January 10, 2023/in Technology
Your website is your first impression. Make it count! When running a small business, every minute and every dollar counts. I’ll walk you through the checklist for how to get the most from your website specifically by focusing on the users’ experience, often called UX.
Do the Research
Data is at the heart of good decisions. Look at your competition’s websites and interact with them. Pretend you’re a customer who wants to buy from them. What do you like? What do you find irritating?
Mimic what works, avoid what doesn’t, and find a way to differentiate your company. Loading times (the time it takes for your page to become visible to a visitor) greatly impacts the user experience and directly impacts your user engagement (and therefore your bottom-line). Make sure your loading time is fast. According to 2020 loading time data, 2.9 seconds puts you in the top 50%, 1.7 sec puts you in the top 75%, and .8 sec puts you in the top 94%.
To take it up another level, you’ll want to be prepared to perform user testing. Try a free heatmap tracking tool like Smartlook to see where your website visitors click, read and scroll on your site.
Put Your User First
Put your audience at the forefront of your design. This means you’ll need to understand your users’ needs and weaknesses. Reference your marketing persona (sometimes called “Ideal Customer Avatar”) to help guide these decisions. If you have not defined this for your audience, you need make the time. This will guide decisions throughout this process (and so many other aspects of your business).
On your website, be sure to include the information your user is looking for and write it in a language style that appeals to your audience. Consider the types of Buyer Decision Makers out there: Impulsive, Informational, Emotional, Relational. You’ll want to appeal to each of them throughout your site. Keeping your user in mind, have a clearly defined hierarchy for the content on your website, and write it out using a flowchart.
Plan The User Experience
Now you’re ready for the part you probably considered first: the elements involved in improving your website’s design. Make sure your branding is consistent and your images, icons, and text are unified to increase clarity and improve audience engagement.
Navigation should be easy and intuitive for the user. (That’s why you created that flowchart.) This can be achieved using components like tab bars and menus. Search systems are important in helping your user access information quickly and easily. Informational content can become overwhelming to a user, so labeling helps present your material in a simplified manner.
Next, it’s important to keep accessibility in mind when designing your website. Consider using bigger text and more white space for those with vision issues, dyslexia, and autism. Take the time to test how your website works with a screen reader. Finally, make sure your design works for a PC and Mobile layout.
Your UX Checklist
Have loading times of 2.9 secs or better
Use a heatmap tracking tool to collect user data
Know your audience and write with them in mind
Create a hierarchy flowchart for your content
Make navigation easy and intuitive
Test your website with a screen reader
Written by Jasmine Hughes, Aviatra Marketing Strategist & Cincinnati Program Director