11 Tactics to Optimize Your Website’s User Experience

By Ian Heinig / 5 March 2018

Nearly 95% of consumers distrust websites with poor design. Get the tactics you need to optimize your website’s user experience and increase engagement, conversions, and revenue.

What do ninjas and user experience (UX) design have in common?

They’re both invisible when performing at their best. 

UX design is defined as the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving the accessibility, usability, and efficiency of user interactions on your website. 

If your website’s UX is optimized, it provides easy value to users without them ever noticing. According to new research, enhancing UX is one of the top three priorities for small businesses.

Yes, your site should be beautiful and your content must be outstanding. However, 76% of consumers say that the most important element of web design is being able to find information

Graph of the most important factor in the design of a website Source

An intuitive and rewarding site experience will attract repeat users. However, if your website creates unnecessary hassles, it will impede your success. 

So, how can you help users find your solutions and products more easily?

Here are 11 tactics that will improve your website UX:

  1. Simplify your design
  2. Add interactive content
  3. Choose colors deliberately
  4. Minimize forms
  5. Keep animation simple
  6. Link wisely
  7. Personalize
  8. Optimize for mobile
  9. Highlight social proof
  10. Unclutter the navigation bar
  11. Avoid 404 errors

1. Simplify Your Design

The best UX designs are clean, orderly, and free from clutter. 

Visual simplicity is effective because it’s immediately understood by users. The minimalist approach makes finding information easy, so provide a familiar layout and allow each design element plenty of space. 

Since web visitors came for answers and not creativity, avoid complicating your UX design

For example, the Gifme website creates interest with a bold image and partially hidden text but maintains the ‘less is more’ feel with an uncomplicated layout.

Screenshot of Gifme website

Instantly accessible web design is the easiest way to invite user engagement.

2. Add Interactive Content

The more someone wants to interact with your web interface, the better their experience will be. Using interactive content will make your site design fun and drive engagement.

According to a 2016 survey by Content Marketing Institute, 75% of marketers plan to increase their use of interactive content

To enhance the desirability of your UX, try adding:

  • Videos
  • Calculators
  • Games
  • Quizzes

Simplicity is key, as visitors should be able to engage with content after a quick glance.

3. Choose Colors Deliberately

Color plays an important role in influencing user perceptions and actions on your website. Your choice of palette will set the emotional tone for the entire experience. 

In a brilliant use of color psychology, graphic designer Oliver Guilleux uses purple to convey sophistication and intelligence.

Screenshot of Olivier Guilleux's website

Meanwhile, the pink and orange text communicates energy and confidence, all of which combines into an enticing homepage.

NeuroMarketing said it best: “If a good color sells, the right color sells better.” For example, a Kissmetrics survey found that women prefer purple, men prefer black, and both like blue and green. 

If a good color sells, the right color sells better.

To find the ideal color for your calls to action and the overall site design, conduct research, run tests, and use the findings to optimize your website UX.

4. Minimize Forms

While data collection is key to business success, no one enjoys giving out personal details. Asking for unneeded information can annoy users and reduce conversions.

You can improve your UX by removing unnecessary fields from signup form boxes. Streamlining the signup process will reduce user friction and can produce amazing results.

For example, when Expedia omitted the “company name” field from their registration forms, their revenue skyrocketed by $12 million.

5. Keep Animation Simple

Animations are a trending way to delight web visitors and help them navigate your site. However, motion graphics shouldn’t complicate your UX design or overwhelm visitors. 

Use animations with purpose, such as to:

  • Encourage scrolling 
  • Assist with navigation
  • Prompt conversions
  • Entertain users during page loads
  • Signal progress or a completed action

Below, we see a page-load GIF used by Aviasales to smooth-out the booking process.

Page-load GIF by Aviasales Source

To effectively enhance user attention and comprehension, animations should be simple and action-specific.

6. Link Wisely

Embedding a link in your content invites users to click there. Consumers follow sections of underlined words and different colored text as visual clues. 

For best results given these user expectations, highlight the most engaging idea and be sure to keep the color blue. Longer hyperlinks will also grab the reader's attention more easily. 

7. Personalize

Personalization is important to web design because it makes people feel like the web content was created just for them. If the web experience feels unique, users are more likely to return. 

For example, companies like Netflix and Spotify offer content and recommendations based on past purchases and views. 

Screenshot of Spotify Source

When surveyed by the research group Forrester, 77% of consumers claimed to have prioritized, recommended, or paid more for personalized service (Source: Download PDF).

Customizations help visitors feel like part of a community and work to increase engagement, loyalty, and conversions. 

8. Optimize for Mobile

As mobile usage continues to climb, a mobile-friendly website is essential to a quality UX.

According to the customer management solution Salesforce, 75% of consumers expect brands to have a consistent cross-channel experience. 

You can check the mobile responsiveness of your site with Google’s mobile-friendly test

Already mobile-ready? A study by Think with Google found that mobile page load times significantly impact conversions and bounce rates. To optimize your mobile UX, use Google’s mobile speed test.

9. Highlight Social Proof

Social proof is a psychological phenomenon where people look to the behavior of others to determine the correct course of action. 

For example, placing a positive customer review on your site will demonstrate your trustworthiness to prospects – even if they’re encountering your company for the first time.

What’s more, 79% of consumers trust online reviews as much as personal recommendations. To achieve maximum impact, feature your best testimonials on your homepage (or one or two scrolls down).

For example, Buffer’s homepage creates social proof by using client logos as badges.

Screenshot of Buffer homepage

The icons are shown above the “fold” (the page area seen before scrolling) because this area has optimal visibility. 

Conveying immediate credibility with social proof can make the difference between a bounce and a new lead.

10. Unclutter the Navigation Bar

Located at the top of your home screen, the navigation bar is what connects users to other sections of your website. For best results, avoid crowding your menu with excess choices that can overwhelm users. 

Instead, relocate less crucial navigation items to the interior pages. This will create a clear and visible layout that makes site exploration easy.

Set your logo as a link to your homepage, as visitors use this to reorient themselves. Enabling onsite search functionality will help readers find what they need quickly – and assist you in optimizing your content strategy. 

11. Avoid 404 Errors

If faced with a 404 error page, visitors may get annoyed and reconsider using your website.

The link was supposed to take them someplace interesting, but instead, their web journey is disrupted. 

Checking for broken links with Google Webmaster tools will help you curtail user frustration and defection. To minimize the drawback of future 404s, you can create a humorous message to help get users back on track. 

For example, CatsWhoCode has a silly and thematically-appropriate 404 error page.

Screenshot of CatsWhoCode 404 error Source

Covering your bases like this provides an opportunity to share your brand voice, improve UX, and minimize bounce rates.

Your Best Website UX Tactics

While single elements will improve your website UX, combining them effectively is what ultimately creates a quality web experience.

As you optimize your website’s UX, be sure to address the core principles of UX design as well. 

If your website is efficient and aligned with your customer’s needs, UX success will follow.

Need professional help from a UX agencies? We created a shortlist of the best UI/UX agencies around the world to help you navigate the hiring process.

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