Your website's User Experience is probably the most important thing you need to get right. It underpins the whole fabric of your website and therefore your online business.
There are an endless amount of websites competing for a limited number of customers.
And these are customers that won't even wait longer than a few seconds for a website to load before heading elsewhere. According to Akamai, 40% of users abandon a website if they have to wait just 3 seconds.
So, on that note, let's look at 8 ways to improve User Experience (UX) on your website with these free UX tools and tips.
1. Speed Up Load Times
As a start, you need to reduce the amount of content that needs to be loaded whenever a user heads to your page.
Simplify and streamline the layout of your page, reducing the number of elements. Reduce the file and pixel size of your images. Put key information above the fold.
Try using these tools to get started:
- Use Yslow to examine your site's speed and get tips on how to improve it.
- Try Google's PageSpeed Insights extension tool to analyse and optimise too.
- If you are offering high quality, large file sizes on your pages, try enabling compression of the page itself using Gzip.
2. De-Clutter The Layout
Less is more. And now this refers to the UX in terms of emotional response, as opposed to load speeds and interaction time. Users are becoming more visually orientated all the time. Aesthetics are crucial.
A sloppy, untidy website subconsciously equates to a sloppy and untidy service.
Check out these sleek websites and use an annotating tool, such as the one built into Microsoft Edge, to make notes on what you like.
Seriously good UX by Coffee Pact
3. Catch Your 404s
Lastly, the aim here is to improve the user's experience on your website so get creative with the 404 landing page.
Admit that you have gone wrong, make the user smile and avoid them getting annoyed, before offering them a way back home.
This will preserve their experience on your website and increase the likelihood of a conversion.
Get some creative 404 inspiration on Muzli.
Photo via Muzli
4. Check Mobile Friendliness
More people use Google via a mobile device than on a desktop. Fact.
You must have a mobile friendly site. If your host doesn't do this for you, check how compatible you are with this tester from mattkersley.com. Then read our blog post on making your site mobile friendly.
We also suggest checking how compatible your site is with different browsers that users may be running.
You may need to adjust your layout and content accordingly.
Cross format examples
5. Proper Spaceplanning
Use this free Lorum Ipsum generator to help you plan your layout before you enter your copy.
Let your layout be the driver and it should lead to more effective content anyway, ending in a better user experience.
6. Be Precise With Colour
Using a simple extension, such as Colorpic, will allow you to be precise with colours.
As said, users are visually led. A consistent colour scheme is key for both branding and UX.
Don't go for a rough estimation.
This tool lets you get exact colour references from anywhere on screen, allowing you to crib from others or blend your own site to perfection.
Features of ColorPic
7. Survey Your Users
There are all sorts of benefits to this and it ties in with the next point too.
You need to know what your users think of your website.
You might love it and be able to get straight to where you want to be, but you made it and know what it offers already. Gather a pool of ready participants and let them loose. Then set up a survey for them to complete afterwards at Survey Monkey.
Alternatively, use free trials or pay a small fee for the very excellent Five Second Test.
8. Finally, Monitor Your User's Habits On Your Site
Knowledge is key and Google Analytics is an absolute must. It enables you to learn which pages people are using and which they aren't, when they are visiting and where they come from.
You can react accordingly and amend what isn't working as it is a signal the UX is letting you down.
Are they even touching that side bar at all? Are they reaching links at the bottom of the page or are they not reading that far?
Then you can tweak things to sharpen up that UX, which should also speed up their time spent traversing your site.
As we've seen, speed is what users are most concerned about.
Example of a heat map of user clicks
Another Ace Up Your Sleeve
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