When it comes to site visitors, we sometimes forget that we’re not only designing the site for the client. We’re also designing for the site’s users. What is it that users want when they visit a website?
Consider how it feels when you visit a site that’s not comfortable in some ways. Perhaps the colors are glaring, or the navigation is unorganized and not logical. Have you ever visited a site where you were unsure of what to do next or where to go next?
Now, think back to how you felt about that site and others like it. The tendency for most people is to very quickly leave such sites and go elsewhere. While the website may have great information or products, it lacks something. What is it?
The problem is that websites are not always designed to be welcoming and embracing for its human visitors. People like to feel welcomed and accepted. A site that makes you want to leave is sending the opposite impression—it’s saying, “Thanks for stopping by, but please don’t stay long.”
On the other hand, a site that welcomes visitors with beautiful design elements can leave human visitors staying on the site, rather than leaving. In fact, they may read more articles, make more than one purchase, etc. if the site is inviting.
Here are some design tips that can make your human site visitors feel more respected, comfortable and welcomed:
1). Respect a user’s time: when creating a site, make sure the elements and content are made to respect the site user’s time. We’re all busy each day. In fact, many of us don’t have enough hours in the day to get everything done. If a user visits the site and has to contend with slow loading speeds, they’ll leave. They just don’t have time to sit around and wait—they have a million to-dos waiting for them.
Another issue that may cause visitors to leave is when they have to take too many steps to gain information, or to make that purchase. If they have to do too much work, it takes time and they’ll quickly leave the site.
An example might be a long sign-up form that has too many questions. For one thing, too many questions means you’re asking for too much information. This, alone, puts off many people. It also takes up too much of their time. Make it fast and easy for them to fill out the form, buy that product, checkout, etc. to keep people on your site.
2). Avoid making assumptions: sites are generally set up with some assumptions and judgements in place. That’s because the site is built to attract a specific target audience. However, if you make too many assumptions or judgements, this will put off your human site users.
For instance, if you have a mommy site, don’t make moms feel badly if they don’t fit into a specific segment. Don’t go on and on about what this type of good mother does, what they shouldn’t do, etc. This is the type of content that can cause people to leave.
Don’t make too many assumptions or judgements about who should be visiting or using your site. While you need to be specific, don’t be so specific about site visitors that you end up offending them. They’ll definitely leave in that case.
3). Keep the shopping cart experience simple: when someone comes to your site and wants to make a purchase, the experience should be easy. If it takes too long, or if they make mistakes (hey, we all make them!), some people just give up and go somewhere to else to buy the product or service.
A shopping cart should make the process easy. For instance, if a site visitor makes a mistake somewhere during the checkout experience, they should be able to go back and fix the error. If you cause them to go back and completely start the process over again, refilling the same information a second time, they may become frustrated and abandon their shopping cart.
In addition, be sure that error messages are not harsh and stinging. Make sure they don’t make people feel dumb for making that mistake. Instead, let the error messages be gentle and clear. It’s also a nice touch to make the message encouraging. This personalizes the process and helps reassure the site user that this does happen to others, and it’s OK. Please go back and fix the mistake—it’s OK.
This way, you’ll experience fewer abandoned shopping carts and will leave customers feeling better about themselves and they’ll be more likely to come back for another visit and another purchase in the future.
4). Give clear instructions: this is another area where you can help customers feel better about themselves and improve their user experience. A well-designed site should guide the visitor to what’s next. For instance, after reading a blog post, perhaps the next step is to buy the product. Make this next step clear with a call out that’s easy to understand.
Not only will you make more sales, but clear instructions work to make site users feel more confident. They don’t have to wonder what to do next, or where to go to make their purchase or how-to signup for the email newsletter. They’re more likely to follow-through when they know where to go and what to do next.
In fact, it can be helpful to include illustrations with instructions for site visitors. Whatever method you use, jut make sure users understand quickly and easily how to take those next steps.
5). Human contact: make sure it’s evident where to seek a human contact when site visitors have a question, need help, etc. Giving your human visitors some contact information reassures them there’s someone available who is ready and willing to help them.
What if they have a billing question? Who should they talk to? A site can be designed for customers to access their account information, but what if there’s they just don’t understand? Or what if the site doesn’t address their specific question? Then giving them a contact helps them to feel better that the company is ready to help them when they need or want it.
As a result, their user experience is made more pleasant and welcoming. They’ll definitely be back again. On the other hand, if the site is cold and offers no assistance, you can be the customer will move on to another site that can make them feel more comfortable, while assuring help is only a click or a call away.
Following these tips can help improve your site’s UX. When you make people feel respected, welcomed and appreciated, they’ll be more willing to return. As a result, your site will have lower bounce rate, while your company can enjoy the growth that new customers bring.