When your website is being designed, either in-house or through a web development agency, one of the most essential elements to keep in mind is the user experience; sometimes referred to as UX. Keep reading to see what UX design mistakes you might be making.
Understanding User Experience
If you’re unfamiliar with the term, it can feel like a big concept to try and get your arms around. In the simplest terms, UX is the process of designing products (digital or otherwise) that are useful, easy to use, and bring delight to the user.
User experience design dictates the kind of experience someone will have when they interact with your product. Let’s use something easy to imagine, like a coffee mug, for example.
There are three main reactions to UX design: no, okay, and WOW!
Great UX design makes users say WOW! Beauty is in the eye of the beholder, of course, but for a coffee mug it might be one that’s:
- Beautifully designed (visually appealing, whether it’s patterned with a cool print or has something funny written on it)
- Comfortable to hold (a well-designed handle and a lightweight body)
- The right size and shape
- Convenient to use (dishwasher and microwave safe)
When something has great UX design, customers take note of it in a positive way. Their experience is so remarkable that it’s worth noting, remembering, or commenting on: “This is my favorite mug.”
If an item has UX design that’s just “okay,” chances are customers won’t notice it at all. It’s not great, but it’s not terrible either. It’s just part of something else.
To continue with our coffee mug example, it might be a plain white utilitarian mug. You know, the one always at the back of the cupboard, rarely used because…well, for some reason. It’s a fine mug, and it works when you have to use it, but it’s not your first (or second or third) choice.
Chances are, if you really thought about it, you might realize that you don’t use it because you prefer other mugs–mugs that have some element of design that put them above this one in preference.
When an item has BAD UX design, customers take note of it in a negative way. This is what you don’t want, obviously. A coffee mug with a lousy UX design could be:
- Poorly designed (perhaps with something ugly printed on it)
- Difficult to use (made of heavy material, or with an uncomfortable handle, or a handle that’s too small to get your fingers around comfortably, or an oddly-shaped rim that leaks when you try to take a sip)
- Inconvenient (hand-wash only, or a shallow, squat shape that cools the coffee inside too quickly)
The experience of using a coffee cup with those parameters would be so annoying and unpleasant that not only would you notice it, but you’d go out of your way to avoid it in the future.
To be successful, you want to shoot for the “WOW” level of UX design whenever you can, and avoid bad design at all costs.
UX design applies to both physical products and digital goods–and the number one digital good that customers interact with is your website. Have you looked at your website from a UX perspective recently?
Poor UX design can lead to:
- Poor conversion rates
- Low ROI
- Customer dissatisfaction
- Damage to the brand image
Excellent UX design, on the other hand, results in a website that:
- Is a pleasure to use (how you define what that means exactly will depend on your target audience),
- Encourages visitors to take the action you desire (most often, sales)
- Provides a positively memorable experience
If you’re suffering from any of the conditions listed above for poor UX design, take a look at your website to see if you’re making one of the Top 4 UX Design Mistakes.
Top 4 UX Design Mistakes
4. Site Search Doesn’t Work Properly
If you offer multiple products, customers might not be able to find what they’re looking for right away. When they can’t, they’ll seek out a search bar to narrow it down. Do you have one? If not, DING DING DING! That’s a mistake right there. Don’t make it difficult for customers to find what they’re looking for.
If you do have a search bar, make sure it’s set up correctly. Will the site still return results if the user misspells something in their query? Can they only search by brand name, or will it recognize other qualifiers as well? Can you add filters?
Frustrating a customer by making it overly difficult to find what they’re looking for damages your brand image, reduces satisfaction, and makes them less likely to complete the purchase process.
3. Few or Ineffective Call to Action (CTA) Buttons
Remember one of the purposes of great UX design: it encourages visitors to take a specific action, such as signing up to your newsletter list, buying a product, or contacting you for a free consultation. You have to ask them to do it, which is why appropriate and well-placed CTAs are so important.
Here are a few “best practices” to keep in mind:
- Avoid overly long or wordy phrases within the button, unless that’s part of your brand image.
- Use the same color for all your CTAs throughout your site. Most frequently, this will be one of two accent colors you’ve chosen for your brand. Using one color consistently for all CTAs of your website can subconsciously “coach” your visitors into taking some kind of action.
- Make buttons dynamic (but not overly so) if possible. For example, do the colors invert when the user hovers over the button? Does a colored shadow pop up behind it when clicked? Adding a subtle special effect is eye-catching.
- Make sure your CTAs do something! Having a well-written and beautifully designed button is pointless if it doesn’t go anywhere once you click on it. Whatever the action is, make sure you’ve set up the next steps so you can take advantage of the fact that the customer did what you wanted them to.
For example, if it’s a newsletter sign up, make sure you have a welcome email programmed and ready to go right away–or better yet, a drip campaign
2. Poor Product Descriptions and Images
When a customer buys a product in a store, they have the opportunity to inspect it from all angles, touch it, and interact with it. The convenience of online shopping doesn’t allow that, so it’s your responsibility as the seller to bring the product to life on the screen.
That means hiring talented copywriters to craft detailed product descriptions, supplying all the specifications a curious customer might want, and including images of the product from various angles, in action, and with other items near it for size reference. You may even want to add a demo video that explains how to use, assemble, or enjoy it. The more information you provide, the easier it is for the customer to imagine it in their lives.
1. Checkout Process is Complicated or Inconvenient
Here it is: the most significant UX design mistake you could be making on your website.
Deciding how to manage the checkout process on your website will depend on your goals, as there are tradeoffs that must be made. For example, do you require customers to create an account before they can complete a purchase? Doing so is an extra step that may dissuade some customers from continuing–but those that do are now easily reachable by email marketing.
If your goal is to make the sale, it is imperative that you remove as many barriers as possible (reducing inconveniences) AND make it as easy and pleasant as possible (adding convenience). For example, how many methods of payment do you offer?
Broadly speaking, the checkout process should be short, clean, and as simple as possible. If you can keep it all on one page that’s best, but if not, include a progress bar so you can manage the customer’s expectations.
Lastly, make sure to THANK THEM when they’re done! They’ve chosen to do business with you. Be genuine and sincere in your appreciation.
In an ideal world, all websites would launch with perfect, WOW UX design. The truth for most of us is that it’s more of an evolution. If it’s been a while since you last reviewed your website from the user’s perspective, it’s time to take a second look–and if you need some help along the way, Tako Agency is happy to help.
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