There’s a lot more science and psychology on web pages than many people assume – both good and bad. Website user experience (UX) refers to how people move through a site’s pages.
Why is user experience important for businesses?
The harsh reality is website visitors are extremely impatient. They have more options at their fingertips than ever before, and bad user experience elements will send them packing for a competitor in seconds (or less). Your website is the digital face of your brand – and the user experience should have zero margin for error, second-guessing, or anything else for the visitor.
But this is easy to say and extremely difficult to achieve.
The way a user interacts with websites is a big mind game full of nuances and subliminal factors. If you’re reading this article, you may be struggling with high bounce rates and low engagement on your website. We’d like to take this opportunity and discuss 10 common user experience elements that may be turning visitors off.
Slow Loading Pages
I think the entire human race can agree that slow-loading websites are the worst.
By testing the patience of users, you’re wreaking havoc on your site visits, engagement, conversions, and of course, revenue.
It’s no secret that most users have a zero-tolerance policy for slow websites. They expect pages to load instantly – and if they don’t, users have no problem going to your competitor with a quicker website. Fortunately, there are plenty of easy fixes that may speed up your loading times, including (but not limited to):
- Evaluate your hosting provider
- Enable caching
- Compress images
- Minimize the code (you’ll probably need a developer for this)
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Remove resource-hogging plugins
Optimizing page speed is a fundamental way to improve the user experience and drive better overall performance. When you work with a professional web agency, quick loading speeds will be a core aspect of their user experience design process.
To put it bluntly, most users don’t want to put in extra effort to understand a site’s navigation. If a website isn’t intuitive, it’s going to create confusion and hinder users from taking the desired action.
But how do you know if your site architecture is in trouble?
Well, high bounce rates with low conversions is one potential sign. But getting to the root of the issue requires you to look critically at your website. Does your information architecture:
- Lack clarity in the menus?
- Have inconsistent labels
- Have navigation that leads to dead ends?
If users run into these problems, they will more than likely abandon the site altogether.
An intuitive and well-organized site navigation is a baseline requirement to guide users and help them understand what the site is all about. Mapping out the navigation is one of the first jobs of user-centered design.
Unnecessarily Long Forms
Lead forms can be a strange thing – especially for new visitors.
To put it bluntly: Please don’t ask for my phone number unless you absolutely have to call me.
In fact, don’t ask for my last name unless you absolutely have to.
Your website visitors wrestle with the notion that handing over their contact information means they will get spammed by the company – or their data will be sold. In other words, there is likely some hesitation.
Long contact forms create friction and discourage users from converting. For instance, asking for the full name, email, phone number, and physical address may be overkill for a standard contact form. In most cases, a first name and an email field will suffice.
When you create a form, do your best to capture only the most essential information. Users value convenience – and simplifying forms is one of the easiest ways to accomplish this.
Website accessibility is still sadly not the norm in web design.
In a nutshell, web accessibility works to accommodate people with disabilities like visual, auditory, cognitive, or motor impairments – and help them navigate websites. Some common website accessibility elements include:
- Keyboard accessibility
- Alt text
- Input assistance
- Time-based media
- Closed captions
Most industries these days have website accessibility functional requirements – but even if yours doesn’t have strict ones – you have NOTHING to lose by making your site accessible. By neglecting it, all you are doing is alienating certain users. And you may face threat of legal action.
Some professional web agencies and UX designers work accessibility into their UX design process—in fact, it should be worked into the branding process.
The truth is, it is an extra investment in time and money, and like SEO, it is a long-term commitment to maintain website accessibility standards. But it’s the right thing to do.
This is one of the most important, non-negotiable user experience elements. In 2023, the majority of web experiences are on mobile. Constant scrolling/zooming, long load times, poor interaction design, and distorted layouts are huge turnoffs to mobile users – and they will have no problem leaving your website if they run into one.
Fortunately, non-mobile-friendly websites are quickly becoming a thing of the past. Most themes on the major website builders use responsive design. If you work with a professional web agency, this shouldn’t be an issue in the first place.
To reiterate, users don’t want to spend time trying to figure out their website – it needs to be a quick, natural process. A cluttered layout can instantly overwhelm users and divert their attention from the intended user journey.
If it’s challenging for users to navigate a page, focus on key content, and understand the site’s structure, there is a good chance they will leave the site for one with a better interaction design.
At Tall Poppies Design, we typically work to eliminate clutter by sticking to minimalist, user-centric web design. Extra flair here and there isn’t always a bad thing in visual design – but there should not be any potential for confusion standing in the way of the user’s experience and the intended action of the page.
Developers can do a lot of cool things with animation – but it’s easy to go overboard.
Excessive animations can easily distract users and compromise engagement, just like a cluttered design. Now, we’re not saying that animation on websites is bad. If used properly, it can do wonders for branding and conversion rates. The issue is when sites go overboard with the user interface design and it disrupts the user experience.
It can also be bad for achieving website accessibility standards.
The key is to strike a smart balance of using animations to enhance the content and navigation – and it’s a fine line. Be sure to discuss this with your web developer.
Auto Play Videos
Auto-play video is one of the recent flash-in-the-pan interface elements we can’t wait to see in the rearview mirror.
Opening a webpage to a loaded video can be imposing, distracting, and in most cases, completely unnecessary.
Moreover, these videos consume a lot of bandwidth and hurt loading times. Generally speaking, you can expect that a decent chunk of your site visitors will quickly close the page if they are met with a loaded video.
This is not to say that video content on a webpage is bad. The important factor here is putting the user in the driver’s seat. If you use video on a webpage, incorporate user controls so they can play it on their own terms.
Long Checkout Process
If you sell anything on your website, it’s important to understand that checkout processes are a game of psychology.
Simplicity is EVERYTHING with online purchases. This is how Amazon took over the eCommerce world with “1-Click” purchasing options. Every extra step in the user flow is an opportunity for the customer to reconsider their purchase decision.
The best move is to streamline it as much as you can. Some advice:
- Only collect the most essential contact information
- Enable guest checkout
- Use quick pay options – Apple Pay, Google Pay, PayPal, etc.
This is just the tip of the iceberg. If you’re going to hire a professional to do any aspect of your website, the checkout process should be high on the list.
Sales First, Solutions Second
People are tired of aggressive sales tactics and pushy content. The most successful websites focus more on solving problems and addressing user needs. If you’re able to do this successfully, the sales process becomes much easier.
Websites chock-full of jargon and sales-heavy copy usually struggle to build trust and nurture engagement.
People prefer websites with helpful information that address user pain points, provide valuable insights, and work to build a genuine connection. This is one of the user experience elements that will always stand the test of time.
How Do I Get Unstuck?
If your website isn’t converting visitors, it’s probably not benefiting your business much.
So what’s the answer?
As much as we love giving straightforward answers, there could be a million reasons why people are leaving your website. User experience is an umbrella that encompasses many different elements. Finding the culprit starts with a professional website audit.
At Tall Poppies Design, we specialize in user experience design, development, copywriting, digital marketing, and more. Our services are targeted to life coaches, online educators, and small business owners.
If you’re looking to improve results on your website, get in touch with us today for a strategy call. We’ll get to the root of your user experience elements!
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