Your website is like your brand’s brick-and-mortar store. If a visitor can’t find what they need, the store is hard to navigate or they can’t find a sales associate, they’ll leave.
When someone visits your site, how easy is it for them to find what they’re looking for? When they take action on your site, what do they experience? Is it a pleasant on-brand experience or a disjointed, confusing set of journeys?Why User Experience Matters
User experience (UX) is directly tied to how someone perceives your brand. Broken links, non-clickable images, poor navigation and even rude customer service agents can all impact a person’s user experience and their opinion of your brand.
It’s no surprise, then, that a poor user experience can result in lost opportunity and reputation damage for your brand.
User experience, though, goes beyond creating a nicely designed site — it extends throughout your customer’s entire journey with your brand.
Here at Kuno, we have an entire team of experts dedicated to user experience and design. We create an experience across all your web properties that’s on-brand and delights your users. To create the best user experience, we tap our team’s expertise and also use tools that show us how users navigate websites on desktop and mobile devices. Here’s a look at some of the most common user experience mistakes we see.
When you’re creating your user experience — website or otherwise — do you know who your users are? We talk a lot about personas for content marketing, but these hypothetical users are also valuable when it comes to UX. Personas help you understand your target audience and what information they are most likely searching for.
For example, a user who is browsing the site for a pair of child’s boots isn’t going to want to go three to four pages deep into your site to find the right boots. A user who’s comparing software-as-a-service offerings or evaluating medical devices, however, might find it necessary to read several pages before being able to make a decision. That’s where personas come in. If you’ve taken the time to research who your buyers are and how you can help them alleviate their pain points before you start designing your website, you’ll ensure you’re providing a good user experience.
Content hierarchy is the strategic placement of the order of content on each of your webpages. Like an inverted pyramid in journalism, content hierarchy places the most important information at the top of the page and the least important information at the bottom.
You want your prospects to get the information they’re looking for, stay on your site, convert and view your brand as a trusted resource for the information they need. Content hierarchy helps you accomplish all four.
For this wireframe example, we knew from our persona creation process which pieces of information would be most important to each user. As a result, we created site pages that contain the most important information at the top of the site in easily digestible nuggets.
Your persona creation process will give you insight into what kind of content your users find valuable. Your content hierarchy may include things like:
The hierarchy of your content will also help you decide where to place calls-to-action (CTA) throughout your site. Through your research, you might find that people are most interested in comparing products, so you could place CTAs for product comparison sheets higher than you would a consultation or phone call CTA.
Don’t forget visual design elements. Content hierarchy includes the placement of things like images, videos and logos, too.
User experience extends beyond your website — a common mistake many brands overlook. Whether it’s online, engaging with sales reps or customer service or reading a brochure, the user experience should be on-brand.
Consider this example: You’re an online educational classes provider. Your customers come to your site to browse and register for a variety of online classes. Once a customer finds a class they’re interested in, what do they experience when they go to register? Are they rerouted to a third-party registration system that doesn’t have the look of your site and is hard to navigate? Do the confirmation emails reflect your brand’s look and voice? If they have to speak to a customer service representative, what is that experience like?
During your design process, you likely optimized your site for mobile, but user experience goes beyond just having a responsive mobile site. Are your CTAs or navigation large enough for someone to press with their finger? Is your copy concise and easy to scroll through? When someone clicks through to the end destination, does it carry the same look as the previous site?
This example for one of our clients shows the importance of mobile responsiveness. Using our expertise, tools and research, we learned which areas of content were most important to the user and featured them near the top of the page. For the mobile experience, things neatly stack on top of one another and the CTA buttons are large and easy to click with a finger.
You’ve got this great website that’s designed with your personas in mind. Have you thought about how people will find you? That’s where an SEO strategy comes in. An SEO strategy involves optimizing your site pages around topics and keywords within these topics. By doing this, you make it easier for people to find you — by ranking well — and increase your expertise in whatever topics you’re optimizing for.
An SEO strategy isn’t just a way to ensure your prospects find you, it plays into the user experience as well.
As you can see from the report above, having a comprehensive SEO strategy helped one of our clients get an 832% increase in organic traffic.
SEO is divided into three categories: on-page SEO, off-page SEO and technical SEO. Like their names suggest, on-page SEO focuses on the content that’s on your site pages, and off-page SEO focuses on the quality of links directing back to your site from elsewhere online. Technical SEO focuses on your site’s architecture — how it’s set up.
Keep in mind that every site utilizes SEO differently depending on its industry and audience, which is why it can be helpful to have an SEO expert on your team.
Whether you’re designing your website in-house or using an agency, it’s helpful to consider how you’ll address all of the above issues, as well as what your goals are for the coming year and maybe even the next five years. Are there any roadblocks to these goals you can address? Are there any key stakeholders you have to consider as you go through the process? Keeping the answers to these questions in mind can help you smoothly navigate the design and user experience process and ensure you give your prospects an experience they’ll enjoy.