Improving Your Website’s User Experience with UX Design

A UX Audit will solve your website’s problems faster and will generate a high ROI.

According to HubSpot research, about 1/3 of marketers were not happy with their last website redesign. Unfortunately, many businesses do not take into consideration the financial damage having a poorly designed website can have. Here is a regular scenario I have experienced in the past with some clients:

Local Business Experiences a Redesign Go Very Wrong

A local flooring company recently contacted me and told me that their business has been struggling ever since launching there newly redesigned website almost a year ago.  The flooring company had hired a web developer to design a new website with the objective of generating a higher percentage of sales inquiries which would have resulted in a certain percentage of a boost in their sales. Given the local business is still considered small, any boost in sales would have made a significant difference in their operations. After the launch of the website, the owner of the local flooring business followed up with their business manager about the number of leads the website was generating. To their dismay, the website was now generating fewer leads than before the redesign. What went wrong and what options did they have to pursue?

Not All Beautiful Designs are Practical

The business manager spent the next month trying to figure out what the business was doing wrong and how to fix the issue of the lack of leads that were being generated from the website. The entire team brainstormed in multiple meetings until they came up with a list of ideas and assumptions based on what they thought was the issue with the lack of leads. Again, they contacted the same web developer and asked that the individual work on changing up a few of the functions and layout of the website based on the list the team put together. The business manager now felt confident that things would quickly turn around for the company and quickly followed up with the owner to assure that they would soon see better results through the website. Again, to their disbelief after a few months of patiently waiting the website was still not producing enough leads from before the redesign. At this point, the company decided that while the new website looked aesthetically fantastic they needed to look for another solution to help with the flow of leads. They tried strengthening their SEO next. However, after a short while, they realized that their bounce rate was also considerably high. When their new website failed to produce any results, they turned to UX experts for help. In less than 2 months they delivered a massive increase in lead flow. The UX Designer uncovered fundamental issues that were eye-opening to the company but after applying real data based on observation and measurement, the UX designer was able to quickly correct the website and help with increasing the lead flow.

Ask and You Shall Receive

A short time after, the business manager ran into a friend at a networking event who had also experienced a similar problem with the company they were working for. The difference with this company is that the flooring company figured out a UX solution that resulted in a significant ROI. The business manager suggested to the friend contacting the UX Designer to inquire how to apply the science of UX design to improve their website’s lead generation performance. Given that their website also failed to produce results, they hired the UX Designer for their guidance and help. A month after, the website lead flow had greatly increased.

The Science of UX

Simply put, UX Design is based on the science of observation, experimentation, and data. The UX designer through this science produces objective and repeatable results. UX designers observe and take note of website users and through this experience, they design a website that accomplishes the objectives of both the user and business. Many web developers/front end developers who do not have knowledge or experience in UX design often design a website based on aesthetics only. However, UX designers improve a website’s usability performance by creating a balanced alignment between the user and the business objectives. An experienced UX designer follows a well thought out user-centered methodology that includes user research, personas, custome journey mapping, wireframes, evaluation, and implementation.

UX Audit 

A first step many UX designers take is to sit down with the company to review their objectives along with the traffic and conversion metrics to figure out what the data might indicate about the user experience. Afterwards, the next step will be to check the website for compliance with UX best practices.

After the UX designer reviews the metrics and key factors that are affecting the lead flow, they then develop a premise based on data as to why visitors have been performing the way they have, and not in the way the company expected them to:

1. Value proposition — when a user visits a website, what is the perceived benefit in their mind and does it outweigh the cost of the action the website is asking them to make.

2. Relevance — does the website content clearly match the visitor’s expectation? Mismatch and clutter are the primary reasons for a high bounce rate.

3. Clarity — is the content written and organized for easy user comprehension? Does the user intuitively comprehend the value proposition, the company message and call to action?

4. Confusion — What elements, functionality, or information on the website causes uncertainty? Which of these is missing from the website that is causing anxiety in the user? 

5. Distraction — Do the elements, functionality, and information on the website help or distract the user from the business accomplishing their objectives?

6. Urgency — does the website give users a solid reason- offers, incentives, and or language that points to scarcity to take immediate action? 

After exploring these questions, the UX designer often applies various tools that can help with user behavior and website performance. For a period of a few weeks or months, these tools are utilized to gather further data and information to be later analyzed. Studying various metrics and analytics along with recording user interactions on the website helps further designate various potential problems with the current website.

Improving Your Website with User Testing

UX evaluation is the first step in evaluating the current and potential problems with any website or application however, it is the user testing with real users that will clarify the issues. In user testing, a UX designer is able to test user behavior with real users and to prove what factors are causing the friction points and cognitive overloads that lead to low conversion. Conversion is a tool used to measure the percentage of visitors who take the required activities such as placing an inquiry for new hardwood floors. In essence, these are the dots that connect to make a data-supported case for improvements to the website. The deliverable clarifies the problems the UX designer has uncovered, each of which is supported by data rather than opinions or guesses. The UX designer reveals exactly what is working and what must be tweaked with or fixed to improve website performance. In the assessment of the local flooring companies website, the UX designer compared both the user and business objectives and looked for misalignments. The UX Designer generated a report that clearly laid out around 37 points indicating where a user got stuck, could not make a decision, could not find the information they needed, were unsure how to navigate the site and what decision to make, and in many instances, simply left the site.

Use these UX Tools to Improve Your Website