Some large brands don’t care that much about making their website easy to use. They place too much emphasis on making their site look beautiful, and not enough on making it a beautiful experience.
Maybe they think their brand equity is strong enough for it not to matter, and that loyal customers will engage with them even if their site is a pain to navigate. And maybe they’re right. But for those of us who manage brands that aren’t household names, user experience is at least as important as attractive design.
Website usability plays a significant role in engaging visitors, particularly if it’s their first interaction with your brand. Making your website a pleasure to use shows visitors that you’re competent, considerate and professional, thereby instilling them with confidence in your business and making them more likely to make an enquiry.
So what constitutes a good user experience? Here are some useful tips:
1. Be instantly obvious
Don’t make your visitors think too hard. They don’t want to have to puzzle over things – they want everything they need to be obvious. Who are you? What do you do? Where do you click to get more information? Answer these questions on the first page.
2. Don’t waste time
A lot of people use the web to save time, which means website visitors can be impatient. If they can’t find what they want quickly, they’ll click away. So don’t waste their time with long intros or images that take ages to load.
3. Forget the small talk
Very few people like engaging in small talk; even fewer like reading it. So get rid of the fluff and get straight to the point.
4. Make no assumptions
Don’t assume that everyone understands the technical jargon used in your industry – explain everything in easy to understand wording (without patronising your audience).
5. Cater for different DNA
While your target audience may have a lot in common, it’s unlikely they’ll all use your website in exactly the same way. Allow different entry points for key information – not just in the navigation, but across the site – to ensure that you’re engaging with different users at various stages in their journey.
6. Understand that we’re creatures of habit
When we find something that works, we’ll generally stick with it. Give your users a positive experience and they’ll be much more likely to return!