So you’ve got a web site or you’ve been hired to build one. A huge step is making sure customers can find your web site, but once they get there, there is a whole new slew of challenges you will face that will make this website usable. How a user experiences the web site is a game-changer. You may be offering one of the stupidest products in the world, but if your site is easy to navigate and pleasing to the eye, you may have hit the jackpot. However, it is very easy to fall into certain traps when it comes to user experience (UX). You have to put the proper time, money and strategy into a web site. Why? Because a poorly designed website could cost you thousands of dollars in lost revenue as a result of poor design and function.
Here are five common UX mistakes you must avoid:
Relying too much on text
There is a reason television is so popular. People like visuals. Research shows that users are much more engaged with visual or audio cues. Yes, text can be essential but sometimes a meme, arrow, diagram, video or even just one picture can express everything you need to and more. The phrase “a picture is worth a thousand words,” didn’t come out of thin air!
Focusing too much on the homepage and not enough of the others
Perhaps inner beauty isn’t the right term to use here, but you can’t just do all the work on the surface and then let the other pages of your website be an absolute mess. Do not sacrifice the user experience of other pages and devote all of your time to the homepage. When you draw out where you want your users to go/click, it may be very different from where they actually go. The most commonly visited page for most websites after the homepage? The about page! Make sure to spread the love in the design and experience across your whole site.
People are accessing web sites on mobile and tablets more and more each day. And if your site is not easy to access or understand via one of those other platforms, you will lose your users faster than Miley Cyrus sticks her tongue out at an awards show. If you’re not an expert mobile developer, there are plenty of easy plugins that you can use. Check out Onswipe, or this list of great plugins to make your WordPress site mobile-friendly.
Too MUCH design
It is great when you see a beautifully designed web site, but sometimes too much design can overshadow the purpose of the site. Is the design preventing you from simply placing your order? Is the gorgeous photo in the background obscuring the streamlined ability to sign up for the newsletter? Big mistake. If the design is preventing a clear call to action then it is back to the drawing board.
In the end, user experience experts and designers aside, the written word still rules all. Now we said above, your site shouldn’t be too texty, but if your microcopy (the copy on the site that literally sells the product) is stale or badly written, your site isn’t going to provide results for your business. Designer Gene Crawford says on his blog: it is important to clearly define your product and add helpful text to guide the user through your site. He said go on the defensive as a designer (and assume that your user is really clueless). Invest time in great copy, and your beautiful design will shine!
Want to learn how to design a user experience that makes your customers take out their wallets and throw money at their screens?
Sign up for Skillcrush 101 and learn everything you need to know about User Experience Design. Next class starts Monday, February 10th.