A smooth, consistent user experience is essential for the success of any app or website, but improving your UX can be difficult without the right data. A thorough UX audit is essential to quantify areas for optimisation. From there, you can start to execute a better digital solution. Find out more in this essential guide to improving your mobile app or website’s UX.
Some truths about users
Whether it’s a mobile app or website, accessed on a smartphone or on a laptop, users just aren’t that different. These key truths about the bulk of your user base should inform your UX strategy at all times.
- Users are fickle: If something takes too long to load, isn’t clear in informative content or doesn’t have any calls to action, users will leave. They’re under no obligation to hang around.
- Users have short attention spans: Our lives are busy, and we don’t have time to hunt around on websites trying to figure out how they work. It’s up to you to make the website work for your visitors. This is the underlying principle of good UX.
- Nobody likes the back button: Web users want to find the information they’re looking for, then click on a link for more. Keep your users moving ‘forward’ through your website.
Conduct a UX audit
UX experts agree that a thorough user experience audit is essential to understand both business objectives and how your web experience can better meet them.
The audit first gathers data at key points like:
- Website analytics (page views, conversion metrics)
- Heat mapping to show user expectations
- Adherence to best practice UX principles
By compiling data it’s possible to look at how web site performance can be improved across key diagnostics. Consider the following concepts and how they relate to the experience on your website.
1. Do you offer a clear value proposition?
What is your website offering customers, and is it clear how they can get it? A value proposition is essentially offering a perceived benefit that outweighs the cost of the action you’re asking visitors to take.
2. Is your page content relevant?
Bounce rates on your website can be reduced by better aligning the content to clearly match what the visitors expect to see. So if you’re losing a high percentage of users after a single view of your page, it might be time to start improving your content.
3. Is the content clear and concise?
How clear is the writing? Significantly, does your web content have:
- A clear value proposition
- A central or main message
- Strong calls to action
Promoting clarity in content provides users with easily digestible instructions and valuable information, ultimately providing a better user experience.
4. What is uncertain?
User expectations can be difficult to understand without a thorough UX audit. There could be elements of your site causing anxiety or uncertainty with your user base. Audits also uncover critical elements that are missing to alleviate that uncertainty.
5. Where are the distractions?
A website should align with business goals and user expectations. Often an audit uncovers elements that don’t serve either purpose, and instead distract the user. These distractions are antithetical to your business goals, and should be phased out of your design.
6. Do you promote immediate action?
Urgency in user experience is a good thing. Your users should want to take urgent action on their interactions with your website or mobile platform. That means your UX should incentivise users to take immediate action, driving user experience and business growth.
Once you’ve completed a UX audit, it’s time to start designing solutions.
Be user centric
Good UX design starts with placing the user front and center in your design philosophy. A website that makes it easy for users to find what they want is the most important factor for over 1 in 7 users, regardless of whether the page is especially beautiful or cutting edge. Beginning your UX design journey is a simple as putting that factor in pole position.
The importance of white space in user experience
White space is essential to good design. It helps users focus and can increase attention by up to 20% when compared to a busy, cluttered app or website. It helps communicate a web experience that is:
Whitespace works well with all types of branding. It doesn’t always have to be ‘white’ but text and images should be framed by clear space to help guide the user and keep the content on-message.
Increase page speed
Google guru Larry Page cites pagespeed as an essential factor in making Google the success it is today, which is probably one of the reasons Google offers a free speed test for your webpage.
Your app or website needs to be snappy, both in responsiveness, page load speed and usability.
Think visitors are happy to wait for your great content? Think again. A recent study found a delay of 2 seconds can result in a bounce rate of up to 87%. So make sure you get that experience loaded fast, and prioritise the key elements to catch your user’s attention early, even when they’re on a slow pipeline.
Use calls to action
There’s a few different methodologies for calls to action. You can try:
- Using colour and design contrast to make them stand out from the rest of the experience
- Make them look attractive
- Use buttons
- Embed the link in the text
The psychology of colour also plays a factor in good calls to action. Different button and text colours convey different meanings to readers. What works for you is going to be contingent on your user base and how you deploy your web design.
Experiment with different techniques and collect data on the results. Even the best call to action will need refinement as times change, but any call to action is better than none at all.
Place your social icons thoughtfully
Links to social pages represent a tricky UX design challenge. Overall, your philosophy should be to show that you value the following, but value customers visiting your website more. Your app or page is always worth more to your business that a Facebook or Instagram link, so keep the social icons present, but not too large or loud in the bigger picture of your design.
Mobile friendly is a must
Whether you’re building an app or a website (or both) a mobile friendly experience is a must. It’s been several years since mobile overtook desktop pageviews. And with hybrid apps providing a space for both apps and websites to function natively on a smartphone, there’s really no sign that mobile is slowing down.
When designing your user experience, ask yourself these key questions:
- Does the page scale across all browsers and sizes?
- Does your mobile experience provide the same quality of content as a desktop experience?
- Have you structured the experience to be intuitive to mobile usage?
If you can nail these three elements, you’ve got a recipe for mobile excellence.
Confirm with usability testing
Studies have shown that testing new features on a website with as little as 5 different users can confirm up to 85% of usability related issues on a website or mobile app. Usability testing is a key component in UX optimisation, as it allows for data-driven reportables and eliminates a lot of the guesswork when it comes to website success.
Build a new site or fix your existing platform?
Mobile apps and websites require constant planning and strategic design. As part of your UX audit, the most likely outcome is that the changes will be made to existing technology. In some cases, you may need to start from scratch.
If you do have to build from the ground up, your UX team will ensure any search engine rankings and other traffic optimisation remains in place during the migration to a new platform.
Scatter your testimonials
If your testimonials are buried in their own page, it’s time to liberate them and disperse them through your key landing and navigation pages. Don’t make users hunt around to find out how great your business is. Put it front and centre and do the hard work for them. If you don’t have testimonials, here’s a great article on where to start.
Education reduces anxiety
Users love information. Presented in the right context with clarity and a focus on the benefits of your service, educational content can help focus the reader and reduce anxiety when using your page. Digital marketing expert Jeremy Smith puts it pretty concisely:
“Education reduces user anxiety. Anxiety is one of the leading demons of conversion optimization. More anxiety means fewer conversions. The opposite is also true: Less anxiety means more”
Start with a user experience audit today
Are you ready to up your conversions, reduce your bounce rate and provide a better, more streamlined user experience? Talk to EB Pearls about how we can provide a full audit of your website or mobile app’s UX. Equipped with the right data, you’ll have a top shelf user experience in no time at all.