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Written by Caroline Cox on Aug 10 , 2021

Because a good user experience and a successful website go hand in hand. 

Here, you’ll find:

  • How website UX is defined
  • Tips for making your site user-friendly
  • What to keep in mind for mobile UX
  • Expert insights to boost your user experience

Recently, I started shopping at a new grocery store. 

When it came to food shopping, I used to default to the store closest to my house. But after a while, I grew weary of weaving through the too-small aisles, too-long lines with too-few cashiers, and a limited selection that often left me with items uncrossed on my shopping list. 

Now, I go to one that’s a bit further away, but the experience is so much better that it’s worth the extra minutes of my drive. 

This idea can also be applied to your business website. Especially if you find yourself in a competitive industry, the experience you provide your potential and current customers can be a game changer (both for site visitors and your SEO). And that experience often begins with your website. 

Whether you’re launching a new site or revamping an existing one, this checklist will help ensure that your website UX doesn’t fall to the wayside in the process.

woman working on computer

It’s crucial to think about the “why” behind your site’s design and offerings. (Image via Unsplash)

What is website UX design?

User experience (or UX) “focuses on having a deep understanding of users, what they need, what they value, their abilities, and also their limitations,” according to Usability.gov.

With businesses, website UX design basically means creating a website with elements that make it easy for the visitor to navigate, read, and find what they’re looking for. 

Here are 6 ways you can set your site up for the best possible user experience.

1. Conduct a site audit

Before you start making plans and changes, take the time to examine where your site’s user experience currently stands. Ask questions like:

  • Do you have any dead links or 404 errors? 
  • Are there pages that are outdated or no longer relevant to your audience? 
  • Is there a pop-up or call to action (CTA) that gets no love and needs reworking? 
  • Does the About page still accurately reflect your company’s mission and team?

Once you have the answers to these and other similar questions, you’ll be able to properly plan for any changes. You may even be able to identify a few quick wins and fixes in the process.

2. Think about your user

Marketers talk a lot about intent. That’s because it’s crucial to think about the “why” behind your site’s design and offerings. Why are people coming to your site? What are they hoping to accomplish or find? What questions do they want answered?

For example, if your site has a login option, you’ll want that to be easily found on your homepage for the best user experience. You also don’t want to bombard visitors right from the get-go with a slew of pop-ups, CTAs, and offers.

Rather, information should be well-organized without too many visual distractions, so people don’t have trouble navigating to where they want to go. (We’ll get more into the UX design aspects below.)

3. Check your site navigation

Simple site navigation is one of the most important aspects of website architecture, AKA the structure of your site. You want it to be as clean, easy to understand, and functional as possible.

Some tips for creating site navigation with UX in mind include:

  • Clear page labels in the drop-down menu
  • Making sure navigation and labels are easy to access and use via mobile
  • Minimal header (and footer, if applicable) navigation links
  • No tier-two drop-down menus unless they’re absolutely necessary

You can also consider breadcrumb navigation. HubSpot explains this as “a design tool often used by UI designers to visually increase the usability of a website.” 

Similarly to a URL that might be structured as homepage.com/blog/blog-post-title, it helps users visually see the path they took to get to the current page they’re on. UX Planet adds that this is helpful because it answers the questions, “Where am I?” and “Where can I go?”

Pro tip: A speedy site enhances your visitors’ experience and helps them find what they’re looking for in a flash. Google’s PageSpeed Insights tool will help you determine if yours is where it should be.

4. Avoid excessive pop-ups

First off, we’re not against pop-ups in theory. When done right, they can be effective and helpful tools to get users to take actions from subscribing to a newsletter to downloading a whitepaper. But when done wrong, they can annoy your site visitor and cause them to bounce in frustration.

The trick is using them sparingly and thoughtfully. If someone reads three blog posts about a certain product or service, you could employ a pop-up that offers a discount code or free consultation. 

But beware of leveraging pop-ups on your mobile site: this is almost always a poor user experience and doesn’t end with the visitor taking the desired action. 

Pro tip: Conduct regular A/B tests for elements on your site to see which ones people respond to best. This could be anything from the headline on your homepage to the color or verbiage of a button. Just make sure to only test one element at a time to get proper data.

man designing a website on a tablet

You can use visuals as guides to direct attention where you want it to go, such as having arrows or a photo of a person looking in the direction of an onsite CTA. (Image via Unsplash)

5. Be strategic about visuals

You may think whitespace (or the absence of images and text) is a waste when it comes to your website. After all, you could be using that space to attract and engage your visitor, right? Well, not exactly.

As the Interaction Design Foundation reports, marginal white space surrounding paragraphs affects the user’s reading speed and comprehension. It allows the reader to fully take in your content without feeling overwhelmed. 

Other strategic UX design elements include being thoughtful about the images and graphics you do use. Make sure any icons are designed with your target audience in mind and mesh well with your overall brand aesthetic. You also want any images to reflect your audience. 

Moreover, you can use visuals as guides to direct attention where you want it to go, such as having arrows or a photo of a person looking in the direction of an onsite CTA. 

Pro tip: No matter how much text your pages feature, you want it to be easy to digest. Opt for elements like headings, bullet points, and hyperlinks over big blocks of text. This can improve your site UX and ensure you get your message across properly.

6. Analyze the data

You can learn a lot about how people use and navigate your site through data. For example, heat map tools like Hotjar can tell you what areas people are clicking and gravitating to most on certain pages.

Analytics reports can show you which pages people bounce most often and most quickly from. (Though a high bounce rate doesn’t necessarily mean a page is unsuccessful.)

If you’re relaunching or revamping your site, or just want to get a pulse check on usability, have team members or stakeholders click around then fill out a short survey to get their thoughts on any snags or challenges they run into. 

The takeaway

You may or may not have a lot of the main tenets of UX baked into your site already.

Either way, it’s wise to be conscious about the aspects that go into a strong user experience so you can make sure to keep them prioritized as your company grows and iterates. 

If you want visitors to have a positive, seamless experience when landing on your site, prioritizing website UX is a great way to do just that. 

Need more insight into creating a positive user experience through digital marketing? Let’s chat.

Caroline Cox

Caroline Cox

Caroline is HawkSEM's content marketing manager. She uses her more than 10 years of professional writing and editing experience to create SEO-friendly articles, educational thought leadership pieces, and savvy social media content to help market leaders create successful digital marketing strategies. She's a fan of seltzer water, print magazines, and huskies.

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