The other day I went searching for ‘organic flaxseed oil’ from the nearby supermarket. I wasn’t sure of the brand and just wanted to make my decision based on the price and information on the label. I strolled through the supermarket and easily found what I was looking for.
You’re obviously wondering why did I give you an example of such an easy everyday chore? You buy stuff from the supermarket all the time.
I just wanted to draw a comparison between a supermarket and your website. With similar products stashed in a common place and display boards all over a supermarket, it’s easy to find what you want. If it’s your website, users should find it easy to find what they come searching for. To further the supermarket example, you tend to buy things that are not required, your website should engage and cross-sell to the visitors.
You know what we are getting at. UX will ensure that you help the visitors find what they require and take the actions that you require them to take.
History of UX
Don Norman, cognitive scientist, introduced the term User Experience or UX in early 1990s. He was VP, of the Advanced Technology Group at Apple Inc at the time. It refers to all characteristics of end-user interaction with the services, products and company. It defines how a user interacts with the system or website, and if it helps you achieve your goals. If users have issues, UX strives to resolve them and decreases then impediments.
Cognitive psychology, visual design, behavior and human interaction are all critical aspects of UX. UI or user interface deals with the appearance of the website or mobile app. UI is part of UX.
UX addresses 3 key things — content, user and usability.
If you think you need an expert to tell you if your website has a great UX or not — you’re wrong. I’m giving a list of 10 questions that are basically key parameters against which you can gauge your website for UX.
1. Is my website mobile-friendly?
You just can’t away from this one these days. You need to have a website that is mobile-friendly because not only most of the people access their websites from their smartphone or tablets, but even Google penalizes websites (in search rankings) that are not mobile-friendly.
Ensure that your website is responsive.
2. Is my website cluttered?
If you have too many product/ service offerings, you might make your website cluttered. In case you think that you may not be the best person to judge this aspect of your website (you’re biased towards your website), then ask yourself this — can you communicate the most important information in the first 8 seconds that users visit your website. Research shows that you only have 8 seconds of attention span of the users. If the website has too much content or graphic elements, users will be not sure where to focus.
3. Is there enough space on the website?
Adding white space to the website can help your website. Research shows that white space can increase the user attention by 20% and that’s a percentage you just can’t overlook.
4. Is the website full of 404 errors?
Users are disappointed if they don’t find the information they’re searching for. Do you have bad links? Fix them immediately. You can use this 404 error tool to check the errors\ on your website.
5. How much time does your website take to load?
The industry best practice for your website load time is 2 seconds. Websites that offer higher security, i.e. HTTPS websites, take a longer time to load since data encryption and long distance can make the loading the website slower.
6. Are your website forms scary?
You must incorporate online form on your website. The form should be easy to fill and user-friendly and should not confuse the users. You might be tempted to get as many details from the users but stick to the bare minimum so that users don’t get overwhelmed. It is better to get less information from users rather than lose a customer.
7. Are the blog titles misleading?
Blogs can add a lot of value to your website but ensure that your blog titles don’t make false promises. Flashy and false blog titles that can’t deliver equally engaging blog content are deceptive for users. You must remember that users are constantly perceiving your brand while on your website. Ensure they make a good impression of your brand through your blogs.
8. Do you have enough call to action buttons that are descriptive as well?
Your content, images, white space, blogs or forms won’t serve any purpose if users don’t know what to do next. Evaluate your website for sufficient number of call to action buttons that clearly indicate the action you want users to take.
9. Are the images generic and boring?
Yes, yes, we all know that pictures speak 1000 words but that’s just theory. Do you follow it on the website? Are you using engaging, attractive and relevant images on your website? Most of the people tend to use generic and free images that have no relevance to the product/ service in question.
Users will relate to your own product and people images much more than randomly purchased pictures from stock library.
10. Are you measuring UX with the help of analytics?
UX is not about guessing games. Your analytics are your biggest indicator to your UX. Take Google Analytics seriously and closely monitor user activity. How much time are users spending on a page? What’s the CTR? Such questions and more can give you a clear and crisp picture of your UX.