By Sylvia Mukami
Have you ever been referred to a website by a friend or colleague and upon getting there you were thrown into total disarray? I’m talking about a webpage that had the power to depress you even at your best of times. Unreadable font, disturbing graphics, low loading speed, irrelevant navigation tabs and so on. I am going to make a guess. You closed that tab immediately and set your sights elsewhere.
This strange phenomenon that you were subjected to is what we call a bad user experience. If you own a blog, a marketing microsite, landing page, website or app, this unfortunate type of incident must be avoided like the plague.
User experience is the relationship between people and technology. Like all relationships, it must be understood and nurtured so that both man and machine can enjoy desirable outcomes.
A user spends approximately 10-15 seconds on your webpage and will only be compelled to stay if you create a clear value proposition. This can only be achieved by understanding your buyer persona’s needs and telling stories that they will connect with. You must answer the questions “What does my brand stand for?” and “How can my brand benefit my buyer persona?”
Your customer must also be able to find, access and review your products and services easily. Most users in Kenya access the internet on mobile devices, so you must ensure that your website is optimized for mobile devices. An ideal buyer persona journey incorporates seamless navigation, mobile device compatibility, readable content and great customer support. A seamless user experience leads to faster decision making which facilitates more conversions.
User experience and user interface
This is achieved through brilliant user experience (UX) design and user interface (UI) design. These two terms are used interchangeably but they are not the same thing. Think of the human body. UX design is the skeletal structure, muscles and body organs while UI design is the aesthetics, the skin and other body parts that are visible to the naked eye as well as body reactions.
UX design is all about the code; it is focussed on improving a website’s usability which results in customer satisfaction and loyalty. It involves tasks such as product development, research, content and layout. UI involves the look and feel of a website and transforms the UX design tasks into an eye-catching and responsive experience for the user.
How to carry out a user experience audit
- Utility value: Does your website create value for your customer? Empathy is the essence of UX. Put yourself in their shoes and walk a mile. The first step is to understand what their needs, pain points and goals are then you can create an experience that saves them money and time, rewards them, addresses their needs and connects with them. Satisfied users will come back and most likely refer others to visit.
- Design elements: User experience is driven by design. Is it easy for the user to navigate through menus, links and webpages? Is the loading speed fast enough? Does the website help the user to recover from errors? Can repeat users remember how to use your website quickly to find what they are looking for? Is the layout simple enough? What about the visual appeal? Is it attractive enough to grab the user’s attention? Mobile devices have lowered the attention span of users, so most people will only bother with content that can be understood at a glance. Do not give your users work by giving them countless steps to get what they are looking for. This is one of the leading reasons of high bounce rates.
- Content: Content, videos and images have the ability to influence a reader’s mind. Great design makes the user linger and relevant content resolves their doubts which in turn breeds trust and loyalty. A user should be able to scan, read and understand your content easily; therefore the language used must promote comprehension. Jargon must be avoided and action words should be used liberally. Make sure that you give your content structure through appropriate headers and subheaders. Optimize your content for conversions through clear keywords, value propositions and strong calls to action.
- Social factors: Your users must find it easy to email you, chat with you and review products and services on your website and social media pages. UX doesn’t occur in a lone channel. Because your users move between your website and social media pages, you should ensure consistency throughout. Use social media to drive traffic to your website landing pages and vice versa.
You could audit your website further through A/B testing, pop up user surveys, website quizzes and Google Analytics data. If you want to engage with your customers, user experience cannot be overrated. UX and UI design are at the centre of Digital 4 Africa’s mission to help SME’s do marketing right.
Would you like to improve your user experience? Get in touch with us