Busting 5 UX myths
You’re embarking on your UX journey. Not the one you experience as a visitor on other brands’ websites, or even when browsing your own, but the undertaking of building/ redesigning your own website. How do you go about creating the optimal UX?
The most potent way to redesign your website is to scope out its user behaviors and build your strategy around them. Or, if you’re at the very beginning of setting up your website and don’t have any past user behaviors to analyze, you may pull from popular UX procedures. But there may be scant to no data supporting these decisions.
What’s worse is that in either case, you may find yourself cocooned in a cloud of myths surrounding UX. We at Contentsquare believe UX decisions should be backed up by data to ensure they provide a solid performance for site visitors. That’s why we’re debunking 5 UX myths.
UX Myth 1: The Homepage is obsolete
While “obsolete” may seem like a stretch, the myth that the homepage is one of the least important pages on your website rages on. After all, with so many ways to enter a website, (social, paid social, ads) the homepage gives off an auxiliary air. But in reality, the homepage carries a wealth of importance.
Besides condensing what your brand offers in one page, the homepage provides excellent opportunities for conversions.
Our analysis of 528 million user sessions across 137 e-commerce sites in late 2018 found that 38.58% of desktop fashion shoppers entered a site through the homepage, compared to 27.68% through a category page and 18.64% through a product page. We observed similar trends in the beauty and luxury industries.
Only in the travel sector did more desktop visitors land on a product page (27.20%) than on the homepage (26.61%). Mobile beauty and luxury shoppers, however, were slightly more inclined to land on a category page.
We’ve also found that homepage entrances are generally good news for conversions — at least in three of the sectors we analyzed. Desktop shoppers browsing for travel, fashion and beauty were more likely to convert when entering a site through its digital front door. Consumers shopping for travel on their mobile devices were more likely to convert when landing on a product page, however — a trend also observed for luxury shoppers on all devices.
While all roads can lead to conversion, these numbers clearly point out that the homepage still has a critical role to play in a brand’s digital success.
UX Myth 2: Speed Trumps Personalization
Speed is certainly a decisive factor in the UX of a website. After all, longer site load times result in site abandonment. According to digital marketing guru Neil Patel, 40% of internet users will abandon a site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
In fact, those who expect their mobile load times to be the same as in desktop and those who believe it should be almost as fast as desktop totals 46%. But speed does not trump personalization, especially when conversions are concerned. Unfortunately, personalization is difficult to achieve; only 5% of marketers use their data to implement personalization to their content, but it is certainly worth implementing to secure higher conversions.
It’s key not to rely on customer categories alone; instead you have to tap into a user’s mindset, which comprises a combination of a user’s persona, context and intent. This means that in order to personalize, demographic data alone won’t suffice.
Instead, behavioral data can unlock user intent and show a clearer context. While behavioral analytics won’t tell you everything about a user’s mindset, it can pinpoint a variety of interactions that you wouldn’t otherwise know about, ones that provide additional insight on the persona and intent of a consumer and their UX.
Additionally, it will allow you to fine-tune your segments based on user behavior and understand how customer experience varies in different contexts.
For example, just because a customer purchases one way on desktop doesn’t mean they’ll renew their orders on mobile, especially when the time of year is concerned. That’s why the context is key, as well as intent, which is ever-changing.
AI helps personalize and humanize the experience in a way demographic data can’t, and this is favorable because it doesn’t interfere with privacy guidelines and concerns.
UX Myth 3: The Menu Has More Gravity than the Search Bar
The menu gives an overhead view of everything your website offers, while the search bar, as an element alone, is empty. The users must fill it up themselves. So it appears that the menu carries the most weight for your users digital experience. But this is simply not the case.
Both the menu and the search bar are key UX elements in the navigation, a crucial aspect of your customer journeys. However, the search bar is the most used element when it comes to finding something on a website, be it a product or section. Our findings on our 2018 grocery report posit that the click-through rate for the search bar on desktop is at 18.3%, which is 76% higher than the menu click through rate. Also, users are quicker to click on the search bar than the menu by 3 seconds.
Therefore, while the menu appears to be more comprehensive and intuitive, as it presents several options for users and sorts products and pages into categories, it does not more importance than the search bar. In fact, the search bar has better engagement and is a stronger conversion driver than the menu. (The search bar has a 66% higher average conversion rate).
So optimizing your search bar is vital to your UX strategy. You can make it more intuitive by having it show suggestions as users are typing on it, similar to how a search engine functions, or the search bars on major e-commerce sites like Amazon and Target.
UX Myth 4: The Checkout Is Not an Obstacle for Conversions
While it is true that the checkout is one of the main site elements that results in monetary conversions — the ultimate end goal for any business — it is not immune to UX flaws. These flaws often lead users to user frustration if not to an altogether site departure.
There are specific elements at checkout that hurt conversions, such as login requests, which exist in most online shopping experiences in today’s digital climate.
We analyzed 9.76 billion user sessions across 105 sites in the first quarter of 2018, and 528 million user sessions across 137 sites in late 2018 and found pertinent data on page logins. Page logins on e-commerce websites have held chunky exit rates in 2018, at 23.82% in desktop and 28.74% in mobile. All the steps at checkout are crucial elements to optimize as well, as they present obstacles for the user. Collectively, the three steps of checkout have an exit rate of 26%.
Form fields at checkout can be marred by a variety of bugs, so you should streamline the checkout process with shorter forms by way of fewer fields and steps.
It’s essential to optimize checkout elements, not in spite of their high conversion rates, but because of them. You don’t want to lose conversions where they occur the most from an easily correctable UX mishap.
UX Myth 5: Scroll Depth Doesn’t Need Optimization
While it is longer form content (articles, guides, loaded infographics) that require scrolling all the way down, shorter content, including product pages, can be equally contingent upon the success of their scroll rates. (Yes, you should be measure scrolling behavior).
But does this particular behavior need to be optimized for the UX? It may seem secondary, especially since measuring the performance of individual site elements dominates our digital experience analytics. But in truth, scroll depth is important, especially when conversion is concerned.
The percentage of a page that gets viewed shows you how “sticky” your content is. Smaller scroll rates also result in higher bounce rates. With higher bounce rates, users are less likely to convert, since they don’t stay long enough to view enough content, let alone stick around to convert. Conversion also comes into play with scroll depth when the CTA is located towards the bottom of the page. In such cases, you want to optimize your scroll rate so that users don’t miss the CTA.
Making UX Optimizations
UX is not just an area of concern for UX/ UI designers; it is a crucial aspect for conversions, brand awareness and brand loyalty. As the chief characteristic of a brand’s digital success, it should be firmly planted in the minds of everyone on the digital team. As such a major topic of concern, there is a wealth of UX myths floating around, which may be hard to detect as just that: myths. Luckily, once you implement an analytics solution that can back up the productivity of every UX element with data, you can tinker with your site elements accordingly, which will ensure a better UX and conversions.
Still curious about improving your UX? Download our Mobile Optimization Report.
Originally published at contentsquare.com on March 12, 2019.