We don’t have a lot of time. Even as you read through this article, you’re already noticing your desktop notifications piling up, watching your slack messages grow and hearing your phone buzz with more engagements and tasks that need to be added to your never-ending to-do list. This mounting pressure is what makes crucial tasks such as evaluating your site’s UX, seem like a frivolous use of time. The fact is, all of the work you’re putting into graphic design, content creation, web development, SEO, social media marketing and paid ads, could all be for naught if you don’t button up your UX.
Many companies fall into the enticing trap of overly emphasizing sales and generating web traffic, without shoring up the website that they are sending visitors to. Getting caught up in the numbers game is a sure way to ruin your online reputation and damage brand integrity. If you don’t value all of your customers/users, you’ll find it extremely hard to succeed in the competitive digital landscape where more and more brands are dedicating significant resources into how to delight users.
So you know UX is serious. You also know that you don’t have a lot of time. How can you maximize your time to get the most out of your UX analysis, in a short amount of time?
If you know your brand well enough and understand what to look for, you can complete a UX evaluation in under 5 minutes. Whether you take 5 minutes once a month or once a week, taking even short amounts of time to completely focus on your website’s UX can make major improvements in your bounce rates, conversion rates and overall ROI for all of your marketing campaigns.
Visual (2 minutes)
Just like meeting a new person, a first time visitor to your site will create an initial reaction based on the visuals of your website. It’s simple human nature to place a great deal of weight on a first impression. We want to believe that we are right, and frankly, we may not have the time to comeback for a second look. When there are so many different companies to choose from online, first impressions cannot be a big enough emphasis for your website visitors.
All it takes to send visitors bouncing to a competitor is one out of place button, one misaligned section, one typo, even an error free website can still give off the wrong impression if you don’t adhere close enough to your brand identity and overall goal with your messaging.
Take 2 minutes to review your sites visuals from a user’s perspective and make note of any inconsistencies or off-putting content or layout arrangements. Keep an eye out for these visual elements in particular as you perform your 5 minute UX audit:
- Colors – Are they consistent with the brand? Is each hex code chosen appropriately for the intended goal of the section/page? Are the colors too soft or too harsh?
- Readability – Is your site easily visible to users on both mobile and desktop devices? Is the right content being featured on each page?
- Misalignment – Even the smallest inconsistencies can say a lot about the integrity and work ethic of your company. If you aren’t willing to button up your own website, how will you be able to provide quality products or services to potential customers?
- Overall impact – What’s the consensus of your site or a particular page from an initial, visual standpoint? Is your site and content consistent with your brand’s persona?
Interactive (2 minutes)
Once you’re feeling good about the visual end of your website, it’s time to get a little more serious. You’ve given visitors the right first impression. Now, are you ready to commit? Are you willing to meet the parents? You need to make sure that your UX is completely sound from a visual and interactive standpoint in order to truly get visitors to commit to you.
Provide the follow through that users expect from a site as visually stunning as yours. Without the right functionality to compliment your visual changes to your site, users simply won’t stick around if they can get the answers they need more easily, or faster on a competitors site.
It can also take away from the immersive experience that you’re trying to create with your graphics and content, if the functional aspects of your site are glitchy, slow or disingenuous. Take the time to evaluate these technical elements of your website to sure up your UX:
- Icons – Are icons catered to your brand or industry? Are the graphics sharp and appropriate for the standards you have set forth? Can users click through to find out more information if needed?
- Buttons – From the call-to-action text to the color and size of the buttons on your site, make sure users are experiencing the same interactivity throughout your site.
- Links – Are all links functioning properly? Are hyperlinks highlighted with the same color and easy to see?
- Pop-ups and drop-downs – Whether it’s a stand alone element or part of a menu, do truncated visuals function properly and fit appropriately within a given space without being cut off or blocking other important content?
- Cursor – How does the mouse cursor change when interacting with the site? Make sure each change is consistent and makes sense for its given purpose.
Journey (1 minute)
If a user is truly happy, you need to make all of the last minute adjustments and pay attention to each detail to ensure that they are ready to say – “I do.” If you’ve dedicated the time to evaluate your site’s UX from a visual and functional standpoint, there’s a good likelihood that interested users will convert into happy customers. That being said, placing yourself in the shoes of your visitors is the final step towards ensuring your UX is on point and ready to ramp up your revenue.
You should be making note of User Experience changes that can be made as you look into visual and functional elements of your site. If you have an extra minute, start to navigate your site from a user’s perspective from start to finish. Is a new user able to easily navigate your site to find the information they need, research the services you provide and make a purchase decision?
When analyzing a user’s journey on your site, think of your website as a bridge and each page as a board that connects users from one side (person with a need) to the other side (satisfied customer). If boards are broken or missing, it makes the likelihood of users wanting to cross your bridge extremely unlikely. Create a seamless path for your visitors wherever they are in the purchasing process.
This is the goal of UX. To get users from point A to point B without roadblocks, dead-ends or even a snag along the way. Even if you only have 5 minutes, evaluate your UX and create a steady flow of interested visitors and delighted customers.