4 Basic UX Principles That Can Change the Way You Look at Your Website
There was a time when people had no inkling about UX and what it’s about.
Today, the term is becoming a more familiar word in the world of digital marketing. In fact, Google searches for the term “UX” has grown by more than 5,000% over the last few years.
But like that trigonometric concept that has been around since forever but you couldn’t grasp fully until now, a lot of digital marketers still wonder what it is, how it’s done, and how it can help their brands.
The scope may be a little wide, but you have to start somewhere. The four questions below that address the four most basic UX principles would be a good place to start.
How do you analyze and use data?
Ask any website owner about how they use their data and when they say, “I use it for nothing more than to see how my website is doing,” then UX isn’t in the picture just yet.
One basic principle of UX is making sure that you have relevant data that you can use not only to check on your current status, but also:
To see how your customers are interacting with your pages
To plan on what you can improve on
Accessing all of your data from a centralized location like Google Analytics helps make this process more streamlined. It would also help if you have regular analytical audits to ensure that you can get rid of the simplest issues right away. Things like 404 errors and broken links can ruin the user experience, and a thorough audit allows you to fix them before you start losing visitors to certain pages.
What metrics do you track?
We started off with the need to analyze and use data accordingly. Now, for that data to make sense, you need to have a set of metrics to monitor.
Focus on these three engagement metrics:
The bounce rate describes the percentage of people who left a page after visiting it. Note that this only counts visitors that visited this single page on a single session.
The exit rate describes the percentage of visitors that left a page to visit other sites, but also possibly visited other pages within your site before doing so. It is different from the bounce rate in the sense that it looks at visitors who left on the LAST PAGE they visited, while a bounce rate counts visitors who only visited a SINGLE PAGE, nothing more.
Time on Page
This computed the average amount of time that customers spend on specific pages.
Engagement metrics are always the most important, basically because they define the entire user experience of your visitors.
Let’s say you noticed that people spend time on different pages on your site, but the exit rates reflect that everyone leaves on a specific page. It’s possible that the content on that page is not as valuable as you would like, or it could be overly-filled with too many links to external pages and no links to other pages within your site.
You may also notice a high bounce rate on one page. The same issues might be happening there.
Seeing a ridiculously low time on page on a page could show you that there’s not much value there for a visitor.
By monitoring these metrics, you can pinpoint specific problems, analyze other relevant data that could be connected to these results, and come up with solid plans on how to improve those numbers.
Do you get feedback from actual users?
The third important UX principle is qualitative data.
Qualitative data is taken from user feedback. This helps you understand what problems your visitors encountered on your site, what areas they didn’t like, and what things they feel are missing.
Bounce rates, exit rates, time on page – these show quantitative data. As for your qualitative data, they describe why your quantitative data is like that.
Polls and surveys are a great way to collect qualitative data.
Some website owners admittedly steer away from these tools because they feel that page visitors can’t be bothered to submit feedback. In reality, your visitors’ response would depend on how you collect feedback.
If, for example, you notice people leaving the checkout page too quickly without bothering to pay for their purchases, you can ask something as simple as, “What stopped you from making a purchase today?” You can then give them a list to choose from, and a space where they can say things like, “I didn’t know there was an extra charge for overnight shipping,” or “I don’t want to be redirected to an external payment page.”
From there, you can find ways to address specific concerns and make the user experience better.
How consistent are you?
Consistency rounds up the four basic principles of UX.
You know how you hate it when you always fix your desk a certain way, then someone else steps in and does it for you in an entirely different way? All of a sudden, it takes you forever to find your pens, your notebooks, and everything else you need. That’s because the norm is ruined; the consistency isn’t there.
Imagine having a search bar on the upper right side of your homepage, then having it moved to the upper left on the About Us page, then showing it on the bottom of the page on your blog. As a user jumps from one page to another, it becomes a struggle for them to make a search. It ruins their experience.
To remain consistent, you have to focus on these page elements:
Intuitive navigation (Is it easy for visitors to find what they need?)
Layout (Do your pages have a strong visual hierarchy?)
Content (Is your content relevant, consistent in format and stays true to your branding across all pages?)
It’s a simple concept – the more consistent you are across all pages, the less brain resource your visitors need to move around. Everything becomes automatic and effortless to them. That makes them happy.
Although it doesn’t guarantee you a top spot on search engine results right away, it does make your visitors happy, improving the overall stats of your page. So although the journey would take a little time and effort, it would eventually lead to that sweet spot on top.