User experience, or UX for short, is often an often overlooked but all-too-important aspect of website design. In a past post, we discussed three ways to improve your website’s user experience. Here, we talk about just why good UX truly matters.
So, what is UX?
User experience is best defined as the overall experience a visitor has on a website. Rather than being attributed to any single design element, UX is a collective compilation of many interactions and experiences which together contribute to positive or negative feelings about any given website and, by extension, the brand or company that owns it.
The easiest way to understand user experience is to think of it in terms of the brick-and-mortar world. Someone visiting your website is the equivalent of a potential customer walking into your retail store or office. If they have a bad experience, don’t find what they’re looking for, or can’t get someone to help them, they will leave and never return.
The difference between User Experience and User Interface
UX is rarely mentioned without reference being made to UI (user interface) in the same sentence. While UX is the total picture of what comes together to provide a better experience to meet the wants and needs of website visitors, user interface refers to the look and feel of a website, as well as its interactivity and responsiveness.
Often interconnected, UX and UI may go hand in hand, but their partnership can be an uneasy one.
A visitor to your website could be quite impressed your site’s user interface, finding it visually appealing, but ultimately leave disappointed because the user experience didn't live up to their expectations.
Why user experience matters so much
Websites that are successfully developed and designed with user experience in mind effectively highlight and promote your products and services, while portraying your business in a positive light, which is a vital part of establishing consumer confidence.
Conversely, in the case of poor user experience design, even with a great product, stellar service or compelling content, a website that lacks an appealing UX could break a sale and even lose a customer for life.
Remember, in the online world, any inconvenience or problem (real or perceived) can negatively impact your business and cost you customers.
So, just how important is user experience?
Consider these interesting facts by the numbers:
- 79% of customers who experienced poor website performance would be unlikely to return and 44% of them would share their bad experience with a friend, according to Kissmetrics.
- The CMS Report showed that mobile users are five times more likely to abandon websites that are not optimized for their devices and 57% of them say they wouldn’t recommend a business with a poorly-designed mobile site.
- According to visually, 85% of user feel a company's mobile website should be as good as or better than their desktop website.
- Research by Adobe showed that 39% of visitors will leave a website if images don’t load or take too long to load.
- A Forrester study found that while a well-designed user interface could increase website conversion rates by as much as 200%, better UX design could boost conversion rates up to 400%.
- A KoMarketing report said that 51% visitors believe that “through contact information” is the most important thing missing from many company websites.
Ways to improve your website’s user experience
- Implement mobile-friendly and responsive design.
- Optimize your page loading speed.
- Selectively and wisely use images.
- Use ample white space for easy readability.
- Make CTAs action verbs and psychological triggers.
- Differentiate hyperlinks with a different color or underlined text.
- Include educational content with well-written and designed headlines.
- Keep your pages consistent throughout your site.
- Work to eliminate annoying “Page not found” 404 errors.
- Include contact information with at least an email address (instead of just a form)
In today's digital marketing landscape, your website is a powerful asset that anchors your digital marketing efforts, performing 24/7, 365-day promotional and sales activity.
By providing visitors with the best possible user experience when they visit your website, you stand a much better chance of not just encouraging them to stick around to complete a purchase or do business with you but of convincing them to become repeat customers.
So, whether dealing with an existing site or planning to have one created from scratch, investing in strong UX design will pay dividends over the long haul by making your website the centerpiece of your marketing efforts.