While the aesthetic aspect of a website is important in creating a positive experience for web visitors, it only goes so far. More companies are realizing the importance of focusing on user experience design (or UX design) and investing heavily into it to make sure that their websites are optimized for UX. In fact, companies are making it a central part of their strategy as it affects everything that happens on their websites.
User experience design is about designing a website to create the most positive and optimal experience for a web visitor. It can include everything from website navigation structure, content, visitor interaction, information architecture, load time, to website layout. The goal is to make a website easy to use, intuitive, relevant, eye catching, and helpful to the user.
How It Affects Website Performance
The most obvious benefit of improving UX is the conversion rewards that result from focusing on the user. With proper UX design, a company website can improve conversions for its sales page, increase the frequency/quantity of sales, and improve profitability. This may resemble the process of conversion optimization but UX is difference because there is a lot of focus from the user’s perspective as opposed to simply following the numbers.
The big benefit that’s not obvious is the experience that is created with a company’s brand. For example, a user that comes to your website to shop for jewelry will form a perception of your brand based on how easy it is to find a product the user liked, the amount of effort necessary to find relevant content such as product descriptions, and how seamless the checkout process is. This impression will affect whether or not they come back to purchase in the future, share your website with their network, and even contribute to your website.
How Designing for User Experience Works
Designing the optimal website user experience starts with building a site for your visitors by understanding the target audience. From there, it’s all about designing the website framework by using user behavior information, studying the main source of traffic, understanding customer demographics, taking into account existing analytics data, and more. By gathering all the data and organizing how the website will be designed, things like navigation, content, layout and additional functionality can be built.
At the end of the day, the data determines how good the user experience is on your website. While using conversion and sales numbers can get you far, it doesn’t tell the whole story. That’s why UX depends on statistics like abandon rates, time spent on page/site, navigation path, exit page, clickthroughs, etc. Measuring this data and improving upon initial results is what will really provide the best user experience. The challenge lies in providing the best user experience while meeting your website’s goals.
Where Should You Start?
It may seem like it’s a good idea to start with your existing website but sometimes it’s necessary to start with a completely new layout and design. The reason why is because using a setup that isn’t too effective can only get you so far. Of course, if you have a website that already performs well, focusing on improving user experience will only add to how well it’s working. Whether you insist on trying to improve UX yourself or you feel you need help, the bottom line is that user experience has a significant impact on the success of your online presence.