15 things you can do to improve your website’s User Experience

15 things you can do to improve your website’s User Experience

A quick overview of the User Experience

User Experience is not just the visual aspect of your website. , the visual aspect is just a part of it. This term is often used to refer to the overall experience of a person using your website.

Why should you care about User Experience and how is it linked to the SEO?

User Experience is something that matters a lot more than back links and other bits that SEO folks were focusing on in the 2005 – 2013 era. If a user is not finding your landing page useful, he will very likely go back to Google and that is not good enough any more. You have to deliver and keep the visitor engaged on your site. The ultimate goal from the Search Engine’s point of view is to get the searcher to the page with the correct information as soon as possible.

Improving your the User Experience of your visitors is more vital than ever. Here is a list of 15 items you can work upon today to score some easy wins over your competition and make your User Interface grandmother-proof.

1. Stop Those Auto Playing Videos/Audio

Jack's reaction to auto playing audio reaction

Jack does not like auto-playing videos or audio

Auto-playing  video or audio is one of the most annoying element you can have on your web-page. You might be in love with the new video your company has just produced but imagine how annoying it would be for a user checking out your website at night with his wife sleeping next to him. Embed a video but let your users choose when they would like to play it.

2. Improve That Page Load Speed

On the internet, there is no such thing as the 10 second rule. The ideal page load time is below 3 seconds. An average user’s attention span is not very long and very often you are in competition with not just your competitors but other items like games on hand-held devices or anything else more interesting than a page trying to load.

Buying a good hosting package is just the first of many steps to ensure that your page loads lightning fast. Check your website’s performance on websites like gtmetrix.com , pingdom.com and Google’s Pagespeed Insights. These tools give you a relative idea of your page speed and suggestions to improve the load time of your website.

3. Have Concise Forms

Retrieving unnecessary information is not only annoying for the users but can also hurt your conversion rate. A Contact form should not have a picture challenge. A simple quote request form should not ask for the address and phone details.

4. Use realistic photos.

A lot of websites use stock photos. It’s not that hard to have your own unique photos that relate to copy. If you really have to use a stock photo, be careful, try searching by image and see if one of your competitors is already using the stock photo you plan on using.

5. Avoid Blinking Text and Flashy Animations

The blinking text has become obsolete and I haven’t seen it being used anywhere apart from some dodgy websites.

6. Choose your font & text colour wisely.

A good contrast between the text and the background colours is just as important as having the right font combination on your website. Both these factors contribute towards the readability of your copy. If you know there are some readers who are going to be reading your content during the night, having a night mode (like some pdf reader apps) can be really useful to a lot of users. Also make sure your text is easy to read.

7. Ask for a Second Opinion from people who are not in the IT Business

It’s incredible how sometimes you can oversee the simplest of usability related things. There’s nothing wrong with asking a second opinion from the people you know. Ask your work colleagues, friends, friends of friends you’ve never met before (facebook, twitter, google+) to provide you with some constructive feedback on your website’s usability.

8. Make sure the navigation is not hard to follow

The navigation is one of the most important elements of your site. It establishes the structure of your site, allows users to navigate between the two sections of your site and if you wish, even gives the users a starting point.

If you blog on a multitude of subjects, it will help the users quite a lot if you add your main categories and their sub categories in to your navigation. That way, if someone is interested in one particular subject, he can access all those posts with just one click.

Be thoughtful of  mobile users also and make sure your navigation is responsive.

9. Tell your users where they are

You are here map image can go here

Users are accustomed to having a trail of their location on the site at the top of your content (some websites like apple.com have it in the footer). Getting your breadcrumbs setup is quite easy. Yoast’s wordpress SEO plugin comes with this functionality built in and makes use of schema.org’s markup for breadcrumbs.

10. Avoid the use of Sliders

Avoid the use of sliders with large size images that increase your page load time unless you are completely convinced that you really need it.

11. Make sure your Website’s Design is Responsive

This is one of the key items in this list since Google is really pushing the Website Owners to make their website mobile friendly.

12. Do not publish low quality content driven by Keywords

If you are taking some time to go through these points, chances are your users are your potential clients. It pays to show some respect to their time. Write your content yourself or hire a good copywriter who knows how to word the message you want your brand to give to your customers.

13. Don’t have more than three advertisements on a page

People do not like seeing the products they are not interested in seeing. Do not inundate your visitors with advertisements. If it is your main revenue, find a sweet spot and don’t show more than 2-3 advertisements on a page. Don’t use flashy images if possible.

14. Avoid any Surprise Pop-ups

How often have you visited a website that prompts you to like their facebook page in order to continue reading. Do you find it annoying? So do others. Please do not annoy your visitors by adding a similar pop up box no matter what Conversion Rate Optimisation experts’ stats suggest. The truth is that if your content is good, people will find that subscribe box on your website. I like to place the subscribe box just underneath my posts. if the user has taken his time to read my post and he likes what I have to say, he will subscribe to get more updates in the future.

15. [Mobile] Don’t have the actionable tap items (links, submit buttons, tabs, etc) too close to each other.

In this study conducted by MIT Touch Lab, the average width of a index finger was determined to be 1.6 to 2 cm (16 – 20 mm) for most adults. This is just an average width and there will be people with fat fingers who will find it hard to tap the target accurately if it is too close. The best way to test this is by browsing your website on your phone and as asking a friend with fat fingers (if you have one) to do the same.

If you have a great tip, share it with us in the comment section below.

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