In this post we move more into the User Experience design topic and we will try to define a “recipe” for a good UX, starting from the definition those ingredients, that in our opinion are essential for any client to reach their business goals best.
First step for sure is about defining these goals – suppose that your site’s goal is to create brand awareness: first of all you have to work on valuable editorial content, clear and well organized. That could be articles, blog posts, reviews and videos about the products/services offered, but also news and curiosities about the brand and its history can be good elements for a start.
Given these premises, what are the guidelines that a site with branding purposes should definitely follow in order to offer users an optimal UX?
1. Quality Contents: going back to suitable editorial content, the main rule here is “less is more”: a site full of information and contents can be ok, but be careful not to overload it, confusing or even annoying users with it. Analytics tools will help you even at this early stage: you can figure out who your audience is, who searched for your product/service online, then accordingly create the right contents for your site. Particularly valuable is demographic information (gender and age of the visitors) that allow you to accurately identify your audience and define contents:
- if your audience is more “pink”, you could launch a contest on more female social networks (eg. Instagram)
- if visitors are mostly men, you should focus more on technical details about the product
- in case of a young audience you can include video contents or video games
2. Speed is a key feature not only in terms of site’s loading time, but also talking about tasks to accomplish and quality of contents. They should not only be well-targeted, but also friendly to use: why put many videos, image carousels and highly interactive contents if, for example, almost 2/3 of your visitors come from mobile devices?
In 2013, Amazon declared according to their data, that you are losing 1% of sales every 100 milliseconds site’s loading time increase.
This certainly applies to e-commerce sites, but also in case of a branding site these factors may lead many of your users to “bounce”.
3. Keep it simple. Users tend to get impatient very quickly and once they are on the site they want to get the information they need in the fastest and easiest way possible. Obviously, not everyone is looking for the same information, therefore it is important to balance all the elements.
Using “shortcuts” such as internal search can be a good idea in case of a site with a highly structured navigation path.
As for elements like the newsletter subscription here are some good rules to follow:
- make the registration process easier and quicker by requiring only basic information, such as the email and not personal information
- avoid redirects to other pages – users want to navigate the contents that have chosen to view and not get lost in the form
- for the subscription submission, put two submit buttons directly next to the form, already differentiated by category, in case of more product categories (e.g. men rather than women, sportswear rather than fitness equipment)
4. What you see is what you get: every action has a reaction and that should be clear and well-defined, avoid buttons that do not lead to any content or that do not give any feedback (wheter the interaction is correct or not).
Sometimes websites, even with an attractive design, suggest to perform a particular action (“click here”, “download pdf”, “add to basket”) – but by clicking on it nothing happens. This does not mean that the action has not been performed (unless there are bugs) but this reports the lack of a notification system of the fullfilment of the action. This can confuse and annoy users, who will try to click on the button several times, expecting something to happen.
For example, if an image represents the play button, users obviously will try to click on it, expecting a video to be played: be careful to give a proper meaning to every content in order not to confuse users.
Identifying potention users confusion is simple if you use a web analytics tool: by implementing the tracking of events you are able to monitor the number of unique events. Therefore, pay attention to the ratio between the total events and the unique events: if, for example a 1:4 ratio means that averagely a user has interacted 4 times with the same event and that can be a possible symptom of confusion (for example the button lacks feedback or it is displayed an error message).
All these rules can definitely help you to optimize your UX, but besides the ingredients (that have to be well chosen and high quality) it is essential to follow the recipe: in this case, those ingredients shouldbe part of a continuous optimization process, which starts from the precise definition of goals, goes by performance measurement and its evaluation, in the perspective of a continuous improvement and optimization cycle of your UX.