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A trillion-dollar challenge – is it time to get serious about UX?

27th February 2024

User experience (UX) comprises a vast array of principles and practices that help visitors navigate your website effectively, engage with your content, and progress to a desired outcome or transaction.

Businesses are becoming more and more savvy to the benefits of user-centric design and embracing the customer experience. But some are still overlooking certain elements of the user journey (thereby deprioritising the customer) – and to their detriment.

 

The perils of poor UX

If an overly complex checkout process can deter 27% of potential customers, consider how many are likely to drop off before they even reach a buying decision. So, while it may seem fussy to agonise over clicks or the wording of your calls to action (CTAs), these seemingly small moments along the user journey can make a huge difference.

So, now that we understand the scale of the problem, how can we go about creating a streamlined user experience based on best practice and customer-centric design principles?

First, let’s define some key terms:

  • Website navigation – the structural elements that allow movement through and action within your site.
  • User journey – the course a user takes, from initial engagement to final decision or transaction.
  • Customer experience (CX) – the way a customer engages with your business across multiple touch points, including your website (impacting their journey, satisfaction, and ultimately, their decision.)
  • Customer-centric design – a design philosophy that hinges on how well you optimise your UX for a commercial audience and the best possible customer experience.
  •  Sitemap – a blueprint of your site’s architecture, helping search engines to index your content effectively.

Optimising website navigation

Website navigation is the backbone of your user journey. Without effective menus, buttons, and links, your site would have no direction. These elements should guide users to the information they need, and onto the next logical step.

Effective navigation can significantly enhance the usability and accessibility of a website.It also enhances customer satisfaction, improves engagement, and can lead to better conversion rates.

So how can you ensure your website navigation meets UX best practices? Here’s a simple framework (and mnemonic) you can use: SASS ME

Simplicity

An uncomplicated menu structure facilitates quick information retrieval and task completion.

Accessibility

Employ readable fonts, contrasting colours, and strategic placement to enhance visibility.

Signposting‍

Clear, easy-to-read labels and buttons (with calls to action (CTAs) like ‘Contact us’ or ‘Request a quote’) provide users with direction and an understanding of what to expect.

Sitemap

Website navigation isn’t solely about your users. A sitemap needs to be readily available so that search engine crawlers can navigate it effectively too. It can also be a great place to start when planning your information architecture.

Mobile optimisation

With over half of internet traffic coming from mobile devices, navigation should be touch-screen friendly for effortless tapping and responsive browsing across every device size.

Engagement

Your navigation menu isn’t the only way your users jump from page to page, so use your content blocks and CTAs wisely. A more engaging user journey encourages longer sessions, improves conversion rate, and makes navigation intuitive and enjoyable.

Understanding the user journey

Setting out the perfect user journey involves understanding and mapping out how users interact with your site from their first visit to the final action you want them to take. This could be making a purchase, requesting a quote, registering interest, or getting in touch.

The goal is to create a seamless, intuitive, and satisfying experience that guides users towards each of your desired outcomes.

Best practice for setting up an effective user journey:

By following just a few simple steps, you can create a watertight user journey that minimises bounce rate and maximises conversions.

1. Understand your audience and create personas

Start by understanding your target audience. Research their needs, preferences, pain points, and behaviours. Then, create user personas to represent different segments of your audience. This helps in tailoring the journey to different user needs.

2. Define user goals and business objectives

Identify what users want to achieve on your website (e.g. find information about your services, buy a product, read industry news) and align these goals with your business objectives (e.g., increase sales, generate leads).‍

3. Map the current user journey

Analyse the existing path users take on your website using tools like Google Analytics, heatmaps, and user feedback. Identify any pain points, bottlenecks, or areas where users drop off. You’ll also want to consider how users will enter your site (homepage, landing pages, blog articles) and optimise these entry points.

4. Tailor content and simplify conversion

Ensure your content addresses the needs, desires, and questions of your users at each stage of their journey. Crucially, minimise the number of steps needed to complete a conversion (e.g. making a purchase, signing up for your newsletter, or getting in touch) and ensure forms are simple and easy to fill out.

5. Optimise for different devices and channels

Ensure your website is responsive and provides a seamless experience on desktops, tablets, and smartphones. Consider how different channels (social media, email, ads) impact the user journey and optimise accordingly.

6. Incorporate feedback loops

Use surveys, user testing, and analytics to gather feedback on the user experience. Regularly review this feedback to identify areas for improvement. And finally: test, test, test!  Constant testing and optimisation will ensure your site stays up to date, your users enjoy the best possible experience and you’re ahead of any issues or bugs that may arise.

By prioritising UX, businesses can ensure higher levels of customer satisfaction, but also engagement, trust and loyalty, leading to increased conversions and retention. So, investing in a meticulous, user-centric design approach is not just a best practice, it’s a strategic must.

If you would like a free consultation to discuss your website’s UX contact us at [email protected].

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