There’s an extraordinary amount of focus nowadays on user experience (UX). You’ll see every marketing expert telling you that UX is the most important thing about your website… and they’re right. The way people experience your website has to be as good as possible. Otherwise, your website is not only not achieving its goal, it might be actively harming your business.
Why is UX important?
You may as well ask yourself why the taste of food is important, or why clothes should fit properly. Fundamentally, you are dealing with people. When people dislike something, they’re probably not going to spend money on it – at least not more than once. And, if they’re really unhappy, they’ll make sure other people know it.
But it isn’t just to avoid unhappy customers, User experience is about human-centred design. By considering what your website visitors actually want and need, and giving it to them, you gain their trust and loyalty – and their custom. Here are a few of the most common UX design mistakes we see, that you should avoid.
When you follow a link to a website, there’s nothing more annoying than an endless parade of pop-ups that you need to work through.Yes, we know, you want us to accept cookies. Oh, and sign up for your newsletter? Wait, no, I don’t need to fill in a contact form yet… oh for goodness’ sake, why is this little exit button so tiny!
Pop-ups are absolutely useful for getting certain things done. However, if your website visitor has to close several before they get to the content they clicked on, they’re more likely to just leave. Excessive pop-ups make navigation difficult, and can distract the visitor from the reason they’re visiting you in the first place.
Poor mobile responsiveness
So you hired a fantastic design and content team. Your website is going to be amazing, informative, beautiful! Unfortunately, when you try to open it on a mobile device, it’s impossible to navigate. The text is too big or too small, the menu options don’t work properly, you have to pinch and drag constantly…
It’s actually a little surprising we need to mention this at all! We have, however, discovered there are many, many business websites out there that just don’t translate well to mobile. With most online interactions taking place on mobile, it should be a no-brainer that mobile responsiveness is critical.
Instant call to action
The ultimate purpose of your website is to engage with and convert potential customers, and service existing ones. Naturally, this means you want to get them to sign up to a mailing list, send you an inquiry, or perform some other action. However, making this the first thing that happens when a visitor clicks through to your site can be annoying and frustrating.
People may not yet know whether they are interested in your product or company. Your product or service simply might not be what they want. Trying to make someone sign up and give you their email address, before they’ve had a chance to even look at your home page, can turn many potential clients off.
Unnecessary design elements
We could also quite easily call this form over function, or design for the sake of design. Of course you want your website to be attractive, but not at the cost of functionality. If the design gets in the way of that functionality, or makes it difficult to navigate, it needs to change.
Unfortunately, some companies and their web design teams get carried away with all the latest bells and whistles and innovations in web design. They include as many as they can, rather than including only those that serve a useful function. Trim the fat from your site,and make it leaner and more efficient.
South Africa is a country with pretty high data costs. Simultaneously, most of the country’s population uses prepaid data. Frequently, people can only load small amounts – a few hundred MB at a time. Websites that auto-play videos, or with other data-heavy design elements, can cause frustration and even anger.
It’s one thing to visit a flashy, high-data website if you’re one of the very small number of South Africans lucky enough to be on fibre. It’s another story if you’re on prepaid mobile data. In addition, many corporate companies monitor on-site online behaviour and cap individual data usage, which means high-data websites can be blocked. If you need to include video, or other data-heavy content, make sure it has to be actively selected.
UX is, essentially, about the emotional response people have to your website, or when engaging with your social media. Spend some time considering the small emotional impacts – positive or negative – of your website. Then, you can create an experience your users won’t forget.
If you need help getting your UX design right, get in touch with Tenaka. We’re the experts at human-centred design, and we can help you get your site right.