Hint – there’s Google’s version of User Experience which is things that they can measure like keyword density, functionality, load time, how your site adapts to mobile devices, etc. And then there is the actual user experience for, well, users.
What do website visitors think about your company when they first see your site? Google can’t measure “look and feel”, but visitors to the site sure will. They will have an impression of your company based on your site within seconds. If they decide to stick around, how easily can they find what they’re looking for? Does the site have real value or is it so focused on getting the visitor to take an action that you’re missing some crucial steps visitors may want to take before they commit to filling out a form or clicking through to a commitment.
Don’t worry – user experience does take into account your business goals and objectives, it just makes sure best practices are used to achieve them in terms of the quality of the user’s interaction and their perceptions of your products and/or services.
Here are some aspects to keep in mind when planning a new website, or refreshing your current one.
- Useful: Your content should be original and fulfill a need. As part of this, content strategy should be very focused. You don’t need to over-elaborate, but you need to remember that new visitors to your site don’t start with knowledge about your company, products or services, so don’t forget the basics. And before you can sell your company, sometimes you have to sell the concept itself. For instance, a site for a solar installation company can’t just focus on why choose them, but must start with “why solar?”.
- Usable: The site must be easy to use. This should go without saying, but not every visitor will understand all the modern ways to show where menus are, or what is clickable. Try to see your site from a technically-challenged point of view as needed.
- Desirable: The image, identity, brand, and other design elements are used to evoke emotion and appreciation. If it’s just screenshots or stock product images, then where’s the emotion? Can you show people using your product or benefiting from your service?
- Findable: The content needs to be easy to navigate and to find onsite and offsite. Don’t forget internal links when talking about a topic. Users shouldn’t always have to look back up to the menu to get to another element of the website.
- Accessible: Content needs to be accessible to people with disabilities, but don’t forget basics like font contrast against backgrounds and type size, especially if you have or target older potential customers.
- Credible: Users must trust and believe what you tell them. A lot of hyperbole with no factual information will generally not sit well.