testing and feedback
As mentioned before, testing should always be done as early as possible in the design process. Testing and feedback allow you to see if your optimization efforts are successful, so you won’t waste resources on things that don’t push the needle.
A/B testing is a great way to expose your UX design to the real world. It’ll help you isolate individual changes to your website that drive conversion rates, so you can further optimize them. Just make sure that you’re only testing one variable at a time for the most accurate results.
Consumer preference is changing, and today, it’s not enough for a business to have excellent products or services—having a user-friendly online presence is becoming a necessity. However, having one that is easily accessible to users does not come easy. They want good design, bundled with speed, effortlessness, and clarity, which is why poor UI turns them off and in turn, hurts your conversion rates.
With increased demand for good user experiences, assuring good UX design is critical for your business’ development strategy. The more in demand good UX becomes, the more mistakes companies are likely to make. An understanding of its fundamental principles is the first step to realizing which optimization efforts should be implemented.