In the business world of today, a company is only as credible as their website is appealing. With customers being drastically more or less likely to buy simply based on their experience on your site, it has become more important than ever to create ‘perfect’ websites. Below, I will list the top user experience considerations for any company when planning to build their site.
You may have heard about this consideration many times before, but it remains the absolute most important thing when creating a business website. Simply put, the user experience ( UX ) will make or break your company's digital presence.
What is UX?
The user experience is the look and feel of your site. It is the layout, the style, the reactiveness, and the features. Your user’s subconscious reaction to all of these elements will not only determine whether or not they will stay on your site, but it will also impact the likelihood of whether or not they buy.
How do we perfect it?
1. Hook the user’s attention
First and foremost, the UX must gain the attention of the user immediately and sustain it throughout their visit. In an article published by Tower Marketing, any website, article, video or other has around eight seconds to hook the user. This means that your site must be neat, simple, easy to use, and over all provide a positive experience.
One of the best ways to keep a user's attention and direct them easily through your content is to use the ‘Single Column Layout’. The single column layout is one which clearly defines a purpose for every page and lists the contents in neat order, one below the other. A great example of this is the Material UI homepage. You must remember in all of this, a user does not want to think and make decisions, they want to be guided through the content. By taking advantage of this, we as developers, project managers, and business owners will be able to ensure that the users have a very easy and visually appealing experience. The absolute simplest example of this practice in action is on our SEO page, which you can find here.
2. Control and direct the experience
As we mentioned before, the single column layout directs us to create pages with a single purpose, styled with a very simple ‘1-2-3’ direction. Aside from creating a very easy and appealing experience, this strategy allows us to control the path that the user takes, and therefore it allows us to control the flow of content and create a funnel.
We create this funnel by including site links and forms in opportune areas on our site. By including a Call to Action ( CTA ) in the ‘hero’ at the top of your page, and a CTA or a lead form at the bottom following your product / service content, laid out in a simple 1-2-3 direction, creates the easiest and most effective UX for a business site. This funnel holds your users hand, and walks them through your value content (i.e. your product information, sales and marketing material, etc). This can seem pretty complicated but it is actually very simple. Below are three examples of this strategy on our site including the hero with a CTA, product information, and a lead form at the bottom.
When it comes to a business website, the little things cannot be overlooked, and the smallest features can and will make a huge difference. Reactiveness is the smallest of the smallest when it comes to features, if you could even call them features. Essentially, every time you hover over a button and it changes colors, or any other similar transition constitutes a reactive site. It may seem insignificant but it all goes back to that subconscious reaction. Your goal should be to create a generally positive experience for your user as they navigate your site, and these small touches are a great way to create it. You can find great examples of reactive buttons, forms and cards on your homepage.
One more important example of a reactive design, as it can mean a big difference in lowering your bounce rate* is loading with a skeleton screen. A skeleton screen is exactly what it sounds like, it loads the bare essentials such as the navigation bar and loads placeholders where data will eventually be. Below is a great example. What this technique will do for your user is provide a visual placeholder for your website as they wait for it to load. The fight for the visitor's attention is an increasingly difficult one, and by loading a skeleton screen you give yourself the best chance of maintaining their attention even during long load times.
*Bounce Rate - the percentage of visitors who navigate away from the site after viewing only one page.