Tips To Improve Your Website’s User Experience and Increase Business ROI
The world is a connected place, with almost everyone who matters hooked on to the internet. It is said that not being on the internet almost means that you don’t exist. Also, as everyone knows, the internet is the only way to reach people all over the world with the least means and effort. The Internet is probably the second best invention for this planet after the invention of the wheel. With internet connected devices in every hand and data charges hitting rock bottom, to have a presence on the internet and to make your presence more presentable is getting increasingly important by the day. In this online world your website is the face of your brand or product/service. It has the capacity to make or break a customer in a few seconds flat. Today when a user visits hundreds of websites in a week, it has just a few seconds when it visits a new website. If you can capture the attention of the user and make them feel good and useful, they would decide to increase their stay. As they increase their stay, efforts will have to be made to convert their staying decision to a buying decision. These efforts are made by giving clients or prospective clients a fascinating user experience that would make them cheerful and give them a sense of security. The objective is to Increase the Business Return on Investment by creating loyal customers.
1. Opt for a device compatible design
As per statistics, 6 out of 10 hits on a website are received from a device. This means that although visitors browsing the website on a computer are important, the majority of buying decisions are made by visitors through devices. It is vital that visitors on different devices get a uniform experience which is not only seamless, but also super amazing. Devices come in a variety of dimensions today ranging from a 5 inch screen-size phone to a 51 inch television screen. There are mobile phones, tablets, laptops and television of various dimensions through which a user might choose to visit. A responsive website with a compatible design can give a great user experience to all these users. Utmost care should be taken to the finer points of design that are reflected on various devices. A website designed with only PC users in mind could be suicidal as it will not be able to put across the correct communication to the user.
2. Keep Testing
A website with a non-working page or a function wrongly working gives the impression that the sellers are not competent enough. This kind of seller is not considered by clients as highly trustworthy. They would easily decide to skip the website and go to another one. It is most important that a dedicated testing team tests each and every utility and functions on the site thoroughly and fixes if/whenever there are any issues. It is one of the biggest turn-off for a user, when he/she clicks something and nothing happens. This especially is most critical in websites where a user is expected to make financial transactions or reveal his/her data. Non-functionality leads to insecurity that is perceived as carelessness of the owner by the user. The key is to create a well-defined process of ongoing consistent testing-fixing-retesting for the website.
3. Judicious use of Animations
The users like to see something moving, something that reacts to their actions. Especially, if it is something that brings a smile to them. Using good and meaningful animations enhances the user experience in a way nothing else can do. However, it is also important that animations are used judiciously. Overload of animations may deviate the message. It may also irritate some people when animations consume their time, even if it is a second or two. Beautiful animations are expensive at times, however, it is really important for the user experience that the animations used are eye-catching and seamless to the entire experience.
4. Manage Page Loading
Page loading times are inevitable. However, it is upto the programmer to manage this no-use time. All users get irritated with page loading messages. There are many users who might skip going further at the page loading message. This is especially the case with slower connections in third world countries or in places and corners where internet access speed is available at a reduced throughput. When a user already has lots of things to do on a mobile in less time, it is difficult to expect them to wait and watch while the page loads. The first technique to put in place is to minimise page loading time. If the time cannot be reduced there are other tricks that need to be played to keep the user occupied. One of the tricks is to load partial information from cache memory. This will make the user start reading something and get themselves involved while the real page is still loading. However, this trick is not useful in all cases. Graphics and animations could be properly used to keep a user engrossed while the page is loading. A good animation, writing or graphics can also give a feel that something exciting is coming up and it is worth the wait, while the page loads. In another page loading technique, some websites offer interesting and useful information while the page loads, while some also use intelligent interactive content, to ask users a few questions that make them think while the page loads.
5. Use bullets to make information simpler
Very good information in cluttered format will get less readers then average level information presented in a good manner. People do not have time and audacity to read each and everything they come across in this connected world. As per a recent finding, a normal educated person today comes across more information in a day today then a person of his level used to come across in a month. This simply means that a person does not have time to read. They will only read what is presented to them in a not-easy-to-avoid manner which they find useful for themselves. They would further read in detail, if they find it interesting. Bullets are a very easy way to convert a paragraph into pointwise presentable information. Bulleted points make things simple to review and go ahead with information one finds useful. Variety of bullet designs, formatting, use of animations can be added to make the info more readable and catch reader attention.
6. Fix Broken links
There are times when one of the web-pages is moved or its name is changed. However, the programmer forgets to alter all the links leading to that web-page. This is the most common reason for having a broken link on your web portal. One of the other reasons is linking to external websites. The external websites may change their names or remove content due to reasons unknown. This will not give results to the user when they click on the external link on your website. Often links to videos, PDFs etc. are given on the website which could be used by the customer for ready reference, This links may send the customer to public websites, news portals, social media sites, video hosting sites etc, However, there are times when the user who has uploaded makes alters the privacy settings of the content, making it readable for limited people. Sometimes a portal may change its public policy or archive the data making the content unreadable. This will lead to a broken link when your website visitor uses the link to access more information. Broken links are embarrassing and frustrates the user. The user has taken the trouble to click the link only because he has additional interest. However, inability of opening the link, may lead him to lose interest or go away from the site. It is most important to check and fix broken links regularly. As we are not real users for our own website sometimes, we do not have the insight into the real experience a user might pass through. It is very critical to have an intelligent approach towards testing and fixing errors as they happen.
7. Update old content
A man may be ready to shell out far more than the value of a newspaper, if he is not able to get the newspaper on a given morning. However, he would not take a look at yesterday’s newspaper even if he is given free of cost. Content comes with shelf-life. They need to be updated as and when required. Old and erratic content annoys the user. It damages the image of the brand. The website owner needs to fix the shelf life of all content when it is uploaded and to maintain the list of content updation deadlines. The content needs to be reviewed for update and updated if required strictly on or before the deadline in the list. Old content is a bigger blow to a brand’s image than you can even think about. In fact, latest and updated content makes the visitors happy and gives them a feeling of a value being added to their information knowledgebase. Your website content is the most critical element for the user. Ensure that it is latest and updated to create a better experience for the user.
8. Call to Action
Call to Action known as CTA by technical people is the element that takes the user to the next level. The user might be happy and convinced that the brand and product is what he/she needs. But, they are not aware what to do next to convert their impulsive wish into a buying decision. A CTA button to ‘Buy’ or ‘Shop Now’ can just make him click and make the payment in a few seconds. However, if he/she needs to spend time and find a way to buy it, there are good chances that you may lose the customer in this competitive world. The more a customer has to wait to buy, more are the chances of changing the buying decision. As per thought process science, after an impulsive decision to buy the product, the customer may evaluate whether he/she really needs the product or not. If they have more time, the mind starts evaluating the available competitors and options for the product. All this process leads lots of buyers to cancel buying decisions. There are other CTAs like ‘Learn More’. Certain things like a house, estate, car etc. are still not check-on-internet-and-buy-instantly type of products. In this kind of process, a user might need more information. Available CTAs like ‘Learn More’, ‘Call’, ‘Send Message’, ‘Chat’ are very useful to bring the customer-in. Once they are in it is upto the marketing team and the product. But, if a prospective customer does not get a way to know more or interact with the seller, you may lose the client to a competitor. CTAs should be as far as possible short in size, maybe 1-3 words. Long CTAs may or may not work as effectively. CTAs should have a very clear message telling the user what he could do. Once a user clicks the CTA the remaining process should happen seamlessly and securely. Innovative content and beautiful designs of CTAs are an add-on to the user experience. Other common CTAs include ‘Subscribe’, ‘Join Now’, ‘Request Call’, ‘Report’, ‘Donate’, ‘Contribute’, ‘Rate Us’., ‘Download App’, ‘Get Free Sample’ etc. PRoperly placed CTAs have a direct effect on Business ROI.
9. Organized Navigation
Your web portal or e-commerce storefront could be perceived as your showroom in a busy business district. However, unlike a showroom where a visitor needs to walk back to the door, a visitor can exit the ecom store in a jiffy just by deciding to do that. Not only that he/she might exit accidentally also. It is we who have to decide how the visitors navigate in our showroom and ensure they have a refreshing and joyous experience of navigation. A webportal with not organized flow, often will have visitors in dilemma on how to do things and do more on the website even if they are interested in knowing more or making a buying decision. On a website the pages are organised in a hierarchical arrangement. A user may start from the homepage and drill down deeper through a series of navigation to reach the particular page which has the content they are looking for. It is also a good idea to have an accessible sitemap that could be referred by those who are lost or who wanted to hit a particular page. A navigation structure planned for a website also includes some pages that could be reached directly and some who may have to be reached by visiting a particular on the website. Some of the latest trends in website navigation includes trends like floating header menus, overlay dropdown menus on desktop and expandable categories in full screen mobile menus. An organized navigation can directly help increase business ROI.
10. Enticing Headlines
Your headline is your most read content. There are a lot of customers who do not read beyond the headlines. There are many who decide whether to go ahead surfing the web site or not just by quickly reading the heading. An attractive and tempting headline can surely impress the visitor. Such a visitor’s mind will sub-consciously decide to give more time to the website. The presentation, color, font and style of the headings and subheadings are also equally important. For example, a heading written with light yellow letters on a black background may be difficult to read for some users. Today many users prefer skipping to read rather than strain their eyes. Subheadings are also very important. Because, a user who gets turned-on by a heading should not get turned-off by boring lifeless content of sub-headings. A website user experience could be enhanced by properly presented and written headings. This will ultimately reflect to increase the Business ROI.
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