6 ways UX can improve your existing website
Nowadays more and more businesses are realising the financial and non-financial benefits of implementing a user-centred approach to their website or web application. From increased conversions to reduced costs, the investment in user experience is proving its value.
While User Experience (UX) is often considered at the point of redesign and redevelopment, there are steps you can take to improve elements of your existing site to make it easier to use, fit your users expectations and meet business goals.
There is a whole world of user experience techniques that can be explored to improve a website, here is a just a peek into 6 ways it can improve your existing website or web application.
1. Identifying and understanding your users
The first step before making any changes to your website is to clearly identify who your users are. From this point you can begin to gain a crucial deeper understanding of them, their attitudes and frustrations. Creating User Personas is a good way of profiling your key user types.
The reason that your website may not be performing to its full potential is that you may have made assumptions about what your users want, need and expect.
Once you have profiled your users you can start to understand how they use your site. What are the tasks they undertake and in what context do they do them e.g. on a mobile while out and about or on a laptop on work? This insight will directly influence what changes are needed to improve the performance of your website.
Whether you undertake this user research and insights in-house or appoint a UX agency, obtaining focused, relevant insight from your users is key to identifying the changes that will have the most impact to the performance of your website or application.
2. User Journeys
What are the key metrics you want to improve? Do you want to increase conversions through registering an account or making a purchase? If it is a web application, maybe you want to increase usage or accuracy of information being input.
Combining your site objectives with a deep knowledge of your users means you can begin to review the likely journeys users will take on your site. Once you have this insight you can craft an online experience that is ‘easy to use’ and matches users expectations.
3. Getting the content right
Put yourself in the position of a new visitor when you review the content on your site. Where on the screen are your eyes drawn? Is it obvious what your business does? What are the most prominent calls to action? Does it persuade someone to take another action? Is there enough information on the page? Is the content self-explanatory enough? Are there obvious help prompts if needed?
4. Become the user
Whether the goal of your site is to make a purchase or to input data, you need to go through that process as if you were a new user. Is it confusing or overly complex? Are there any obstacles that would prevent someone from converting or completing the desired actions? What happens if the user has a question during the process, perhaps about delivery costs or returns, how does that affect their journey? What improvements can be made to overcome any barriers?
5. Use relevant UX best practice
Whilst anyone could just do a web search for UX best practice techniques, there are real dangers of best practice being out-dated and/ or applied incorrectly.
An UX professional who has up-to-date knowledge and experience of working with different types of digital products would be best placed to advise on the most relevant improvements for your site. An expert review documents actionable recommendations specifically tailored to your site, your business objectives and your users goals.
6. Small changes to make a big impact
UX expert Jared Spool describes how the simple change of a button translated into $300 million in increased revenue. Following user research he discovered the resistance users felt towards having to register for an account for a major e-commerce website. Whilst those who created site believed that having an account would be a good user experience to speed up repeat purchases, users in this case thought the complete opposite. The hassle of remembering the login details and the effort of going through the process of requesting forgotten passwords, was costing the company millions as user were simply abandoning their purchases.
By simply changing the ‘register’ button and giving people a chance to ‘Continue’ without registering, enabled people to go through the checkout process quicker. The impact of this change increased the number of customers purchasing by 45%, resulting in an extra $15 million in the first month, and £300 million in the first year.
Whilst this example is somewhat dated, its purpose is to demonstrate that making assumptions about users is dangerous, and how small valuable changes based on user insight can make a huge difference.
An additional benefit of making these incremental changes is that it can be easier for users to accept smaller differences as opposed to them feeling they need to adapt to a completely new site.
The main principles of UX are about investing in research and insights to inform a user-centric design that is as effortless as possible. If you don’t have the budgets for a full redevelopment, as a minimum, identifying the must-have user-centric changes can make all the difference between a website or application that is a success or a failure.