It’s just about that time of the year, you know the first day of spring. This means spring cleaning for some, spring break for others and for most of us the beginning of blooming season. What about your website? Do you have any plans to do some deep spring cleaning? Are you looking to break away from old habits and refresh your approach to optimal user experiences?
Are you still thinking a simple, clean, short navigating website is best serving your customer? Maybe this would be a good time to refresh and revitalize your online presence. Your website is a major part of inbound marketing so you don’t want a website potential clients can click through in 5 seconds or less. For everyone visiting your site, you want to do all you can to provide valuable and actionable content.
In this week's session of the In-Sites Thought Hive we are here to provide you with optimal UX (or user experience) best practices to help you generate more leads and further your business.
Let’s get started . . .
We’re guessing a few of you may want to know what exactly is UX. You’ve heard the term used more and more as of late but are unsure what it actually means and why it’s so important.
What is UX?
UX stands for User Experience. Designing a website with the user experience in mind, means that you are creating a site that visitors can easily navigate. UX focuses on usability and accessibility, with an overarching goal to provide a pleasurable experience while on the site.
Why is UX important?
For a moment, take a step away from being the dynamic business person you are and think of your business from the customer's perspective. As a customer, what things do you look for on a website? What do you consider to be user friendly? Maybe it’s the website layout, readability, flattering color scheme, use of images or videos, or all of these things that make the experience a pleasant one for you.
What about content? To enhance the experience, you need to make sure your site is packed with valuable information to help your customers learn more about your products, services and company. This can be achieved via testimonials, product reviews, customer feedback and special offers.
Making your site easy-to-navigate, having it visually appealing and providing valuable information are at the core of an optimal user experience, and a good UX is crucial to helping you close leads.
Who does UX well?
Think of any of your favorite sites. What sites do you visit a couple times a week? Is it Google, Youtube, Facebook, Fox or CNN? Those would be great examples of sites that do UX well. If your favorite sites did not do UX well it would be challenging for you to navigate and gather the information you need. Around our office we love these sites:Google
Starbucks (mobile orders - yes!)
When to incorporate UX?
It is important to keep your website visitors in mind throughout your design process. While developing your UI (User Interface) it is important to be mindful of your personas. Customizing your navigation, site design and content to your personas will help engage them, and retain them. You want to do everything possible to encourage your visitors to remain on your site for as long as possible.
After it’s all said and done you want your prospects to walk away from your site satisfied with the best enjoyable experience.
Where is UX most optimal?
UX is most optimal across all channels of your inbound marketing approach, including but not limited to the following: website design, landing pages and CTA’s (Call To Actions). Within each of these inbound marketing strategies you want to nail excellent customer service that extends throughout your UX.
How to begin a strategy for UX design?
Alright, now that we all agree on the importance of UX design it’s time to discuss how we can develop a strategy to help you execute a well-rounded user experience.
Strategy Part 1
At the very beginning of your design strategy we recommend starting with one of the core principles of inbound marketing best practices, your buyer personas.
Buyer personas are fictional representations of your ideal customers. This is really the core of who you are servicing.
Every piece of content, information, products, services and even web design should have these personas in mind. Your personas help you understand your target market, and understanding your market will inform you on how to design and create content for your ideal prospects.
Need some support in developing or revamping your buyer personas? Checkout our previous post providing you with all the information you need to know regarding how to boost your buyer persona profiles or watch our short video.
Understanding your buyer personas is the foundation of providing an optimal user experience across all platforms.
Strategy Part 2
The next step to developing a well-rounded strategy includes these key elements to UX design:
Tying back to what was mentioned a little earlier, an optimal UX experience includes a solid UI digital design. One element most online users agree on universally is the ease-of-use of your website. In short, make it easy for your prospects. Here is a usability checklist that will help you review any areas that may be affecting the ease-of-use of your site:
- Is your site reliable (always up and running)?
- Have you properly backed-up your site within your hosting provider?
- Can you guarantee the same or an enhanced experience for customers every time they visit your site?
- Are all links within your site loading properly (ensuring no broken links)?
- What about images and videos? Is media downloading or streaming adequately within your site and across all platforms?
- Is your contact information easily and visibly displayed?
- Is there follow-through with any and all prospects that contact your business?
- Is your text-based content readable across all devices?
- Do the links within your navigation bar direct viewers to the correct location?
- How well is your site viewable within google? (If your site is not prompting on the first home page, then perhaps review your SEO efforts.)
- When was the last time you did a full web assessment test? (You should do this at least once a month.)
- Have you implemented call-to-actions for prospects on appropriate inbound content?
Usability is not just the amount of whitespace on your homepage, it is also the effortless ability for your prospects to get the information they need about your product, services and overall business. Make it easy for your prospects to get the information they need.
All of these seemingly “little” things add to the overall usability and user experience. Reliable websites invoke trust and brand loyalty.
You want a site that is desirable, meaning you want to become the go-to destination for prospects looking for your service or product. A modern website, with quick loading and responsive design (display optimized for any screen), are all crucial to maintain optimal UX desirability.
The definition of adaptability is two fold: 1) the ability to handle expansion of your site and 2) your ability to adapt to technical advancements that affect your industry.
Below are a few actionable statements that will guide your business framework as both expansion and technology ebb and flow.
How to best manage adaptability:
- Capture new leads while maintaining the leads already generated
- Keep your prospects, leads and customers wanting more
- Accommodate for growth and expansion via web hosting
- Upgrade and adapt to software and technology advances
- Have a team excited to adapt to new changes
- Embrace and implement new media (social, VR, etc.)
Value. Value. Value. If you’ve read a few of our blog posts you know that value is a word we love to use. This is an extremely important piece to your UX strategy. In order to provide value digitally focus on community, providing customer support, business transparency and content that provides visitors with answers to their questions. Your content should also address their pain points for which your product or service provides solutions. Maintaining valuable customer service even after the close of sale will delight your customer and encourage word of mouth marketing.
Pro Tip: Word of mouth marketing has no dollar value as it is the most valuable form of marketing. #priceless
Remember one key element of inbound marketing called the buyer’s journey? It is important to provide value every step of the way during your buyer's journey.
Here are some ways to enhance the value given to your prospects:
Customer Interaction via
- social media
- email response
- responding to comments (on all platforms)
- follow through with calls
- Downloadable white papers
- Downloadable audio
- Downloadable video
- 15% using “special code”
- Sign up with your email and enjoy 45% today
- Use “special code” at checkout for free shipping
- Mention you saw this on (insert social platform) for 2 hours free (insert service)
Some brands let you sample before subscribing like newspapers, music streaming sites and home food delivery. Maybe this method works best for your business too. Checkout these sites that do free sampling without penalty:NatureBox
Here are some questions that can help you develop content that speaks to your customers.
Pro Tip: It is important to keep in mind when you are developing your content strategy for optimized UX that you speak your customer's language.
What do your customers want to see?
Knowing your buyer personas will help you better understand what your clients’ needs are. You want to be able to answer their questions or they will find another website that will. When creating an optimized user experience don’t push your product, instead aim to answer your prospects’ questions. Providing valuable information will always win over product pushing.
If you were a customer what information or facts would you want to see?
This is a great question to keep in mind. When you are shopping for a product or service what information do you aim to gather? Trust that your prospects are looking to gather information similarly.
What is missing from your site?
If you are unsure, perhaps have a 3rd-party review your site and provide you with feedback. Do you know anyone that works in marketing, graphic or web design? These creative individuals keep up with current trends and can help you identify any problem areas.
Another great 3rd-party viewer would actually be a potential customer or prospect. Go ahead and ask viewers what they would like to see; someone will give you constructive feedback about what works and what doesn't. Polling is also a great way to get people to interact and vote on these topics as well.
You can also use the HubSpot website grader. This tool with help ensure you have all of the technical aspects in place once you have built out your UX.
What do visitors come to your site for?
If you can identify the top three reasons why prospects are visiting your site, those reasons will help you develop a strong UX. For example, maybe your visitors come to your site to watch a:1) “how to” video on social media best practices
2) how to video on optimizing content for social media
3) how to video on engaging influencers to further social outreach
If this is the case, then provide information and resources that help your personas establish a strong social strategy. You may be a full-service agency but if your audience is mainly interested in social media then start building there. Think of creative ways to engage viewers on social media: you can host streaming Q&A’s via Facebook Live or re-tweet people posting your blogs. Start conversations and engage around the topics your audience members care about.
Another important area is responsive design, which simply means that your UI is optimized across all playback and viewing devices. Your content can be viewed and resized to its highest quality regardless of the viewing device. Curious to know more? Checkout our short video on responsive website design.
Well, that wraps up our session together on Optimal User Experiences on Any Device. Checkout these industry leaders on UX and Web Design. Go follow them on your favorite social platform and tag us @DirectImages.
And finally, be sure to stay a while and checkout our other relevant articles:
- Provide A Better User Experience with Interactive Images
- Lead Nurturing Best Practices for a Unique User Experience
- Improve Your User Experience with Creative Marketing Solutions
Until next Time,
Peace and Happy UX
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