You walk into a new restaurant in town, sit down, and start looking through the menu. After a few minutes of perusing different meal options, you find a dish that looks promising – mouth-watering description, expertly taken photo, all your favorite ingredients – the works. You decide to order it, wait a few minutes, and soon enough, the waiter returns and places the dish in front of you. With great anticipation, you dig your fork into the long awaited dish, pop your fork into your mouth, and… disappointment. The bite doesn’t taste like you thought it would. In fact, you can’t taste any of the ingredients you anticipated. Frustrated, you wave the waiter back over and ask him to take the dish back, asking to speak to a manager. The experience was nothing like you thought it would be, and consequently, you decide you won’t be returning to this restaurant on account of the frustrating, misleading experience.
Websites are the same. A website can look appealing, be expertly designed with beautiful imagery and graphics – but if it doesn’t function like it’s supposed to, it’s useless. If it’s tough to use, users won’t stand for it. They’ll delete the window and never return on account of not being able to find what they’re looking for.
The goal of user experience design is to create the easiest route for users to find the information they’re looking for. To do this, a designer has to get inside the mind of the consumer and learn what each consumer is looking to accomplish by visiting the site. Are they looking strictly for information? Do they want an easy way to get in contact with the company? Do they want someone from the company to contact them? The job of a user experience (or UX) designer is to find the end goal and then map the path users will take to get there, and to minimize the distractions and interferences a user will encounter while looking for said information. The more distractions, interferences, and frustrations a user experiences while using a company’s website will directly contribute to how long the user stays on the site. The more distractions, the more likely a user is to “X” out of the site altogether.
How can I determine my site’s user experience?
To begin auditing your current website’s user experience, consider the following questions…
What is the goal of your website – is it clear?
Do you want people to call your business, fill out an online questionnaire, schedule an appointment, or simply learn more about your product?
Imagine you are a first time visitor to your website, is there a call to action above the fold line?
Does it specifically related to your end user’s goal (the first portion of the website you see before scrolling or navigating) ? Is the goal clear to the user? How easy/hard is it for the user to find key information related to that goal?
How much clutter is on your website?
Does the design of the website (how the site is laid out, use of color, hierarchy of items on the page, etc.) make it easy for users to accomplish the end goal, whatever it may be?
How simple is your site to navigate?
How many clicks does it take for a user to reach the end goal? How many navigation tabs do you have? If you have drop down menus, do the sub-navigation items make sense under the overarching navigation subject?
How is your website’s user experience? Is it challenging for your customers to find information on your website, or do your customers easily reach their end goals with minimal distractions? If you’re looking to improve your site’s user experience, reach out to us in the contact tab above.