User experience simplified

 

Almost the final post from the StartupSmart email short course. This time I write briefly on UX.

User experience

Is using your website an easy, enjoyable experience for users? If not, your business could be badly damaged as a result. In recent years, user-centred design – an approach that puts the wants and needs of end users at the forefront of the design process – has increased in popularity. This is in contrast to a more participatory approach, which takes into account all stakeholders associated in a web project. As a start-up, it’s important you get frequent feedback from your users.

Now we’re done with the terminology, the following tips should assist you in keeping your customers at the heart of your online presence.

Navigation

The flow of navigation on your site is crucial. Do you have clear points of reference? Can a user find where’s home? Make sure your link structure and hierarchy is obvious. Breadcrumbs (a trail of page titles) allow users to track their location within your site. Be innovative in your design but somewhat conservative in your navigation elements. Most websites look similar for a reason – users value consistency.

Content

It’s important to display information on your website in digestible pieces. ‘Chunk’ related content into sections and use headings to show hierarchies. Break up large passages of text and use formatting to help readers scan pages easily.

Forms

Keep forms simple and easy to fill out – requiring low-involvement. This will help decrease user abandonment rates.Place labels inside input fields instead of above or beside to aid intuition. For example, a box with “subscribe via email” in it instantly explains its purpose.

Popups and other obstructions

Where possible, limit popups and obstructions on your website. If you have photos you want to display, use “lightboxes” (which open in page) instead of ones that bring up a cascade of new windows.

User testing

Regularly conducting testing to get insights can improve your website and help better meet business goals.

Focus groups, surveys, in-depth interviews and walk-throughs are all ways to conduct research.

Consider A/B testing selected designs or features to find out what’s working best. Also known as bucket or split testing, this involves comparing a control sample to other samples with single variables.

The last word

At the end of the day, user experience is about being mindful of the people using your website. If you keep things simple and intuitive, your online presence will have a great platform to grow from.

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