Poor user experience is common to many business websites. Not only does this issue damage a site’s look and feel, but it can also drive away potential customers and hurt a business’s performance as a result. In fact, studies report that 70% of customers abandon purchases because of poor user experience.
Regardless of how great your product or service is, you’re going to need strong website UX in order to be successful. To keep your website—and your business—running smoothly, we’ve compiled a series of UX best practices to help you better meet your customers’ needs.
What Is Website UX?
User experience, also called UX, is a person’s feelings or attitudes when interacting with a website, app, or any other type of product. UX designers and researchers analyze and improve factors such as ease of use, utility, user perception, and efficiency of interfaces.
Specifically, website UX involves optimizing these features as they pertain to websites. When a website has good UX, users have more pleasant, intuitive interactions with the site. And when users enjoy your website, they’re likely to spend more time browsing and potentially convert into leads.
UX expert Yaniv Ben Simon puts it this way: “Visiting a website is like going on a blind date. Visitors don’t know what awaits them, but they do have expectations. You have one chance to impress, and if the experience doesn’t meet or exceed their expectations, they will not return.”
In this way, improving your website’s UX is crucial from a marketing as well as a design standpoint. By bolstering the perception of your brand and keeping visitors on your site, it can help drive potential customers through the sales funnel.
8 UX Best Practices
In order to create positive customer experiences with your business, you’ll need to continually optimize your website with effective UX design. These UX best practices will help you improve your business website:
1. Design for your audience.
One common mistake in website creation is to prioritize your personal preferences over what’s best for the user. It’s important to remember that your website isn’t for you—it’s for your audience.
With that in mind, design your website in a way that will resonate with your target market. Start by researching your customers and analyzing their data. Which brands do they engage with the most? In which way do your competitors’ websites satisfy their needs? Draw inspiration from the sites of successful players in your industry, and model your own website after their user experience and flow.
2. Aim for seamless navigation.
As you build your website, think of it as a series of interwoven paths that guide users toward a particular destination, whether it’s a product page, sign-up form, or blog post. Carefully consider your users’ needs and goals so that you can connect these paths in a way that’s intuitive for them.
Here are some ideas:
- Include a sticky menu with clear, straightforward categories that remains visible as users scroll down the site.
- Link your logo to your home page.
- Opt for a cohesive visual language with similar design elements across pages, so that users know what to expect of your website. For example, your ‘Back to Top’ button should always appear in the same corner of the screen, to avoid confusion.
- Use common web design conventions and structures that people are already familiar with—for instance, hyperlinks that are blue and underlined.
- Place important additional information, such as your contact details and social media buttons, in the footer.
3. Consider visual hierarchy.
Part of making your website navigation seamless is to use visual hierarchy. This helps lead site visitors to look at each element of your website in order of priority.
One way to do this is by increasing the size and weight of your most important assets. For example, make the name of your business larger and bolder than the rest of your text so that it is more visually prominent.
Likewise, you can use element placement to draw users’ attention toward what matters most. As you create your landing pages, for instance, make CTA buttons larger than the descriptive text and place them in the center of the page. This will steer your visitors’ eyes toward the elements that are most beneficial for your business.
4. Use color strategically.
Another important UX best practice is to use color in a way that adds value for your site visitors. Keep in mind that warm, bright colors stand out to the eye, while cool, dark ones retreat into the background. For this reason, bright colors tend to be a popular choice for CTA buttons, banner ads, and other places where you want users to click.
In addition, be sure to stick to a consistent color scheme, with a clear set of brand colors. This helps improve your site’s visual appeal while strengthening the visual identity of your brand. As you choose your website’s color palette, think about the feelings and emotions you want your brand to evoke. Bright yellow, for instance, conveys joy, playfulness, and positivity, while green tends to communicate a sense of peace, balance, and growth.
Finally, keep visually impaired users in mind when designing your website. To ensure all users can read your pages, take a look at your design in greyscale and double-check that the information is clearly visible.
5. Check for readability.
High readability is a critical component of effective web design. This is especially true for pages that introduce your business and describe your products. The more easily visitors can read your site, the more quickly they will be able to digest the information and form a good first impression of your brand.
Here are some ways to make your website more readable:
- Aim for high contrast between your text and background. To achieve this, opt for a clean, minimalist background and a standard font color, such as black, for long chunks of text.
- Choose fonts that are clear and easy to read. You should also use no more than three fonts on your website, as using too many can clutter the pages.
- Use a relatively large font size so that users won’t need to squint to read. While different fonts vary in size, 16-pt or higher is a good rule of thumb.
- Apply the hierarchy principle to all written content, whether it’s a product page or blog post. Your titles should have the largest size and weight, followed by headers, then subheadings, and then your body text.
6. Prioritize your homepage.
All of your web pages should be designed with thoughtful attention to the user experience. Your homepage, however, deserves extra consideration because it’s often your audience’s first touchpoint with your brand. Homepage UX—from your interface’s ease of use to the aesthetics of your design—can make or break your business’s first impression on potential customers.
On top of that, your homepage is the central access point for the rest of your site. When it’s intuitive and easy to navigate, your users will be compelled to click through your site and get to know your brand.
In your navigation bar or footer, remember to include the elements that users have come to expect. This includes links to your About page, Contact page, Product page, and blog. You should also place a logo in the top left-hand corner of your site that links back to the homepage.
7. Improve your page speed.
A fast page load speed is a critical part of strong website UX. In fact, research has shown that website conversion rates drop by an average of 4.42% with each additional second of page load time.
You can check your pages’ load time and learn how to improve it using Google PageSpeed Insights. Depending on your results, you may find that you need to reduce your file sizes, scale down the complexity of your graphics, or minimize unnecessary redirects.
8. Make it mobile-friendly.
Today, mobile traffic accounts for more than 50% of all website traffic. On top of that, optimizing for mobile is critical for SEO; thanks to Google’s mobile-first indexing, the search engine relies primarily on your mobile content for indexing and ranking.
For these reasons, having a mobile-friendly layout is one of the top UX best practices to follow. These strategies can help you achieve clean, uncluttered design on a small mobile screen:
- Reduce the size of your menu.
- Adjust your graphics to fit a smaller screen.
- Minimize the number of elements on each page to avoid taking up valuable screen real estate.
- Use a ‘Back to Top’ button to enable smooth, straightforward navigation.
Having an effective website requires more than simply looking good. The user experience of your business site can help drive website visitors through the sales funnel. When your website is clear, intuitive to navigate, and easy and pleasant to use, you’ll be rewarded with more leads. Make your website UX a priority, and higher conversion rates will follow.