Good Website User Experience (UX) - Why Businesses Need It To Retain Customers
Want to hold your customers' attention for more than just a few seconds?
(You still here? Ok, great. Keep reading!)
Let's face it. In the age of Instagram reels and Facebook stories, holding a customer's attention for more than a few seconds is like trying to catch a squirrel with a hula hoop.
But there are ways to grip their attention and hold it. And it doesn't require posting the latest viral video. Throw out the latest TikTok trends or viral YouTube reels. Think of optimising your website's user experience design instead.
Today, we'll look at what user experience design is and how to use it to keep your customers coming back for more of whatever you're selling.
Why is customer retention important in 2023?
Did you know that there are roughly 252,000 new websites are created every single day?
While you won't be competing with all of them, securing your customers' attention has never been more difficult than right now in 2023.
This is where user experience comes in.
What is User Experience (UX) Design?
User experience design is how we create valuable, memorable and meaningful experiences for our website users.
User experience design is often associated with mobile apps. After all, we're busy people who need fast, accessible and streamlined experiences on our phones. But UX design is not exclusive to the mobile experience. User-centred principles also apply to desktop and mobile web pages.
At least, that's if you want your customers to come back again and again.
UX design is more than just a pretty website
You might be thinking: "More graphics, brighter colours! That will catch their eye!"
Well, yes... but also no.
Let me explain.
UX design and graphic design go hand in hand, but they do have their differences.
Bright graphics might look good, great even! But UX design goes beyond pretty pictures and vivid branding. It's used to improve the functionality, ease of use and accessibility of a website.
UX designers explore a customer's interaction with content from the first moment of discovery to the final stage of purchasing. Every detail is considered to create a user experience that's both simple and memorable, just like that custard tart at your favourite bakery.
Benefits of a good user experience
- More customer engagement on your website
- Customer retention and ROI
- Customer loyalty
- Brand recognition and reputation
So, what does a bad user experience look like?
A user's interaction that ends with frustration is the hallmark of a bad user experience.
Websites that are difficult to navigate, read, or inadvertently obscure information will cause potential customers to look elsewhere.
No one likes to wait for a website to load, and if it takes too long, they'll quickly be looking at your competitors' site. Slow loading times, poor design or an inaccessible user interface (UI) are all elements of a poor UX design, leading to less customer retention and a reduced chance of sales.
7 Ways To Use UX Principles to Retain Online Customers
There's a few key UX principles that UX designers use when working through their design thinking process.
From reducing friction on your website to creating good menu structure, basic UX design principles will help you attract and retain your customers. You can delve deeper into this topic at 9 User Experience (UX) Tips To Build Trust With Customers Online.
However to retain customers on your website, here's 7 ways to do so:
Focus on the user (aka your customer base!)
Your user interface is your brand and your business.
User Interface (UI) refers to how customers experience your business online. UI design is how the user experience is developed from beginning to end.
Think of a regular old brick-and-mortar store.
What is the customer experience when they walk through the door? Are your products laid out in a way that guides the eye? Or are they overwhelmed with too much clutter?
Can they find all the information they need or can they ask your friendly staff for help? Or, are they left on their own to wander through the aisles (your website pages) at random?
The same principles apply to websites.
Potential users NEED an accessible design that's easy to navigate.
Consistency is the key.
How many times and in how many situations have we heard that? And yet, it rings truer than ever.
UX research points to a crucial need for consistency to establish customer comfort and trust.
After all, your customers and clients will rarely have all day to peruse every word on every page of your website.
Consistency means the user experience doesn't meet any unexpected surprises.
While this does include visual design (think branding and colours), UX consistency also refers to the layout of each page being predictable and simple to navigate. After all, we don't want our clients to have to be detectives to find what they're looking for.
We want them to be able to find the information, products and services they need ASAP with minimal hassle or confusion.
Create Hierarchy that's Intuitive
Remember those old choose your-own-adventure books? Going from random page to random page?
Exciting, yes. Going to help your sales? Unlikely.
Hierarchy refers to web pages that start broad and continue into smaller and smaller niches.
Think of a store that sells outdoor furniture and décor.
What do they ask first?
Tables and chairs, BBQs, outdoor firepits, decorative pots, or decorative plants.
Click on BBQs and you'll see 2-burners, 4-burners, charcoal grills, gas stove attachments.
Down and down the hierarchy goes until your customer is guided to EXACTLY what they are looking for.
Consider your own information architecture. Your interface design should be considering the same.
If you run a eCommerce store you can read more into this topic here: How To Use eCommerce Category Pages For SEO
Your context is tied into your brand and your business.
And believe us - your clients WILL notice.
UX context refers to the circumstances, settings, previous experiences and expectations of your customers regarding your type of brand or business. If you've ever noticed breadcrumb links (or, trail of breadcrumbs) on a website, this provides context for where you are in the website and where you came from.
Or, have you ever noticed how news websites all share a similar layout? What about hardware stores or $2 stores?
Yes, they have an individual brand, but they share a context.
Your brand should be individual and unique, but straying too far from the design elements of your context... Well that risks your customers overlooking you in favour of the more familiar.
Give customers control
How many times have we clicked something on a website and thought "Oops!"
Your customers will be no different.
Giving your customers control over their experience means allowing for mistakes and changing their minds.
Consider a multi-stage buying process, choosing product quantity, inputting payment details and a delivery address.
As they review their cart, your customer realises they have made a mistake. They meant to order something else. How easily can they correct their mistake?
Another example of effective interaction design is allowing customers to cancel actions.
If they accidentally close their shopping window with no option to cancel, how many will want to start the process all over again?
Your product and business will be unique in its own way. But remember, your clients might be unique as well.
Your user's journey may even be affected by their physical circumstances.
Accessibility is not optional. It is a must-have for your digital product.
Consider this: Are your website colours clashing? Is your text easy to read?
Maybe not to you, but to others, your content may be difficult to read and your colours may blend together.
Did you know that 549,000 Australians (2.2% of the population) have some level of colour blindness? In men, this goes up to a whopping 8% or 1 in 12 men in the entire country!
Do you have videos on your website or sound prompts? Consider how that might affect people living with deafness.
That's not including potential customers who may have cognitive or physical disabilities.
Navigating your website may also be a tricky task for those who are motion impaired!
Learn more about making your website accessible here: How To Make Your Website More Accessible
You're a busy person. And so are your customers and clients.
Good UX incorporates usability into its user interface, saving everyone time.
The human–computer interaction should be as streamlined and efficient as possible.
From opening your website to clicking on the "check out cart" button, your user interface design should make finding and buying your products and services an absolute breeze.
Usability testing will take into account your user flow.
The journey from your home page to your individual product pages should be as seamless as possible.
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