You have your brand new website with a beautiful, fresh design. Now you can set it and forget it, right? Wrong. Even after all of the hard work and resources you’ve put into your new website, the success of your site may depend on continuous user experience research and user testing.
If you’ve developed a new website within the last couple of years, you’ve probably heard the term user experience (UX). Here’s how Jakob Nielsen, a leader in the industry defines UX:
“User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”
Today, everyone has a website. The best way to stand out from your competitors is to create a web experience that matches what your users want from your site. Your website needs to provide the right message at the right time while being a joy to use.
So how do you get there? This is where user research comes in. Keep reading to learn about the ways UX plays a role in the success of your website and how you can create an amazing experience for your users.
UX is a Never-Ending Process
Your website can always improve, even after a redesign. If users can’t find what they are looking for right away or if they run into a usability issue, it is likely they will leave your site and move on to one of your competitors. With UX research, businesses can ensure it’s easy for consumers to complete their tasks.
The way your users interact with your site will continue to evolve, and it’s important that you adapt to their needs. Here are a few ways to determine what your users’ needs are exactly and how you can help them with UX research!
User Experience Research
Ideally, user research takes place both before and after you create a new website. By studying how users interact with your site before you launch, you can learn what they expect and ensure you’re building the right thing and catering to their specific wants and needs.
Research helps inform design decisions to ensure the website is exceeding the expectations of users. Uncovering the true needs of the user means you will better understand what solutions will work for them. You won’t waste time developing features that are not valuable to them.
Top UX Research Tactics and Tools
- Mouse Tracking: With mouse tracking, you can record user sessions and view their mouse movements, clicks and scrolls to understand how users are interacting with your website. The best part about mouse tracking is that users don’t know they are being watched, so you get a genuine user interaction.
- Eye Tracking: Eye tracking records the movement and focus of the user's eyes as they are using a website. This will help indicate what catches the user's attention and what parts of the page need to be optimized.
- Heatmap: Heatmaps use a color scale to reveal where people are clicking on your site, which will help you determine what elements are converting and which aren't.
- Scroll Map: Scroll maps identify how far down users are scrolling on your pages. This is important so you can optimize the content above the fold.
- Google Analytics: Data from Google Analytics can tell you the most popular pages on your site, the age of your audience, where users are converting and much more. By analyzing this data, you’ll learn your visitors’ most common tasks and can create an experience to match.
With insights from these tools, you can optimize your website based on user behavior to create more meaningful interactions.
Benefits of User Experience Research
By conducting user experience research before the development of your new site begins, you can actually save money.
This will save development costs in the long run by eliminating extra changes and updates down the road. Code changes become increasingly expensive the later in the development process in which they occur.
You’ll discover opportunities for improvements.
User experience research can help you understand where your users are getting stuck and what is making it difficult for them to complete their task. You may even get ideas for new features and new functions that you wouldn’t have otherwise known about but can provide value to your users. For example, after investing in UX research, Bank of America was able to make improvements to their online banking enrollment process, leading to a 45 percent increase in new customers.
User Experience Affects SEO
Another huge reason to pay attention to user experience is that it directly affects search engine optimization (SEO). Just like you, Google wants to provide the best experience for their users, and that means delivering the top results for each search query. Google only wants to serve the best websites, and they love websites with great user experiences. Think about it - if Google starts delivering websites that frustrate users, that will be a bad experience for the user and they could move on to another search platform that provides better results.
So how can Google tell if your website offers great user experiences? In addition to others, Google takes the following factors into account:
- Time on page
- Bounce rate
Google considers how long users stay on the site, how many pages they visit or if they immediately leave the website. If users are leaving your site quickly without looking at other pages, this is a clear sign to Google of bad user experience. This tells Google that your page either provided too little information, didn’t provide the right information or maybe wasn’t mobile-friendly.
If users are happy on your site, they’ll probably stay longer and complete their task, which will tell Google to keep sending traffic your way. Everyone wins.
Dive into UX Research with Blue Compass!
If you’re ready to learn what users truly want from your site and increase your bottom line, we’re here to help. Contact us today to find out how we can work together to build amazing online experiences for your users.