Mar 24 2016
It’s not uncommon in the web design industry that a lot of web designers tend to omit or go against some of the most basic, well established and proven principles of user experience. Website design is by no means a simple process, there are a lot of things to consider and bring together, however the underlying purpose of a website is missed when the actual experience of the user is neglected.
User experience is undoubtedly one of the essentials of successful website design so providing the visitor with simple and intuitive navigation, helpful and engaging content, ease of access to popular and important information, and clear pathways through the website that optimally lead to your “ideal visitor outcome” are all must haves for every website.
Here are just some of the mistakes in website design and functionality that fall short of user experience best practice. By correcting these you can only see an improvement in visitor engagement and conversion.
The website load time is too long
Check your website’s loading time. It is important that you optimise your website’s loading time so that it is significantly better than the average speed. Among the most common culprits of long loading times are the sizes of images and videos. Other reasons could be the website code or the over use of widgets and plugins. Site speed is not only important for user engagement and retention but Google actually has website load time as a ranking factor for its search results which makes it an important element in SEO.
The website doesn’t have good navigation
Your website should have a simple, logical and intuitive navigation, that prioritises the content and the users experience based on their needs. The user needs to be able to easily and quickly find and access the information and answers that they are looking for. The website needs to be designed to have a predetermined path for your visitors that ultimately leads them to a solution to their problem and to your ideal website conversion. In order to achieve this, every element of the website design needs to work together – the navigation, content, CTAs, internal linking, and page layout. Lack of direction can lead visitors to frustration, confusion, or worse, simply leaving your website to find what they want elsewhere.
The website has too many pop-ups
As annoying as they are for the user, pop-ups work so you shouldn’t really avoid them. The next best thing is to find a balance between your goals and your users experience. Save the pop-up for the most important call to action on your website and don’t use them for anything else. Additionally, you need to design them for maximum conversion. For an effective pop-up, your design, copy, and incentives will all come into play. Test your messages and timing to make sure your pop-ups are appreciated rather than detested.
The website auto-plays videos
It’s never a good idea to force multimedia content onto your visitors, especially with the sound turned on. Visitors assaulted with auto-playing videos will likely abandon your website because it’s faster to close the browser tab than to find the volume button or they’ll leave simply from irritation. You can increase engagement with your multimedia content by using good website design practices and developing good copy and calls to action. If you really must auto-play, keep it on mute and let your visitors turn the sound on if they’re interested.
The website isn’t optimised for mobile devices
Now with over 50% of people opting to use mobile devices over desktops the majority of visitors to your website are more likely to be using some sort of mobile device. It’s not just about making sure your website is displaying for mobile devices, you need to make sure it’s optimised for them. Mobile optimised web design is so essential for user experience that Google is now penalizing websites that are not mobile friendly. Google considers it so important to user experience, that it will now make your website less visible in the search engine results if it is not mobile optimised.
The website limits communication to a single contact form
Sure, a single contact point through a contact form is the easiest to manage, however it really pays to let your website visitors contact you in the manner they’re most comfortable with. Contact forms are associated with longer response times compared to chat or social media messaging. If your prospect or customer is contacting you for a specific concern, it’s in your best interest to let them reach you at the soonest possible time and in the easiest way. Making your brand available through various channels will definitely pay off.
The website doesn’t clearly show what you offer
It is important that within 5 seconds of arriving on your website a random visitor should be able to know: who you are, what industry you are in and what you do. It’s amazing how many websites don’t make this clear. This process of communication should continue on to what makes you different, how you solve the visitors problems and why they should trust you.
Then your website should guide the visitor seamlessly to a next step that offers them a solution which is also your ideal goal for the visitor – whether this is to sign up or to make a purchase. If they’re distracted by irrelevant photos, graphics, videos, and copy they might not even understand why they’re there in the first place.
The website doesn’t make it easy to share
With social media taking up most of people’s time online, it’s no surprise that social sharing has become very important. If you make it easy for people to share your content they will actually do it. Social sharing buttons are easy to incorporate. Make them available for all your shareable content and you’ll enjoy more visibility and more traffic.
The website doesn’t have a blog
A blog enhances the value of your website in two ways. Firstly, it gives your website more opportunities to rank in search engine results. Secondly, it’s a way to provide relevant and valuable content to your target audience. Doing this will help you establish your reputation within your industry and gain the trust of your audience. This will also result in higher traffic, better SEO, and improved conversion rates. You can also use this content in an email campaign.
The website has poor internal linking
Internal linking is one of the best ways to keep your visitors on the website. It will help your visitors access information that’s most relevant to them and it will also help you improve the organic ranking of your site. Do your best to link all your relevant content to each other. You can also focus your linking to the most important pages on your site.
It might take some time and a little financial investment to correct these web design mistakes. However, making sure that your website isn’t guilty of any of these will help increase engagement, conversions and ultimately your sales.