Why Strong UX is Important for Your Website

Avatar for Brandon Telford

Brandon Telford
Design Lead

Image on standard seoplus+ blue background, with illustration of a desktop and mobile device and various targets around the page.
Image on standard seoplus+ blue background, with illustration of a desktop and mobile device and various targets around the page.

Imagine you’re browsing a website for a new pair of shoes. You probably have a good idea what you’re looking for—maybe it’s a specific brand or style, maybe it’s your preferred colour. You spend time searching for this product, going in circles across web pages, scrolling through endless products with sparse details.

Finally, after adding a trendy pair of Nikes to your cart, you realize you can’t find the checkout screen. You click what looks like a cart icon and suddenly, the screen goes black, you become ambushed by 20 different popups, the neighbour’s dog starts howling in the distance—it’s absolute chaos.

You’re confused, frustrated, and now you’ll look somewhere else for those shoes.

When it comes to the user experience of a website, it’s critical that your product creates a positive, meaningful, and deliberately useful experience for your audience to get what they expect out of the visit, whether that’s completing a purchase, or simply finding your store hours. Making it easy for your audience to complete these actions (which we call goals) is at the heart of user experience.

So, what is UX anyways?

User experience (UX) can be described as the overall process by which a user interacts with a product, like a website or application.

The main objective is to create value for your audience by prioritizing their needs, understanding their wants, reducing friction in their decision-making, and helping them through the customer journey. By understanding how your own website performs from a user experience perspective, you can help create more value for your users, resulting in happier and more loyal customers in the long run. 

The main questions to ask when analyzing the user experience of any website (or website feature) should be the following:

  1. Is this useful to the user?
  2. Is this solving a problem the user might have?
  3. Is this simple to understand and navigate?
  4. Is this enjoyable to use?
  5. Is the overall experience consistent throughout the website?

If you aren’t checking off yes to these points, then there might be some opportunities for improvement. Understand however, that we must also remain unbiased to these points and gather feedback externally if we want an accurate overall picture of the experience.

While we might think a website’s layout is intuitive or that a button is super obvious, the customer might feel otherwise.

Understanding the impact of good, bad, and ugly UX

So you’ve got a sense of what user experience means when it comes to your website, but how can you measure the impact of a good experience versus a poor experience – and what are the consequences of the latter?

What are the benefits of good UX?

When it comes to strong UX design, simply put – a good user experience translates to good business. 

Here are a few benefits of good UX:

  • Create a memorable, low-friction customer journey with high user engagement
  • Increase in customer acquisition
  • Increase in customer retention and loyalty
  • Increase in sales and revenue
  • Lower costs, from development expenses to customer service
  • Increase in customer acquisition

What are the disadvantages of bad UX?

The results can be disastrous when it comes to having a poor user experience on your website. For instance, did you know that 44% of customers will tell their friends about a bad online experience? Yikes.

Visitors are more likely to abandon a website when it provides a negative experience – which means they are also less likely to complete their desired action.

So, what else can go wrong?

  • Negative brand perception and credibility compared to competitors
  • Impact on marketing metrics like bounce rates and site abandonment
  • Loss of leads / sales / conversions
  • Impact on SEO and search engine rankings
  • Impact on paid ads metrics quality score

In short, user-friendly websites convert more, retain a stronger customer base, and are more likely to leave a positive impression on your website visitors.

Example of good and bad UX on a product page.

What can you do to improve your user experience?

It can become a bit overwhelming knowing that so many aspects of your business rely on how your product is experienced, but luckily there are several ways to audit and diagnose this.

Review your Google Analytics data

Your Google Analytics platform can showcase a wide variety of opportunities and weaknesses that currently exist in the user journey on your website. While this data may not necessarily target the specific element of a page that is causing confusion, reviewing pages with high bounce rates / low engagement rates can often signal an opportunity.

It’s also beneficial to review these metrics between device types as well. For example, a low bounce rate for desktop users and a high bounce rate for mobile users could signify an issue with the experience of your mobile site.

Install heatmap tracking

This tool provides more visual data to get a sense of your user’s behaviours on screen. You’ll get an understanding of how far users scroll down a page before dropping off, common areas that users click on the screen to get a sense of the popular page elements, and mouse movement patterns.

A heatmap of clicks and movements can provide more accurate insight into what real users focus on when they navigate your website on both desktop and mobile.

Initiate user testing with scenarios

When it comes to understanding your pain points, no one can share honest insights better than real users themselves. This is where user testing comes in.

Initiating user testing sessions often involve recruiting users (your target audience) and inviting them to complete a series of tasks or scenarios on your site to get a sense of how an average user might approach that action. This offers the moderator a chance to discover opinions about the experience, how easy or difficult the task is to complete, and how a user feels when moving through the process. 

Illustration of an online user testing session, with users in a video meeting and a website in the left panel screenshare.

Follow design best practices

It’s important to acknowledge that what ain’t broken, ain’t need to be fixed. Oftentimes, referring to common best practices for a design component can steer users in the right direction and help improve the experience.

Consider the websites you enjoy using the most or the websites you make purchases on. What common elements exist across the board? Maybe it’s having an easy-to-find converting button in the first section, maybe the use of colour is accessible and inviting, or maybe the forms you need to fill out are simple and to the point.

Ensuring that you are designing experiences a user can easily interpret is key here. If the exit button is always in the top right, placing it in the bottom left corner may really throw some users for a loop.

Understand your performance metrics

At the end of the day, your website might have the easiest and friendliest interface to use, but if the site’s performance is poor, you can expect your users to run for the hills.

Using performance measuring tools like GTMetrix and Google’s PageSpeed Insights can often provide indicators and clues as to what is causing negative speed and load time issues on the site. Are your photos optimized for web use? Is your server super slow? Is browser caching non-existent? All of the above can impact your site, cause it to load slowly, and create a frustrating experience for your end user.

A benchmark to consider when it comes to load time is that an ideal website should load in less than 3 seconds – so aim for that!

Screenshot of performance metrics from Google PageSpeed Insights and GTMetrix

How does UX impact SEO?

At this point, you might be wondering how your user experience can contribute to the success of your website’s search engine optimization (SEO) rankings. 

Search engines, like Google, place a focus on positive user experiences in a slightly indirect method, in the sense that a positive experience creates attributes that generally affect your overall viability.

When it comes to metrics, you’ll want to focus on aspects that help to reduce your bounce rates across pages and increase the average time a user spends on a page.

This means you should be attentive to the following:

  1. Optimizing site load speed
  2. Ensuring pages are mobile responsive
  3. Creating URL structures that make sense
  4. Decluttering your menu navigation
  5. Streamlining your page design with usability in mind

It’s important to maintain a pulse check on the above in order to create unity with your SEO strategy and UX design initiatives.

How can seoplus+ help you?

If you’re looking for support in the areas of UX auditing, user testing, and strengthening the user experience of your website, reach out to us – we’d be happy to help your website grow! 

Visit our website and learn more about UX here.

Avatar for Brandon Telford

Brandon Telford

Brandon is a Design Lead & UX Specialist at seoplus+, where he creates modern web experiences for end users and conducts user experience audits for clients. With over 10 years of experience in the multimedia and design field, Brandon has worked in agency settings, as well as both the private and public sector. He is a graduate of the Interactive Multimedia & Design program at Carleton University. He is an avid fan of modern website design trends and has a huge passion for creating top-notch user experiences, while adding elements of fun and creativity.

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