User Experience is Make or Break for Websites [2021]

Wednesday, 17th March 2021

What is it about certain websites that keep us coming back for more? And conversely, what is it about other sites that have us either simply clicking away as soon as we land on their home page, or getting so frustrated as we browse that we close the site no matter what stage of the process we’re in?

It all comes down to one simple thing: User Experience.

According to usability.gov, User Experience (UX) is a website’s ability to focus “on having a deep understanding of users, what they need, what they value, their abilities, and also their limitations. It also takes into account the business goals and objectives of the group managing the project.”

But what does this all mean?

Simply put, it means that a website has allowed a visitor to:

  • Land on any page on the website
  • Scroll through the different pages with ease
  • Understand exactly what the website is about
  • Complete their intended goal

Within the above functional process, has the website given the user a tangible feeling of:

  • Value – has the time spent on the website been worthwhile?
  • User-friendliness – did the user feel they could find their way around easily?
  • Connection – does the site design and brand resonate with the user?
  • Accessibility – for users with a disability, has the website offered them ways to browse that help them achieve the same feeling of value, user-friendliness etc.?
  • Credibility – does the website give the user confidence that the business and/or information is legitimate and trustworthy?

On the face of it these may all seem fairly obvious…but read the question in the first paragraph again… why is it that some sites capture your attention every time, and become the first option for you when you’re browsing? And what is the converse?

The answer of course is that many websites think they’ve taken UX into account, but are failing at one or more of the core requirements that make a good UX. And those sites that do resonate have refined their UX to ensure their target visitor enjoys a great UX.

What can you do to ensure a good UX? 

Firstly, it’s important to know and understand what your business does and how it’s perceived by your target customers. This will help you define and refine your visual approach to ensure that the ‘first impression’ is a positive one.

You’ll also need to be clear on what it is you want your website to do for your business – are you looking for leads or enquiries? Are you selling products or services? Is your site simply about information? Refining the business imperative will help guide your website journeys that you want your customers to make.

Once you have these two key approaches defined, take the following into account as you plan your website:

  1. Stick to some of the most-established conventions – a simple, easy-to-find navigation, easily-identifiable calls-to-action buttons, where you place your contact information, your search function, social media links and shipping information should all be in places where visitors expect to find them.
  2. Structure your content in a visually-appealing way – use conventional header structures to break up your pages in a way that guides a visitor’s eye easily down the page. Use standard (and preferably sans-serif) web-fonts and enough variety in size, weight, colour and type-contrast to give all the visual clues a visitor needs.
  3. Keep your content succinct and your paragraphs short – you should have enough relevant content on each page to give visitors the information they’re looking for, and also to help with SEO, but break paragraphs up and create enough white space to ease the burden on the visitor’s eye.
  4. Limit the use of ‘noisy’ elements – flashy elements, auto-play videos or audio, too many graphical elements and other clutter can deter even the most tolerant web user. Wherever possible, keep your site simple, visually-elegant and de-cluttered!
  5. Use visual cues to guide visitors – the simple maxim here is ‘if you want someone to click it, make it obvious’ – whether your Call to Action buttons are larger, a different colour or indicate clickability when hovered over, make sure a visitor know what can be clicked on.
  6. Mobile responsiveness – this is no longer an optional ‘nice-to-have’ – over 85% of website searches and visits come from mobile devices, so your website needs to offer a user a seamless experience no matter the device they’re using.
  7. Keep your website light and well-optimised – images that are too large, pages that load too slowly, broken links and other barriers to good UX can be a website killer!
  8. Accessibility is key – all web browsers, including those with visual or other impairments, need to be accommodated by your website. 
  9. Getting your website’s UX right from the start is absolutely critical, but there is also an ongoing process of refinement and evolution. As your website gathers data, you should look to reinvest this regularly to improve areas that need attention and help visitors to your site complete their goals as often as possible.

Remember, the better your UX, the better your goal conversion and ultimately the better your website’s contribution to your bottom line!

Find out more about our website design and development services today. We are specialists in UX design, website design and development, digital marketing and content creation.

Call Realnet on 01223 550800 or email us at info@realnet.co.uk.

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Responsive web design means creating web pages that automatically adapt to work well on all screens. This means they can be seen on mobiles, tablets, laptops and desktops of all sizes.

An e-commerce website is a website where online purchases can be made. This means the product can be chosen and the payment can be taken online. 

A brochure site is a simple website used to give your company an online presence.  This can add credibility to your company and provide valuable information like contact details and opening times.

A sitemap is a way to show Google where your pages are that it might otherwise not find. It is a list of pages on your website. It means that you know Google knows about your site and can index it correctly.

A product website is simply a website where all your products can be displayed along with images and any information that is relevant. These products can be managed easily allowing them to be grouped properly and be updated when needed. 

Built to meet the requirements of busy companies, LeanCMS is the modern business web solution.

With a large choice of features, from data importing, product management, customer logins, guest check-outs, industry compatible software such as Sage to photo galleries and foreign language pages; your website can reflect how bespoke, responsive and unique your business is.

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LeanCMS will give you the ability to easily change the parts of your site that need to be regularly updated. It's also foolproof, so you really can't break your site!

You may have a requirement that requires a very specific user journey or need a solution that makes your business run more efficiently at the consumer interface or behind the scenes. You may just have a business idea that needs a digital platform to bring it to life.

Whatever your needs, our team is ready to work with you from conceptualization and design, and coding and implementation, to ongoing support and optimization as your web application develops. Examples of bespoke web development would be:

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At Realnet we’ll take the time to look at your business and meet with you via Zoom or in person.

We will then suggest what we think is best for your business. Our websites are primarily:

 

Brochure Websites 

 

E-commerce Websites 

 

Bespoke Websites 

 

Directory Websites 

 

Product Catalogue Websites