Improve Your Website User Experience in 4 Easy Steps

Couple on roller coaster enjoying their user experienceAccording to Wikipedia: “User experience (UX) is the way a person feels about using a product, system or service.” I’ll go out on a limb, loyal readers, and assume most of you want your website visitors to have a totally awesome user experience when they land on your website. Why would I make such an audacious assumption? Well, a good user experience often results in sales, loyalty, and repeat business. And most website owners like that kind of stuff.

So, how do you improve user experience on your website? How do you make your website visitors happier than a kitten in a catnip factory? The answer is this: Make it super easy for your visitors to accomplish their goals.

1. Make a List of Website Goals

I’d recommend taking a few minutes to write down a list of what you think your visitors are looking for on your website, and also a list of things you want visitors to do on your website. Don’t forget to peek into your web analytics and see how people are behaving on your website.

Keep in mind, your goals and your visitor goals don’t have to be mutually exclusive. Once you have a list, the next 3 steps will be a breeze.

2. Clean up Your Navigation

People get stressed when they have too many options. This is not a good user experience. If you have more than 6 navigational links on your page, try cutting it back. Get rid of pages that nobody visits (use your website analytics to weed out your low-traffic pages), and group pages into subpages.  Consider which pages are most important to both you and your visitors, and make those the easiest to get to.

3. Make Your Purpose Clear

Sometimes visiting a website can be like visiting an amusement park. You walk into it for the first time and your expectations are high. It seems like there’s lots of fun stuff to do, but you may not know where to start and you don’t know what choices will bring the most fun. So, you start scanning the landscape looking for signs, looking for the biggest or shortest lines, looking for something to grab your attention and say “this way to the funnest ride you’ll ever experience.”

As a website owner you can help direct the glazed-eyed visitors to where YOU think they will get the most enjoyment. This means you have to set primary and secondary goals for your website. What is the most important thing someone should do on your website? Buy something? Read something? Watch something? Sign up for a newsletter? Whatever it is, make sure it’s painfully obvious to your visitors that this is the action that will be the most rewarding for them.

4. Make Your Text Readable

People scan when they read websites. They don’t read every word. It’s just a side effect of our caffeine-infused, technology-addled brains. So, to make it easier for readers to quickly discern what you are jabbering on about, make liberal use of the following techniques.

  • Lists. Lists are easy to read. Lists with bullet points are even easier to read.
  • Double space between every paragraph. It gives your text room to breathe.
  • Use headers that describe what the text that follows is about.
  • Never use fancy fonts for body copy. Use something like Helvetica, which is easy to read.
  • Use pictures to succinctly communicate what might otherwise take dozens of paragraphs.
Do you have any suggestions on how to improve user experience on websites? Let us know in the comments below.