How to Improve User Experience (UX) For Your Website

website designer creating website development on whiteboard

Whether you're in a small business or a larger organization, we all want customers to engage more, buy more, and return to our websites more often.

But, how do you get them there?

The answer is simple: You need to improve your website's user experience (UX).

Poor user experience is one of the biggest reasons customers abandon websites. And when your users experience bad UX, 91% don’t complain and just disappear without leaving feedback. 

And it gets worse. People form 75% of their judgment on a website’s credibility based solely on its aesthetics.

What's the solution? Companies should invest money into UX design. To get there, let’s explore eight tips to help you improve your website’s UX.

Article Contents - Skip ahead or keep reading


What is user experience?

Before we go any further, let’s set something straight…

What exactly is UX?

According to Jacob Gube, the Founder and Chief Editor of Six Revisions, a web publication for web developers and designers...

User experience (abbreviated as UX) is how a person feels when interfacing with a system. The system could be a website, a web application or desktop software and, in modern contexts, is generally denoted by some form of human-computer interaction (HCI).

The term "user experience" was coined by Don Norman in 1993 as an umbrella term for all aspects of people's feelings and thoughts associated with an interaction between a person and an object such as a tool or machine.

It encompasses many different concepts including usefulness, ease of use, enjoyment, and even aesthetics.

At its core, UX is about making sure users find value in what you're providing to them.

In order for there to be a meaningful and valuable user experience, information must be:

  • Useful
  • Usable
  • Desirable
  • Findable
  • Accessible
  • Credible

The term “User Experience” is often used interchangeably with User Interface (UI), but it actually refers to a wider experience than just how your app looks.

A user's experience with a product is determined by how well it satisfies their expectations and satisfies their needs. As such, user experience is not just about how something works but also about how it makes someone feel.

The goal of creating a user-centered design is to focus on users' emotions and desires, rather than focusing on technical features alone.


Why is a good website UX important?

The short answer: visitors won’t stay on-site if the design is bad.

Data shows more than 55% of visitors spend less than 15 seconds on a website. And 94% of users who distrust a website do so because of its design.

Janice Reynolds, author of The Complete E-Commerce Book: Design, Build & Maintain a Successful Web-based Business, says...

“Your website's design and content will greatly influence your customers' perception of your business, which will in turn, affect their purchasing decisions."

A user who uses an app or website should be able to easily find what they need without having to struggle to understand how to use it. Good user experience is about making sure that everyone who uses your product has a positive interaction.

A good UX not only improves the overall look of your product but also increases conversions, reduces churn, and helps users find what they need faster.

User experience is important when designing websites because it has an impact on conversions. How a website looks and functions are factors that directly affect how interesting a product seems to a consumer and what their chances are of purchasing it.

A good user interface can increase a website's conversion rates by up to 200%. Plus, UX impacts customer retention. 88% of people are less inclined to return to a site after a bad UX.

If you’re still skeptical about investing money and time into user experience design, you should know that according to a study by Forrester, every $1 that’s being invested in UX returns $100. That's equal to a return of $9,900%.

Recommended Reading: eCommerce User Experience: How to Increase Online Traffic & Sales

 


What makes a good user experience?

UX is about making sure users are able to accomplish their goals with ease and efficiency. At its core, UX is about making sure users find value in what you're providing to them.

Don Norman and Jakob Nielsen of the Nielsen Norman Group have been a source of information for years in the user experience community, especially regarding usability and accessibility.

Focused on research-based user experience design, they’ve developed 10 Usability Heuristics for User Interface Design.

Peter Morville created the User Experience Honeycomb. His Honeycomb outlines core principles for a good user experience In much the same way as Jakob Neilsen’s heuristics.

To help you understand what good looks like when it comes to UX design, use Peter’s Honeycomb alongside the usability heuristics.

There are many more rules and principles available out there for guiding your practice, but following these will put you on solid ground for creating a great user experience in your next product or service.

Delivering good UX involves understanding how people use technology and designing products or services around them.

UX designers work closely with product managers, developers, marketers, and others to ensure that the end result meets the needs of customers.

Let’s walk through an example of how an organization can utilize market research to improve the user experience for its website. 


1. Use research to improve the user experience of your site

You can improve your website's UX by using research to guide design decisions.

For example, look at analytics data from Google Analytics and other sources to see how users are interacting with the site. This will help you identify areas of improvement and opportunities for new features. 

You can also work with a user experience market research company to conduct several studies such as moderated and unmoderated website interviews.

  • Moderated UX interviews: A participant and facilitator are viewing your website at the same time through a remote screen share. The moderator watches as the participant navigates through your site and completes assigned tasks. This approach allows moderators to interact with participants individually, asking them clarifying questions or diving deeper into issues they may be having during the task.

  • Unmoderated UX: Requires participants to download an app where they are given a series of tasks to complete on their own. An example would be a task where participants need to find the price of an item. As they complete each task, participants record their screens and must talk out loud to describe their opinions and thought processes. After completing their tasks, participants complete a brief survey to ensure all objectives of the user experience research were met.

Market research helps companies stay a step ahead of their competition by understanding their customers better. It provides actionable data for ways to improve your website design, rather than relying on assumptions.

More on website market research in the video below!

Recommended Reading: Pairing Web Analytics with User Experience (UX) Research


Example UX market research study

Example Company would like to conduct a qualitative market research project to measure how satisfied their site users are with their website. Example Company hires a user experience research company, like Drive Research, to execute this study.

The UX research will help Example Company better understand:

  • The overall site experience
  • Likes and dislikes about core pages of the site
  • Motivations to dig deeper on the site
  • Unanswered questions
  • Reason(s) behind bounce rates on specific pages

The user experience agency recommends conducting in-depth website interviews to fully explore these objectives through a conversational methodology.

The interviews will gather an honest perspective on the website user experience (UX) through an independent third-party lens.


Recruitment

Next, a user experience market research firm recruits one-on-one interviews depending on the criteria set forth by Example Company. Let’s say Example Company is looking to recruit current site users or those interested in EMR systems working in New York State.

Targeted participants include those with titles such as:

  • Care Manager
  • CMO
  • Director of Patient Care
  • Health Home Director
  • Medical Secretary
  • Medical Tech
  • Nurse
  • Nurse Practitioner
  • Patient Care Manager
  • Office Manager (in Healthcare)
  • Pharmacist
  • Physician
  • Physician Assistant
  • Practice Admin
  • Program Administrator
  • Program Director
  • Program Manager

How are participants recruited for website in-depth interviews?

If our user experience market research company were recruiting for the website IDIs, we would utilize a panel of email participants for the recruitment or paid social media advertisements.

All respondents would be pre-screened online and then re-screened by telephone to ensure they meet all qualifying criteria and research standards. After participants are recruited our team would send all qualified participants a confirmation email requiring a “yes” reply.

The email would include the designated date, time, location, and other vital information about logging in for the interview screen share. Participants would also receive a reminder call 24 to 48 hours before the website interview and a reminder text the morning of the website interview.


Conducting website user experience interviews

Before the website interviews take place, it is important the UX research company develops an interview guide to be used when conducting the qualitative research.

The interview document may go through as many edits as necessary to assure both the research team and Example Company are satisfied.

The website user experience interview is generally broken up into two parts: (1) the warm-up questions and (2) the website-focused questions.

Interview Warm-Up

Once the interview guide is completed, recruitment and scheduling for the interviews will begin.

For this example study, the website in-depth interview would likely begin with some general questions about the participant’s role, background, experience, EMR-related questions, and other warm-up activities.

Following the warm-up, the conversation will progress to questions about Example Company (awareness, perceptions, brand associations, etc.)

The warm-up usually takes 10 to 15 minutes before shifting to the screen share with website-specific feedback.

Website Focused

The website will be the focus for the remaining 30 to 35 minutes of the interview. A total of 10 interviews will be completed for this component. A large portion of the interview will involve the participant browsing specific pages of the website and thinking out loud regarding feedback and mindset.

Our UX research company recommends creating several strategies asking the user to visit a particular page or asking them to walk through the reasoning behind their path.

How does screen sharing work with website in-depth interviews?

Those qualified and confirmed for a UX research study will be sent a Google Hangouts link, which allows both parties (interviewer and interviewee) to share screens.

Interviews would be digitally recorded and provided as a deliverable to Example Company.


Analysis and reporting  

A huge advantage of working with a user experience market research firm, like Drive Research, is the reporting deliverable. Example Company would receive more than just charts and data from the website UX interviews, but also a full consultation from our team.

Our UX research reports and debrief meeting allow for the data to be fully interpreted by our research experts. It is important to look for a research team that will work with your organization to maximize the value and repurpose their reports.

By fully understanding and comprehending the feedback from UX research participants, Example Company no clearly understands what areas of their website need to be a priority, or rather what elements need to be improved to offer the best site experience for their users.


2. Understand the people who will use the website

The first step in designing an effective website is understanding your target audience. You need to consider your target audience and what they want from your site.

  • Who will be using your site?
  • How do they use the internet?
  • What problems does your product solve?

These questions can…age, gender, general demographic background, and level of computer literacy.

Once you have identified your target audience, it’s time to start thinking about how you can make their experience on your site as enjoyable and easy as possible.


3. Invest in a responsive and mobile-friendly design

A website that is not responsive will not work well on all devices, especially mobile phones and tablets. Your website should be optimized for all devices and screen sizes.

The best way to achieve this is by creating a responsive design. This means that it will adapt based on the device being used.

A simple way to test if your website is mobile-friendly is by visiting it on your phone or tablet and seeing if the site responds well. If it doesn’t, then you need to make changes so that it does.


4. Design for usability

Your site must be easy to use. If your users have trouble finding information or completing tasks, they will quickly become frustrated and may abandon the site altogether.

Make sure that links within the site work properly and take users where they expect them to go (or at least give them an error message if something unexpected happens).

Your site should have pages that are well-organized and logically laid out. If the average user can't find what they're looking for within three clicks or less, then you have a problem.

There are some basic usability guidelines to follow. For mobile devices, for example, you need to design sites so they're easy to use when using them one-handedly, or when used in bright sunlight.

Making buttons large enough for people to click and place them far enough away from each other are two important UX fundamentals. 


5. Ensure content is findable & accessible

You need content that's easy for people to navigate and locate online. Content needs to be accessible to people with disabilities. Content accessibility guidelines help guide a lot of web design decisions.

Many of the guidelines are good for everyone, not just people with disabilities. You can improve your site visitors' experience with clear design, less busy layouts, and options to change the color or contrast.

Following WCAG rules will help make your site usable, accessible, and enjoyable for visitors.

For example, your website should have an alt-text for every image on it.

Alt-text is a text description of an image that appears in place of the image if your browser doesn't support it (for example, if someone is using a screen reader). This helps blind users understand what images are on the page and how they relate to each other.


6. Promote ease of navigation

Make sure all of the content on your website is easy to find, particularly if you have multiple pages or sections.

If there are links that lead visitors away from the main page, make sure they are clearly visible so visitors aren’t left wondering where they should click next. The best way to make sure your users can find what they want is to provide them with a clear path from one page to another.

This means using descriptive links that are intuitive and easy to understand, as well as providing clear instructions on how to use the site (such as how-to sections).

According to the Information Resources Management Association’s 2021 book Research Anthology on E-Commerce Adoption, Models, and Applications for Modern Business, "When considering the navigation aspects of the site, make it as flat as possible."


7. Use standard controls and gestures

Since most people are familiar with the standard controls and gestures used by most websites you want to use these controls and gestures whenever possible.

For example, when users click on your logo, they expect to be taken to the home page. Most people expect clicking on three dots to open a menu.

When you’re designing your website or app, make sure that you use common design patterns. Use buttons that look like buttons, links that look like links, and so on.

This is especially important on mobile devices where users interact with your site using touch gestures instead of buttons.


8. Optimize your page speed for faster load times

According to Section.io, if your web pages take longer to load than 5 seconds, your website's "bounce rate" can increase by more than 20%. And 40% of people exit websites that load slowly.

Google offers a free service where you can get information on your page speed. You’ll also find suggestions for improving your load time on mobile and desktop.

Another way to improve your page speed is to compress all your images before loading them on your website because the image file size is one of the leading causes of a slow page.

Check out websites like compressor.io for help speeding up your site.  


Improve Your Website UX with Drive Research

One of the main causes of website abandonment is bad user experience.

That’s why smart companies invest money and time into improving user experience design. And now that you’re armed with these eight tips to help you improve your website’s UX, you can too.

Need help with your UX project? Get in touch with Drive Research. We’re a full-service market research company located in New York.

We help our clients to make business decisions using evidence and facts. Market research helps companies stay a step ahead of their competition by understanding their customers better.

To learn more about how we can help provide data to inform your marketing strategy, contact us today.

  1. Message us on our website
  2. Email us at [email protected]
  3. Call us at 888-725-DATA
  4. Text us at 315-303-2040

User Experience (UX)