How to Improve Your Website User Experience (UX)

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. 

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

Article Contents 📝

What is website user experience?

Website user experience (UX) refers to the overall experience a user has when interacting with a website.

This includes:

  • How easy it is to navigate the website
  • The speed at which pages load
  • The visual design and layout of the website
  • How well the website meets the user's needs and expectations

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

At its core, UX is about making sure users find value in what you're providing to them. And in order for there to be a meaningful and valuable user experience, information must be useful, usable, findable, and credible.

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.

Other reasons why improving your website's user experience includes:

1. Influences users' purchasing decisions

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

2. Increases website conversions

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%.

3. Improves user retention

In the context of user retention, a bad UX design can be a major barrier for users to return to a website. In fact, 88% of people are less inclined to return to a site after a bad UX.

This can have significant consequences for businesses and organizations that rely on their website to attract and retain customers or users.

Poor user retention can lead to a decrease in traffic and engagement, which can ultimately impact revenue and growth.

4. Greater website ROI

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, a good website 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.

The general principles for an effective UX design as stated by Norman and Nielsen includes:

  1. Visibility of system status
  2. Match between the system and the real world
  3. User control and freedom
  4. Consistency and standards
  5. Error prevention
  6. Recognition rather than recall
  7. Flexibility and efficiency of use
  8. Aesthetic and minimalist design
  9. Help users recognize, diagnose, and recover from errors
  10. Help and documentation

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.

Strategies to improve website user experience

Delivering a good website user experience involves understanding how people use technology and designing products or services around them.

UX designers work closely with product managers, developers, marketers, and user experience market research companies to ensure that the end result meets the needs of customers.

Below we outline key strategies for improving your website user experience:

1. User experience market research

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 user experience 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

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.

Here are some basic usability guidelines to follow:

  • Make sure that links within the site work properly. Internal and external hyperlinks should 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.

  • Consider mobile users too. 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.

  • Emphasize call to actions. Making buttons large enough for people to click and placing them far enough away from each other are two important UX fundamentals. 

5. Ensure content is accessible to everyone

Content accessibility guidelines help guide a lot of web design decisions. That's because you need content that's easy for people to navigate and locate online. Especially those 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).

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, 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 for help speeding up your site.  

Example UX market research study

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

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.

Identifying the target audience

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

Recruiting participants 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 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.

Final Thoughts

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.

As we've discussed in this article, there are many strategies to implement that can help improve your website's user experience. These include UX market research, improving page load times, and promoting ease of navigation.

As a result of a good website UX, your organization is more likely to see an increase in page traffic, which will lead to more conversions and sales.

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

emily carroll about the author

Emily Rodgers

A SUNY Cortland graduate, Emily has taken her passion for social and content marketing to Drive Research as the Marketing Manager. She has earned certificates for both Google Analytics and Google AdWords.

Learn more about Emily, here.

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