Posted at Jul 11, 2019 9:07:00 AM by THAT Agency | Share
Website improvement ideas have to start with functionality. What makes your site more functional to customers? Really, you're asking about website UX best practices. The UX is how your customers interact with and understand your site. How do you improve that interaction so customers like your site more, share it with others, and find what they're looking for faster?
20 Surprisingly Simple Website Improvement Ideas
Page loading speed is crucial. If you have a complicated, layered page that uses streaming video in the most creative way ever invented, it won't matter if it takes longer than 10 seconds to load. Loading times should be much quicker than that, so very few people will see it. According to Google, 53% of mobile device users will abandon a site that takes more than three seconds to load. Desktop users aren't that much more patient. Most visitors will bounce out and look up the next result on their search if your site takes too long to load.
Text should always load before images. Contrary to popular belief, text is what hooks someone in to the site. The primary use of an image is to encourage you to read and stay engaged with the text. When text loads first, people start reading. When images load first, they're directing you to read text that hasn't loaded yet.
Customers should be able to navigate to their goal in a quick and obvious way. Searching for and buying products shouldn't be buried several layers down. They know you're a business; that's why they're there. Give them the option to do what they're on your site to do quickly. Some will want to linger and be convinced. Others – especially repeat customers – will want to buy quickly. Enable them to do this.
Don't place the most important element of a page at the bottom. You may be wearing people's patience instead of building their excitement. Place that important element near the top, and then support it as the page goes on. This is because the way people commonly read websites is the way they commonly read anything: top to bottom.
A dead-end page is a bad idea. There should always be an obvious link to other areas of the website. Flow from page to page is important. If a customer feels they've hit a dead end, they're as likely to look elsewhere and make a new search as they are to backtrack to other areas of your site.
You want to avoid common templates because they seem generic. This doesn't mean you should avoid all common design patterns or menu presentation. The aesthetic should seem unique, and some layout should always set you apart. When it comes to using an interface, however, the customer should be able to pick it up without thinking. That means keeping to some basic and common design rules. The trick for a good website design is mixing the unique and common together in a way that doesn't seem predictable, yet is easy to anticipate.
Say less and use readable text. What needs to be said might be very complicated. Find the most concise way to communicate main points without overwhelming the customer. If there's more that needs to be said, give them the option to link to further details. Many customers might be older or have vision problems. They're as likely to buy as anyone else, but only if they can read your site.
Bullet points, numbering, and topic headers all help a customer digest information. Website UX best practices are built around readability, and clear compartmentalization of information makes text more readable. It helps the customer break down complex ideas in ways they can easily understand. It also encourages people to keep reading.
Use creative scrolling elements, such as sideways or diagonal scrolling. Just make it very clear to the customer which direction they should be scrolling in. You don't want them thinking your site is broken as they try to scroll up and down. It's OK to use obvious visual cues for this, or even tell a reader “Scroll sideways” in some cases.
Running web pages are OK. Go back 10 years, and people expected web pages to be fairly short. Scrolling wasn't as common – this often had to do with slow loading times, not all mice and pads featuring a scroll wheel, and mobile device scrolling being less responsive. Today, pages load faster and scrolling is exceptionally easy on all devices. It feels more natural to scroll than to click, so linking pages together through scrolling works fine – especially if the content is image-heavy and punchy.
Customers are much wiser to stock photos than ever before. They can identify the hallmarks of a stock photo, and doing so means that your website seems less honest and transparent. Beyond this, stock photos are less likely to communicate consistent visual themes when used together. It's worth it to hire a professional photographer and coordinate with your marketing firm. This enables you to use images of real people that all fit what you want your site to communicate.
Titles and headings are allowed to be creative. Keep your main text elements simple and straightforward, but be willing to push the bar a bit on titles. Aim for attractive over goofy when choosing heading fonts – you can be creative in the actual wording. Just remember to be clever or sarcastic, not offensive or divisive.
Your website's look should be consistent. Website improvement ideas centering around aesthetic and presentation should change the whole site, not just one area of it. If one page looks or acts too different from the last, customers may wonder if they've been re-directed to another site. That gets them thinking about pop-ups, untrustworthy site re-directs and other security issues that can make them avoid your site entirely.
Design for color-blind customers. It's easy and inexpensive to convert your designs to grayscale and allow this option for users. Some text may need to be changed for this option, but that's not difficult and it's worth it. About 4-5% of the population is color-blind. That's a lot of potential customers who aren't being served by many websites, likely including those of some of your competitors. It will be meaningful to them that you've considered their needs.
Stick to color theory. Warmer colors seem foregrounded, while colder colors seem backgrounded. Use this to your advantage. Like any marketing rules, there are rare places where this can be broken, but know that you're taking a significant visual risk by doing so.
Make sure your website runs as intended on mobile devices. This should be obvious. Less obvious is making sure it looks good and is usable. Contrast is an issue for sites that otherwise run very well on mobile devices, and it can ruin the experience even when everything else is working fine.
True blue text should be reserved for hyperlinks only. Blue is important for links because it's ingrained in how we read websites to expect it. Many website UX best practices center around reserving certain text colors to communicate specific meanings.
Calls to action should have their own color text that isn't shared with anything else. Don't use purple – this just suggests that a customer's already clicked on it before. Even if they don't remember doing so, customers will often dismiss clicking on purple text because of that.
Make the overall structure of your website clear. Opt for depth over broadness. Websites are necessarily complicated, and each layers its pages and content with different priorities. A customer should feel comfortable navigating your site, which means they need to know what those priorities are. It makes the most sense when they can click deeper and get more specific. Avoid broad structures with too many paths at the beginning. You're more likely to click on one of three options than you are one of six.
Keep your website hierarchy to four levels maximum where you can. Obviously, burrowing into product details once they're on a product page might take you beyond this, but everything that takes a customer from landing page to product should be three or four levels only, and each page along the way should offer a way to search for products or just shortcut to one.
Identify which website UX best practices you need to focus on - and get started today with help from THAT Agency!