User experience (or ‘UX’ for short) has always been a massive part of web design, but as the number of devices on which the web can be experienced has grown, it has arguably become even more important.
If you’re running a business, there’s a solid connection between UX and lead generation; a website that’s hard to navigate won’t produce leads - it’s that simple.
So, what is user experience?
User experience is the feeling we all get when we start using a website, but it can also be applied to web apps, smartphone operating systems or software you use on your laptop.
The layout of buttons, menus and content directly impacts UX and can make or break the experience for the user.
Is UX really that important?
Yes - particularly when it comes to business websites. UX is there to fulfil the needs of the user and provide a positive experience.
Most importantly, UX should guide website visitors down a path towards a specific goal. For your business, that might be new lead, download of an eBook or an actual purchase; whatever it is, the UX on your website needs to have that goal firmly in mind - always.
So, let’s think about how we can define a brilliant user experience for your website.
Understand what your customers want
Before you put pen to paper or ask a web designer to build your website, you need to put yourself in the customer’s shoes.
What do they want from your website? What do they expect to see when it loads for the first time?
This is a classic marketing task for which there are tried-and-tested methods to follow. And it starts with the user persona.
By defining a user persona for your website, you’ll get to know the intricacies of your audience. It’s fun, too, because you get to create a fictional representation of your ideal customer (based on the research you’ll have carried out for your business plan).
Some of the elements you’ll need to consider for your persona are:
- their demographics (age, location, career type, relationship status);
- what motivates them; and
- their personality (are they introvert or extrovert, for instance?).
This isn’t a quick process - you should take plenty of time to get to know your audience before you start building web pages.
Designing the flow
Drawing a flow diagram is a great way to get you thinking about how people should move through your website.
Think about the pages on which they might land (it won’t always be the home page, after all), and the most convenient paths they can take towards conversion.
There should be no barriers, no confusing, multiple routes and certainly no dead ends. Sketch out as many flow diagrams as you can and you’ll slowly find yourself planning the optimal UX for visitors to your website.
We’ve seen far too many websites that haven’t been properly user tested. And that’s such a shame, because it invariably ends with a UX that simply doesn’t make sense.
You won’t get the UX right first time - it’s almost impossible. This is why user testing (both in-house and externally) is so important.
You can do this before the website goes live, too. For instance, the flow diagrams you created already paint a picture of how the UX will work, so show people who sit within your audience definition and get their opinion. Is it likely to turn them from a passer-by into a brand new lead? If not, go back to that drawing board!
Already have a website?
If you already have a website which seems incapable of delivering new leads on a regular basis, the UX is almost definitely to blame. Let us take a look!