So you’ve built your website… YAYYY! You have your homepage, products or services, about page, blog and any other pages you need and it all looks bomb digs! Whoop! Whoop! But have you taken a second to evaluate whether or not your site flows properly and allows for easy navigation? This is your website’s user experience and it is just as important as making your site look amazing! Not to worry though, we’re walking you through some of the easiest adjustments to make to improve your site’s user experience so your site not only looks amazing but also provides a great experience for your users.
But first things first, why is this important to your site?
User experience (UX) design focuses on the functionality, usability and efficiency of your website rather than the visual aspects (although they should go hand-in-hand when designing your website). Creating a positive user experience helps users quickly and easily find what they are looking for which ultimately helps:
- Encourage them to stay on the site longer
- Encourage return visits
- Encourage referral traffic
- Increase sales and/or inquiries
Alright now let's get into the nitty gritty -- Let’s improve that UX design!
Take a peek at your navigation. What do you have in it? If you have a ton of links in your navigation this can be completely overwhelming for your user! An easy way to clean this up is to either combine some into a dropdown menu or to move them into your secondary navigation in the footer.
We suggest having no more than 7 main links in your navigation (excluding a customer login or shopping cart link). This will keep things concise allowing you to highlight the main points of your website with all your other information in dropdowns or the footer.
Another point when it comes to your navigation is to rename and/or reorder your navigation. Make sure your navigation titles are clear and to the point. If you have an online shop, title it Shop instead of something like Catalog or Lookbook so users know they can buy directly from your website. It can be tempting to get creative to add a little personality but just make sure they clearly define what that page is about if you do!
Also keep in mind that we naturally read from left to right so make sure the most important pieces of your website are listed first in your navigation. This is why most website navigations are in the order of Home, About, Services/Shop, Blog, Contact. This is because most new users will come to your website and want to learn more about you then your services and then contact you. However, really take some time to think through how your ideal client would flow through your website since every industry is different. This may affect how you decide to order your navigation.
Above the Fold
You want to keep your most important information on each page above the folder. Above the folder means the part of your page that your users see before they begin to scroll. This will give your users a quick view of what they can expect from that page ultimately help keep them on that page to explore longer.
This is where your web design meets UX design though. You don’t want to load the top of the page with so much information that you overwhelm your user either. Consider if there is a way to rearrange your content to provide the important information upfront in an aesthetically pleasing way. Finding a balance can be tricky but this will ultimately help improve your UX while still keeping your site beautifully designed!
This is so insanely important in creating a positive user experience. Your call-to-actions (CTAs) direct your users around your website so you want to make sure they flow in the best way possible. While your navigation will help with this, implementing call-to-action buttons and graphics throughout your website will help encourage users to click through and explore your website even further. This can be as simple as creating buttons saying “Learn More About Our Services”, “Shop Now”, or “Check out our portfolio” in appropriate areas on your site. You typically want these after content that has already explain a little more though. For example, at the end of your About page it may make sense to add a CTA to direct users to your portfolio. Something along the lines “Interested in learning more about how we can help? Take a peek at our portfolio!”
Take a look at each page on your website and see where it makes sense to add some CTAs so you can help direct your users around your website and ultimately land a sale or inquiry!
Your homepage is a snapshot of your overall website so you want to make sure you are highlighting the main points of your business right up front! Chances are most of your new traffic is landing on your homepage first so the design of this page is essential to directing those users around your website to keep them on your website longer to learn more. (Because nobody likes to land on a site that they 1) have no idea what it's about and 2) can't easily navigate to the information they are looking for!)
We suggest evaluating the main pages you’d like your users to visit and then create graphics for the homepage to direct users to those pages. This can be graphics for a homepage slideshow and/or various buttons. Consider your various services or product categories and how you can direct users to these pages. You may also have seasonal or holiday specific promotions you’d like to offer meaning you can swap these graphics out when applicable!
Search Bar, Summary Blocks, and/or Category Buttons
Now that you have everything else all set, you might want to consider implementing additional features to make it easy for users to find what they are looking for or similar content. This can be as simple as implementing a search bar and displaying it in a prominent area so users can easily search your entire site and/or blog.
Other options would be to add category buttons. This makes the most sense for your blog and/or your shop. You want to make sure your blog posts or products are first categorized appropriately. Then create your category buttons (custom graphics or simple buttons through Squarespace) to add to your blog sidebar or on your shop. This will make it seriously easy for users to click on that necklace category button to see all the necklaces you sell increasing your chances to sell even more (Score!).
Similarly, you can use the summary block on Squarespace to add related blog posts to the bottom of each of your blog posts. This will show your user related posts they may be interested in helping them get more of the information they are already interested in.
As you can tell any steps you take to make it easier for your website visitors to navigate your website so they can find the information they are looking for is essential for improving their user experience. Take your time going through your website page by page evaluating where you can implement some of the tips above. This way you can have a beautifully designed website with a great UX design as well!