Now there’s a controversial start to a blog post, right?
Here’s the thing though, whilst most people would disagree; you will find that nearly everyone on the internet doesn’t think.
In fact, the whole internet is made to stop people from thinking.
The Internet is based on not thinking
When was the last time you went to page 2 of Google?
I imagine it was quite a long time ago and even then, if you did venture to that page it probably is pretty rare.
When was the last time you left a website because it looked rubbish or was too difficult to find what you were looking for?
The answer to this latter question has actually created an entire industry!
It runs off what I like to call the “don’t make me think” principle.
In basic terms, when people go on the internet to look for something (information, a story, a product to buy, whatever) they don’t want to think. They want to find it, read/consume/purchase it, and then leave.
The minimum amount of mental friction between these vital steps is what we are focusing on today.
People don’t want to think about what they have to do next, they just expect it to work.
This is where good website design comes in.
User Experience (UX) or “Don’t Make Me Think” Principle
So you don’t want your audience/website users to think. You want them to just enjoy your website and get them to do whatever it is you want them to do.
The question is how?
Well, the best answer is to think about the user’s experience on the website. This has created an industry called UX design.
What is UX
In short, it’s about deeply understanding what the user wants.
It’s about understanding how they want to use the website, what would make it the easiest for them, and how to take a person from A to B with the least amount of mental friction.
It’s all about understanding what your audience comes to your website for. The user’s experience for an online shop is going to be vastly different to that of say a growth marketing agency *wink*.
Why is it important
Think about Amazon. How easy is it to purchase from them? The answer is very easy.
The simple reason for this is because they have made it incredibly easy.
In fact, you can go from the homepage to purchased items in (on average) 3 to 5 clicks of a mouse.
5 mouse clicks!
That’s all it takes to purchase anything.
What’s more, if you use the “Buy with 1 click” button that takes your experience down to 3 clicks.
Now that is an incredible user experience.
You go, you find your product, and you purchase it with a minimal amount of fuss or complication.
If you want to read reviews, they’re there and easily accessible.
If you want to learn more about the product – there is all the information just a small scroll away down the page.
All of these features are at your fingertips.
Cool Design is not UX
Please note that Amazon’s website is actually very busy and cluttered. It looks quite messy in terms of design.
MINIMALISM ≠ UX DESIGN
Just because you have a beautifully designed website it’s not worth anything if people can’t find the page to buy something from you.
Likewise, the other way around doesn’t work.
The best example of this is picking your country on one of those massive dropdown lists.
As you scroll for 8 hours to reach the U for United Kingdom, this extraordinarily long list is poor user experience because it’s causing the person to think and make an effort.
How can I improve the UX of my site?
Hopefully, you have a good idea of why UX is important for your website, now how do you go about it? Here are some of the best options you can do.
Ask your users
There is no better source of information than asking your users.
Seriously, ask them to review your website and let them be as brutally honest as possible.
That way you should have 1000+ different ways to fix your website by the end of it all.
If you can’t take such a direct approach to brutal honesty, then use your analytics and use heatmap tracking to understand where and how your users are travelling through your website.
Go through your website as a user
It astounds me to see, time and time again the number of business owners and website owners that don’t use their own website.
They have it built, they give it a cursory glance at the beginning, and then just leave it out there for the public to use but never for themselves.
Put yourself in your user’s shoes. Try and find a blog post. Try to buy a product. How easy was it? What issues did you come across?
It’s a simple exercise but really effective.
If you’re not reviewing your own website regularly then you are truly missing out on one of the best “best practices” you can do for your business and your online presence.
Hire a UX designer
Now this one is obvious, but do your research and hire a designer with experience and a good portfolio of UX design and work.
These people are worth their weight in gold, so expect to invest good money in them. Take your time and make a good choice.
Or you can talk to your friendly growth marketing agency *wink*
A short but effective introduction to UX
Obviously, this is not a comprehensive introduction into user experience design, but this should give you a good idea as to what it is and why it’s important.
At the end of the day, when all is said and done, your website is your digital storefront. The place your customers come to. If it’s not a pleasurable and wonderful experience for your customers then you are unlikely to a. Get customers to buy and b. Get repeat customers.
Invest your time and thought into tailoring your website for your audience and how to get them to take the actions you want them to take as easily as possible.