For all the widgets, flyouts, and flashy design you can shove into your website, there’s one factor that can make all of that pointless.
It doesn’t matter how much time or money you’ve spent on your web design if your website is difficult to navigate or annoying to use (you there, with the autoplay video on your homepage).
But how can we improve user experience?
There are a number of design trends with that exact goal in mind. In this article, we’ll take a look at ten of them.
Ready? Let’s get started.
The Robots are Coming
No, I’m talking about time traveling Terminators. I’m talking about Chatbots.
Chatbots have been around as long as most of us have had internet service. Originally, they were quite primitive.
Early chatbots could access information like movie times or stock quotes, but most people found entertainment in their rudimentary responses to basic conversation.
These days, they are much more sophisticated. Chances are, you have an advanced chatbot waiting for you on your smartphone (Hi, Siri).
Many web designers are using chatbots to improve user experience in a number of ways.
They can help users navigate to a specific section of the site or help them find a product in the catalog.
Chatbots can even troubleshoot tech issues or handle customer service requests. And when they get to the end of their capabilities without a resolution, they can hand the user over to a real-life person.
Not bad for a few lines of code.
Act Your Age
Responsive web design is all the rage these days. And with more and more users accessing the web through their mobile devices, you can’t afford to ignore mobile user experience.
But if you really want to improve user experience, you can take it a step further.
I’m talking about age responsive design. This is one of the most cutting edge ways to improve user experience.
What if you could tailor your website for each user who came in? Bright colors and flashy animations for younger users. Clearer text and no-nonsense backgrounds for older users?
Obviously, it’s not cost-effective to do all this work yourself. And never mind the time you’d spend pushing out the site to each individual user.
Age responsive design uses the user’s browser data to create a user experience customized to their age group.
You can play a video for twentysomethings. For older users, you can present that information in text format instead.
It goes even further: you can even show different videos for different groups. Make a flashy video with a rap track for younger users and a straightforward informational video for middle-aged users.
Age responsive design is just barely getting started, but it has the potential to be the single greatest way to improve user experience ever.
Animate your CTAs
The whole point of a business website is that more people would find (and purchase) your product or service. If your website isn’t helping with lead conversion, what’s it even doing?
One of the most effective tools for lead conversion is the Call To Action, or CTA.
A CTA encourages your users to–you guessed it—take action. It might be contacting someone at the company for information, purchasing an item, or signing up for a newsletter.
Whatever the aim of the CTA, it won’t go very far if the customer doesn’t notice it. Many web designers make their CTAs big and bold, placed right in the middle of the page where users can’t miss them. But that doesn’t always work.
There’s a simple fix to this: animate those puppies!
While you don’t want to make it obnoxious, a subtle movement can draw the users eye without distracting from important information.
A Shopping Cart that Works for You
The upsell is one of the oldest tricks in the book. “Would you like fries with that?” is so ubiquitous that it’s become a punchline.
But that doesn’t mean it doesn’t work. In fact—it seems to work quite well.
Many online retailers are turning to shopping cart marketing to boost sales and please customers.
If you’ve ever shopped on Amazon (and who hasn’t), you’ve probably noticed a little phrase at the bottom: “Customers who bought this item also bought…”
Simple Yet Brilliant
The idea is simple. If a customer likes one product enough to spend their hard-earned money on it, there’s a good chance they would also purchase a similar product. Simple, right?
Simple, and effective. When Amazon introduced this recommendation feature, they saw a 29% boost in sales.
And who wouldn’t want to see the same sort of gains?
But even beyond increasing sales, shopping cart marketing can also improve user experience.
Customers are already looking for products that they like. Customized product recommendations do the legwork for them.
Holding Out for a (Cinemagraph) Hero
The banner image has long been a staple of web design. But as screens get clearer and internet speeds get faster, they’re slowly being upgraded.
Many web designers are now replacing the banner image the cinemagraph hero.
Unlike a video, a cinemagraph hero doesn’t offer any information or tell a story. Instead, its purpose is purely aesthetic.
Most cinemagraph heroes are looped sections of a mostly static scene. And unlike video files, they have a much smaller file size, which lets them load quicker.
How does this improve user experience, you might ask? It might seem rudimentary, but the human eye loves movement.
A cinemagraph hero at the top of the page can grab a user’s attention and make them stop for a second.
And when we’re constantly flipping between tabs on our browsers or apps on our smartphones, getting a user’s attention is a win in itself.
Lower Bounce Rate with Skeleton Screens
Remember dial-up? Remember waiting five hours to watch a single music video?
The charm of nostalgia does not stretch back to 56k internet speeds. These days, internet users hate nothing more than waiting.
But they love data-hogging content like videos and hi-res pictures. We are stuck in a paradox. However, there’s a way out.
Instead of showing a blank screen until the entire websites loads, skeleton screens load elements one at a time. While a skeleton screen might take just as long to load everything as a traditional web page, it gives users the impression that the site is loading faster.
And when users aren’t frustrated with how long your website takes to load, they don’t bounce away before they get a chance to see your content.
Fight ADD with Read Time Counters
For all the time we spend online, we’re not very patient.
When most people open up an article, they scroll to the bottom of the page to see how much time it will take to read the whole thing. Then they spend the first few paragraphs deciding if it’s worth their time.
All that scrolling doesn’t do much to improve user experience.
Some sites have been doing the work themselves with a read time counter. This is a little bar at the top of the page that analyzes the text and calculates the read time for the average reader.
This gives users a good idea of what to expect from the get go.
“But Wait, There’s More!”
Do you ever wish you could grab users as they’re on their way off of your page?
In a face-to-face interaction, you might be able to call out after them and sweeten the deal. But there’s no way to do that online, right?
A value based exit overlay is a pop-up that is activated when a user tries to navigate off of your page without taking action.
This is helpful because most users who navigate off of your page actually mean to come back later. But most forget.
By offering a freebie or discount to exiting users, you can give them an incentive to take action now instead of forgetting later.
Once upon a time, every user that came to your site came through the home page. From there, they would navigate to your services page, contact info, or blog.
But now, many companies are utilizing landing pages instead.
With marketing analytics and data from PPC campaigns, we can now send users to the page that will give the highest chance of conversion.
Say a customer is interested in purchasing a product. In the past, you’d lead them to your home page, then your storefront, then to the product they want to buy.
But what if you linked them directly to the product page instead?
Landing pages don’t just improve user experience. They also generate higher lead conversion.
Scroll, Don’t Click
One of the primary ways to improve user experience is to simplify your website’s navigation.
Typically, this has meant having a navbar that is easy to decipher and use.
But with more people navigating the internet with their thumbs, more web designers are putting all of their information on one easy-to-scroll page.
Many of these sites might still utilize a basic jump down menu at the top of the page, but those links don’t link to separate pages.
This allows you to use your site to tell a story and lead conversions.
Need Help Building a Better Website?
No matter your business, you can’t ignore how users feel on your website.
If these tips make you feel like you’re in over your head, don’t worry. We can help you improve user experience.
Contact us today to build the best website your company can get!