How To Improve Your Site’s User Experience

User experience fuels the success of web design. Like it or not, functionality trumps a pretty design every time. Internet users most often browse websites with some kind of goal in mind: to find information, buy a product, read reviews, find contact information, etc. The quest to achieve that goal is easily and often met with friction on websites that are slow, require long registration processes and have a messy design. So when users can smoothly find what they’re looking for, they feel a refreshing sense of relief. In order to provide your users with this positive experience, your site needs to be highly usable and create the least friction possible. Here are some tips to get there.

1. Be Consistent In Your Navigation

It can be difficult to achieve a consistency when it comes to your navigation system and the functions of your site. Your home page might have more clickable options than some inside pages, but it’s important that each page shares the same style of interactive elements. For instance, buttons should look similar to prevent confusion, and you should focus on navigation details like linking your logo to the home page, making the search bar accessible on every page and providing breadcrumbs for a map of the site. All these factors add up to smooth navigation that enables visitors to easily use your site without even thinking about it.

UX consistent navigation

This site has a clean navigation system that is tidily organized and easy to travel through.

2. Improve Your Speed

A site that loads quickly automatically begins to satisfy users, because many want access to information as quickly as possible. And with so many mobile users on the web, fast loading times are as important as ever. Even a 1-second delay causes a 16% decrease in customer satisfaction. That means if your page takes 3 seconds to materialize, you’re already on the wrong track with many of your visitors. Needless to say, site speed is an important part of user experience. You can begin to improve your site speed by measuring its current performance with a site speed test. From there, reduce the size of your site by taking out large images (or reducing their size) and slimming back JavaScript files and plug-ins. You can also use a content delivery network to disperse your site information to users from servers near their physical location.

UX load time

3. Make Content Readable

Your content is the purpose of your site, so it’s critical that it be easily readable. Users don’t read every word of web content, but instead scan a page to get the gist of its message. Make this easier by breaking copy up with white space, using bold headlines, variations in font weights and styles and not writing long paragraphs. This allows your information to be split up and therefore more easily perceived by users who are scanning the page.

UX hierarchy

This site uses typography to guide the eye through the page. The variations in size and weight all work together to emphasize different information.

In order to provide your users with a great experience, your site needs to not only be attractive, but it also needs to be intuitive, usable, fast, and contain high quality content. If you keep these features in mind, your site will be sure to please users.

Luke Clum

Luke Clum is a graphic designer and web developer from Seattle. He loves UI design, alpine climbing and the soothing splash of earl grey. You can follow him on Twitter @lukeclum.

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