Website Optimisation for User Experience and Usability
Usability is a critical component of website user experience. While some people often confuse the two terms, it is worth noting that usability is one of the elements of website design and that it is measurable.
The usability of website design depends on its features, its function and the experience it gives to users. A website is usable if it has the following qualities.
- It is easy to use, even for the first-time visitor. For instance, if it is an eCommerce website, the buying process should be straightforward.
- It provide easy ways of completing the desired task. If the user wants a particular item, they should find it quickly and make an order.
- It is easy to reuse. If a customer comes for a second time, they should be able to purchase an item as quickly as the previous time.
Another requirement for website usability is an error-free interface, among many others.
It is advisable to conduct usability tests throughout the development process of a website. The feedback from test participants can prove useful in adjusting the project so that the website offers an excellent user experience when it launches.
Elements of Website Usability
Several factors affect the usability of a website, and the most significant ones include;
- Visual factors
The server is the computer that hosts a website. When a client tries to access your website, their computer sends a request to your website to grant access to the information on the site.
Two factors affect the performance of a server – speed and downtime.
- Speed – website usability is one of Google’s ranking factors. The speed of your server impacts the loading speed of your webpages, which in turn affects usability. A slow website is likely to get low traffic and experience a high bounce rate.
- Downtime – this refers to the time that the servers go offline and the websites become inaccessible. Although it happens for all servers, it is less frequent in some models. A website with regular downtimes provides poor user experience and is likely to generate lower revenue as a result.
The HTML you use for your webpages has a significant impact on the user experience provided by your website. Here are the key factors you should consider for your HTML.
- ALT tags – these are used to display information about images when visual content fails to load correctly. Search engine bots rely on ALT tags to know the contents of an image during the crawling and indexing processes. They are also useful for narration programs used by visually-handicapped users.
- 404 pages – broken links are prevalent on large websites. You should make sure that the design of your 404 pages eases the disappointment of encountering a broken link. The best way of doing this is by adding visual elements to the broken pages.
If you are a designer, you have control over the visual factors that affect your website user experience. These include;
- Font size and colour – your fonts should be easy to read. They should have a different colour from the background, and their size and style should also make them easily legible.
- Branding – your logo and colour scheme should be easily recognisable. The logo should be at the top-left corner of your homepage, as most people start reading from the left to the right.
- Layout colours – the colours you choose must be consistent with your branding. They should also show the hierarchy of your content. For instance, you can use blue on titles and green on subheadings.
- Navigation – users should be able to move from one page to another quickly. This means that your website needs a navigation bar, search functionality and a proper structure.
- Content – the design and quality of your content affects the overall website usability. Make sure that your content has several headings and subheadings, as well as short paragraphs to make it more appealing to the reader.
Website Usability Tools
It is easy to run usability tests for your website using a variety of tools available on the internet. Some are available for free, others offer a limited trial, and the rest require payment before use.
Regardless of your choice, you will get a tool that gauges the quality of user experience on your website and gives recommendations on where to improve.
The Elements of Website User Experience
As mentioned earlier, usability is an element of website user experience. Here are the key areas of a website’s user experience.
- Usability – it is the measure of how easily a user accesses a website and completes their desired task.
- Useful content – the information on your website should be valuable, relevant and easy to understand.
- Desirable content – content that evokes positive emotions improve the overall user experience on your website. It also encourages users to remain loyal to your site.
- Accessibility – you need to tailor your content such that it is available to all people, including those with impairments.
- Credibility –a site that offers security and privacy has an excellent user experience.
If your objective is to have a site with optimal user experience, you need to implement all the factors mentioned in this list.
9 Ways to Supercharge Your Website User Experience
Earlier on in this article, we discussed what is website usability and its impact on the performance of your website. Now, we will dive deeper and look at user experience and its connection with usability. But before we proceed, it is important to note that these are two factors that Google and other search engines use to rank websites.
What does that mean? If visitors leave your website a few minutes after landing, that is a sign that your website did not meet their search intent or the website has other issues such as navigation. As a result, you will notice a spike in bounce rate and that is bad for business.
What is Website User Experience?
User experience (UX) is defined as the process of designing your website in such a way that it meets the needs of the target audience. The goal of embarking on this process is to increase user satisfaction by enhancing accessibility, usability, and efficiency of how the visitors interact with the various elements on the website.
The main focus when doing website user experience design is to offer the best experience to the target customers or visitors. The designers strive to not just pull organic traffic from search engines and other platforms such as social media, but to connect with the website visitors at a deeper level.
With the design right, the visitors will automatically be drawn in to stay on the website for an extended period. You will get more chances to convince them to purchase your product or service without been too invasive or overselling.
How to Improve User Experience
Now that you have a clear understanding of what is user experience, the next thing we are going to discuss is the specific steps that you need to take or rather hire a website design to do to ensure that your website offers the best user experience. MediaOne Marketing is best known for having the most talented website designers in the market. You can count on them to go beyond what the conventional designers do to ensure that the end result surpasses your expectations.
1: Extensive User Research
In the world of website design and digital marketing, everything begins with user research. Before designing a website, you have to do extensive research to understand the users. What exactly are they looking for when they land on the website? Who will be visiting the website?
The research will give your design team direction – ideas on how to design the interface. Get to know as much information about your ideal website visitor as possible such as interests, demographics, products or services that they are already using.
More importantly, keep in mind that it is easier to create experiences that the target audience want than to convince the target audience to fall in love with the experiences that you create. Otherwise, you may end up spending thousands of dollars on a website whose design does not match the target audience.
2: Simplicity is the Key to Success
Ever wondered why websites that enjoy massive traffic such as Amazon are so easy to navigate? Its because the website design is simple and responsive. Get rid of the unnecessary clutter that you previously thought is appealing to the audience.
If the target customers have to move through a rumble of content and graphics to find what they are looking for, they will leave seconds after landing on the website. They will not hang around long enough for you to get a chance to convince them to convert.
However, simplicity does not mean that you shed off so much content and graphics that the website looks empty. The goal should be to achieve a clean layout with 2-3 color schemes and ample white space. Too many fonts will also do more harm than good to your website.
Sure, graphics spark engagement as people respond to graphics faster than blocks of text. That said, every graphic on your website should have a purpose. Each should be insightful and clickable. Here are additional tips on how to make your website design simple.
- Every website page should have a definite goal. What do we mean? For example, the checkout page should only have the elements that the customers need to checkout. Too many elements will confuse potential customers.
- The intent of every page and element on it should be immediately understandable. Don’t make the audience wonder why a particular graphic is on a page.
- Additional information that doesn’t have much relevance to the purpose of the page should be listed at the bottom.
3: Generously Use Whitespace
Generously using whitespace is one of the surest and easiest ways of increase your website’s user experience. Even the smallest amounts of whitespaces between elements will give your design room to breathe and look professional/polished.
The background does not always have to be white. The point is ensuring that there is enough white space between the various elements on the website. The white space will add elegance and simplicity of your website pages and visitors will enjoy scrolling through it.
Here are some ideas on how to use whitespace to boost user experience.
- Increase the line space between text
- Instead of inserting images next to the text, strategically place them under blocks of text or on top
- Leave enough space on the right and left margins of any long blocks of text
- Related elements should be grouped together
4: Essential Elements Should be Visually Appealing but Distinct
A visually distinct layout works magic on virtually any website. It helps to make the user path fluid/flexible as well as creates an engaging user experience. One way of achieving this goal is by making sure that all different elements that are essential to the functionalism of the page are visually distinct.
That simple tweak will make it super easy for the target customers to find the product or service or information they are looking for when they land on the website easily and with minimum fuss. Here are a few more tips on how to achieve this goal.
- Make sure that all the important elements or details on the website pages stand out from the rest. For example, if it’s a blog post, make sure that the headline is captivating and the text is organised in short paragraphs with subtitles.
- Use navigation tools to make the users aware of their location on the website. Do this by including a simple but user-friendly menu at the top of the page.
- Use colours such as orange to make the call-to-action (CTA) buttons stand out from the other elements on the page
- Ensure that the search field is visually distinct from the other elements. You can do this by inserting a placeholder text inside the space such as “search” or a glass icon.
- Use colour and contrast to strike a balance between an aesthetical design and readable text. The readability of your website text is hugely dependent on the colours that you use between and around the text.
Here are a few important facts you should be aware of about colour.
- Background colours are often muted
- Text links should be in blue
- Red should only be used to highlight important aspects such as mistakes or warnings
- All CTA should have a strong contrasting hue that is different from the other elements
5: Work on Page Load Time
Page load time is one of the important ranking factors that you cannot afford to ignore. If the pages take more than 3 seconds to load, 53% of the visitors will leave.
So, do not just focus on meeting the visitor’s intent, but to also boosting the speed at which the pages load. By doing so, users will be able to find what they were looking for without having to wait for the pages to load. Here is an article we wrote on how to increase page load speed without breaking a sweat.
6: Create Stellar Content
The main goal of website designer is not to just create simple layouts, but to also make sure that the website has search engine optimised content. The designers work a team of content developers whose roles including carrying out extensive research and creating content that matches the target audience needs.
The content needs to be accurate and presented in a style and tone that resonates with the readers. One of the mistakes that designers make is trying to copy similar websites. Dare to be different by doing extensive research and coming up with content that is unique and friendly to not only the readers but also search engines. Here is an article by Google on how to create outstanding website content.
Concisely, a potential customer will not be convinced to spend minutes on the website and finally converting if the interface is difficult, has poorly optimised images, and the content is not readable.
7: Ensure Website is Responsive and Mobile-Friendly
Nowadays, more than half of all the recording traffic to websites comes from smartphones and other mobile devices. Desktop searches were surpassed by mobile searches three years ago. This means that a majority of your website visitors will use a mobile device to access it.
Give them the best user experience by ensuring that the whole website is responsive and mobile-friendly. If its not mobile-optimised, research shows that the visitors are five times likely to ditch it for your competitors. You will lose a huge chunk of revenue if your website is not accessible on mobile. Strive to offer the same level of user experience on both desktop and mobile versions of your website.
Apart from the users, you should also keep in mind the search engines. The bots are smarter now and can crawl both mobile and desktop websites. The information they collect is used to index the site pages. When creating a mobile layout of your website, make sure that the website visitors can and are able to interact with the various elements with one touch.
8: Maintain a Consistent Flow
Flow – how users move from one page to another- is very important when designing a website. The users should be able to move from one page to another effortlessly. Such a flow will help them to fulfil their goal faster and without much hustle.
Don’t make them contact the support team to know how to place an order. Make sure that the design framework is clear to find products and services seamlessly. Needless to say, consistency perpetuates implementation of the design.
The surest way of creating and maintaining a consistent flow is by thinking how your ideal customer will move from one step to another to complete the transaction. The entry point or the first step is usually the homepage or a blog post that has information related to the searchers intent.
As you create the steps, think about the dead-end pages on your website that could be confusing the audience by leading them nowhere. Make sure that the user journey is devoid of such pages. If a visitor is looking for valuable content and you have, make it easy for them to find it by working on the navigation. Go an extra mile and include a subscribe button to grow your mailing list.
9: Carry Out User Experience Audit/Review
Its human nature to just focus on completing the tasks at hand. You start a website design, work on it, submit it to the client, then start the cycle again. Unfortunately, you cannot win with such a mentality in the current competitive digital marketing space.
Carry out user experience audit and review regularly to know if the website is still performing as expected. Request your UX team to also take part in the audit process to achieve the best results.
Usability refers to the ease of use of a website. In summary, usability focuses on these areas.
- It should be easy to use the site, even without previous experience.
- It should be easy to complete the desired action.
- Users should learn the interface such that subsequent visits are straightforward.
The design of a website affects its usability. In this regard, the text should be easy to read and the content should be desirable to the readers. You should also look to improve the privacy and security features on your site.
Other factors that impact usability include server speed, HTML, and visual design elements. Your website should be fast, attractive and easy to navigate.
Lastly, it is essential to continually perform usability tests on your website. The internet offers a lot of tools for this purpose. This way, you will identify what is hurting the usability of your website and make appropriate adjustments to improve your website user experience.
Get in touch with us for more tips about website usability and design in Singapore.
What are the elements of Optimise Website
– Visual factors