4 Tips to Greatly Improve User Experience
How do users perceive your site? Does it provide them with the look and feel that you want them to experience? Is your website performing as well as it should be? Regardless of the industry you’re in, speed, security, navigation, and design matter. Here are 4 tips to greatly improve user experience. Know what you need, understand which steps to take, and optimize your site to live up to its purpose.
1. Boost Site Speed
Needless to say, load times affect site performance. People want immediate results and are becoming more impatient with the advancement in technology. Higher expectations are set as the years progress.
According to Nielsen Norman Group, it takes 10 seconds to keep a user’s attention. Site users can’t wait any longer to get the results they want. Their attention can shift easily, and their need to stay on a website wouldn’t be as necessary as they thought. They have lots of alternatives available.
Users want to be in charge of their experience. Even few seconds of delay can alter the way they respond. According to Aberdeen Group, a one-second delay can result in: fewer page views by 11%, decrease in customer satisfaction by 16%, and loss in conversions by 7%. This is why optimizing your site’s load time speed is important.
Here are 4 things you can do to boost your site speed:
Run Speed Test
Speed tests check your site’s performance in both mobile and desktop devices. They tell you which areas to fix as well as which areas are in good shape. An average score of 85 usually indicates that your website is performing well.
Among the tools you can use are Google PageSpeed Tool and Pingdom. You can also refer to Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test to check your site’s mobile compatibility. When your site runs smoothly on either device and in any browser, users will enjoy staying for more of the unique offerings you have.
Remember that the lighter your site is or the lesser amount of space you occupy, the faster your site becomes. Through minification, you lessen the load that your site carries. Check out Google’s resources that you can use.
Get Rid of Garbage
As the line goes, “Garbage in, garbage out.” User experience largely depends on what you put in your database. Avoid keeping lots of insignificant components or files.
Clean your website of those that aren’t useful. Browse through your plugins, media, and other directories for unnecessary things. Free up and use space only for important files.
Here’s a list of categories where you can find items to get rid of:
- Broken links
- Post drafts
- Spam comments
By compressing images, you do not only increase your site’s speed but also save bandwidth. Compression tools, such as TinyJPG, reduce the image’s file size in bytes and still keep its quality.
It analyzes your images to give you the solution that suits your image. You’ll find that the lesser file size it has, the faster upload and download time you have too.
2. Strengthen Security
Safety first. Users invest their time and resources on reliable websites. This largely refers to the security available. Users need websites that they wouldn’t hesitate to trust. This is especially true of sites that require confidential information, such as credit card and ID numbers.
Here are 3 ways you can do to make your website a safer place for valued users:
Sites with weak admin passwords are easy prey to hackers and other malicious threats. Symantec provides a list of the worst passwords ever used. They are commonly shared among different communities around the world. In every website you have, use a password that is long and unique enough for others to know.
Passwords managers are good tools for you to store your passwords. Among the reliable ones are LastPass and KeePass. They allow you to store as much admin accounts as you have, and lets you share them with the people you rely upon. They are free to use and offer many exciting features.
“Treat your password like your toothbrush. Don’t let anybody else use it, and get a new one every six months.” -Clifford Stoll
Instead of storing your passwords in notepads or anywhere else that could be easily accessed, you can rely on passwords managers to keep them for you. It’s much more convenient especially to those who have a hard time remembering.
Another great way to enhance your site security is through regular updates. Browse through your database and look for those that could need some refreshing. Sometimes plugins are already expired, or your software may need to upgrade to its latest version.
Updates are necessary to fix site issues and patch up holes in your security. They strengthen your site’s functions, and prevent threats.
To help improve online security, Google gives a small ranking boost to HTTPS websites. It is not, however, a mandatory movement. Through a green lock in the address bar, users are notified of the enhanced security. Data provided to HTTPS sites are encrypted and difficult to access.
3. Enable Easy Navigation
Imagine browsing through an online store for a pair of sneakers you heard about from a friend. To your dismay, you see all items located under a single category with no easy way to get to the item you’re looking for. You started off excited to get that awesome pair. Now, you’re hesitant to continue scrolling down the long list. You ask, “Is it really worth it?”
“From manufacturing to highly competitive arenas such as retail banking, insurance and travel, every millisecond of responsiveness on the Web site counts.” -Ron Lifton
According to Mark Lindwall of Forrester, 43% of potential sales are lost over “no decision”. The perceived value of the item is influenced by the emotional and analytical perceptions of the buyers. Regardless of the industry, online stores or websites should cater to the needs of the consumers.
Responsiveness isn’t simply about speed. It comes along easy navigation and other factors that affect user experience. Here are 5 ways to enable easy navigation:
- USE ACCURATE TITLES – Make your titles correctly and precisely embody the content under it. Don’t mislead your users with inaccuracies.
- PROVIDE CLICKABLE LINKS – Avoid failing users’ expectations every time they click on a link. Ensure it works well and directs users to the correct page.
- PLACE ALT TEXT IN IMAGES – This is to help users with disabilities as they browse through your site. ALT Text helps users identify what the image is about when they can’t see it on their end.
- GROUP ELEMENTS ACCORDINGLY – Chaos isn’t friendly to the eyes. Sort out your site’s elements in a way that it will be easily understood and followed.
- IDENTIFY LOCATION – Provide visible guides. Sometimes users wonder where they’re at in your website. They could easily get lost, especially when there are lots of information available.
Make your website easy to navigate and understand. Organize elements accordingly, help users know where they are in your site, and help them access your content easily. Apply the principles of good website navigation.
4. Showcase Responsive Design
Your website represents your brand or identity online. It shows users what you are about and tells them what you do. You wouldn’t want them to simple browse around and leave empty. Help them get the most of what you offer through design.
“Responsive web design is a huge opportunity to insert performance considerations into the design workflow.” -Lara Hogan
Allow your design to drive your site. Think about what you want to implement, and enable the elements to function accordingly. Decisions on colors, layout, typography, and the like will come easily once you know what you want to achieve. Design for performance to make your site respond properly to the various needs of users.
A Remarkable Experience
Speed, security, navigation, and design are among the essential elements that every website should have. Websites thrive for users. To cater to their concerns, therefore, is a priority that shouldn’t be neglected.
Sometimes their needs are easily taken for granted when there is so much to do in so little time. When you apply the four elements on your site, user trust will follow. Make your site useful in every way you present it, and make every effort count.
Building and managing websites present a two-way process. As site owner or developer, you provide the necessary elements to have more conversions. On the other hand, users respond to your call. Know what is necessary, and invest on valuable resources to effectively carry it out.
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