User experience (simply abbreviated as UX) refers to how a person interacts with a digital interface.
Before you begin to create a website or make any changes to your existing website there are some crucial things you should know about UX.
Content has to be your First Priority
User experience is primarily influenced by content.
The content of your web pages is more critical than the design features of your website.
The ease of use, or any other aspect of your pages that aid user experience need to compliment your content, not override it.
You need to treat content as part of the user experience.
Content is not just a blog post we throw up to rank. Content communicates messages to your users.
As such, content should be an integral part of your design, not a separate entity isolated on your blog. If your content lacks credibility, interesting text, and accurate information, then your website will not be a success.
So what do we need to do?
“Integrate content that can enhance user experience”
Whilst the main content of your webpage is the focus, remember to offer related internal or external resources for your users.
This is what we call “supplementary content”.
Supplementary content has become a newly mentioned ranking factor in Google’s quality guidelines.
The context needs to be justified
One of the most frequently referenced ideas concerning UX is the honeycomb created by Peter Morville.
At the centre of the honeycomb is the value of the content or feature you are using.
Encircling the value we find all the variables that contribute to value.
The technology you incorporate into your web pages does not have to fit all of these definitions, but as a quality guideline, it should.
How many can you tick off?
Remember your target user
Design for your target users.
At the end of the day, your website is your product.
This means that there are a specific set of business objectives that need to be met by users on your website.
What do you want a user to do on each page?
Who are your users?
Why are they here?
What makes them tick?
These are some essential questions your webpages need to address.
Over the last decade in particular, user experience design has become prominent among many everyday products.
This rise is not driven by technology essentially, but more so by competition.
In general, users will tolerate something with a poor design, as long as it serves its desired functionality. But as soon as there is a choice, user experience comes into play.
Do you have an iPhone? Maybe you have a Samsung Galaxy.
They both serve the same purpose, so is it the functionality you’re chasing? Or is it the experience and design?
Do not confuse usability and UX
Jakob Nielsen explains that usability is simply a quality attribute of a user interface.
Basically, usability refers to whether or not the system is hard or easy to operate for the average person.
Where as user experience is all about clear content, simple navigation and finding answers.
Both are essential to the success of a website.
User experience is not one size fits all
Lastly, remember that user experience is not a one size fits all solution.
We are all different.
How we behave and what our desires are also differ from niche to niche.
Your best bet is to design for a specific experience relevant to your target audience, whilst keeping in mind the tailored goals of your website.
Assumptions only go so far. As such, the design of your website will need to change.
Ask your users for feedback and split test pages. Track what works and what doesn’t.
On one of my landing pages, simple changes boosted opt-in rates hovering around 40%, to opt-in rates now pushing 55%.
What were the changes?
Less text, a red opt-in button and I removed the name field. Such a dramatic increase for such a minor change.
Moral of the story is to experiment with user experience on your website.
Let me know what you think and please leave a comment below!