Last week I attended a WordChicks Meetup in Melbourne where User Experience Expert Fox Woods presented about User Experience. This article covers my key takeaways, some of which I already knew, and a few new ones thrown in too.
What is User Experience?
User Experience (UX) is
Improving the user’s experience. Both meeting the user’s needs, and going beyond what theysay they want, to create an excellent experience.Can include: usability, information architecture,graphic and interaction design, accessibility,research, service design, customer experiencedesign, data and analysis, psychology, science.
Find out more in this 20140702 WordChicks UX Sheet
Tips for giving your website visitors a great user experience.
1. Don’t include key messages on a carousel
On a website a carousel is the term for the sliding group of images that are generally seen at the top of the page. These images can also be called sliders.
Generally the carousel is designed to include text and images, but as they slide by quite quickly, Fox’s tip makes a lot of sense. Instead of including the key message that you want everyone to see on a rotating image, include it in a headline underneath the carousel.
2. Use at least 200 words of text on a page
Although it’s recommended to include at least 300 words of text for a webpage to rank in Google, this tip relates purely to user experience. Fox recommends at least 200 words, to make it worthwhile for users to click through and read the page.
Pages made up mainly of images, eg photographs, are an exception to this.
3. Link text should be a different colour to any other text
While it’s no longer necessary to underline links, or add text like “Click Here” to let people know that text is a link, if your link text has its own unique colour your users will easily realise which text is linked, and which isn’t, rather than trying to click on your headlines or other non-linked text.
4. The fold varies on different devices, and users will scroll
The fold is the imaginery line at the bottom of your browser. Everything you can see when you first visit a website is “above the fold” and you need to scroll down to see the part of the website that is below the fold.
Not that long ago, keeping key messages above the fold so that users won’t need to scroll down to read them was a key rule of web copywriting.
Although I think this is still good practice, Fox raised a great point that the position of the fold varies depending upon whether your visitors are on a computer, laptop, tablet or mobile, and how big their screen is. Nowadays, especially since the introduction of Parallax websites where the home page is long and scrolling is essential, people are used to having to scroll to read more information.
5. Don’t make assumptions
It’s easy to assume what people will and won’t do on a website. But the only way to find out for sure is to do user testing.
I know I’m guilty of using my own point of view as to whether or not a website is good, bad or in between. Often I’ll run a new AdWords campaign thinking the website is awesome, but then it doesn’t convert well because it doesn’t appeal to it’s target audience. And on the opposite side, I can think a website is bad but yet it works well for AdWords (note that often this is because the competitive websites are even worse!) My point is that by testing the website with an AdWords campaign, I can get information about what the target users think of it.
User testing doesn’t have to be a big drawn out expensive undertaking. Instead, find some people who aren’t familiar with the website and ask them what they think it’s about and what they think they can do there. You might be surprised at their replies!
Two more of Fox’s awesome tips were:
- FAQ doesn’t have an ‘s’ as the end. Writing FAQs is like saying “Frequently Asked Questions-s”
- Read Steve Krug’s book “Don’t Make Me Think”. I too am a huge advocate of this book. I read it when I first started my business five years ago and still follow the “Don’t Make Me Think” principle now. If something on a website makes me think, then it can be simplified.
If you’re in Melbourne and you use WordPress, join the WordChicks Meetup page to get notified about upcoming events.
And for specialist help to give website visitors the best user experience, contact Fox Woods.
Melinda aka Mel is a Premier Google Partner, AdWords & Analytics Consultant, Speaker and Trainer and co-owner of Click-Winning Content. Mel provides results-driven services to Australian businesses and is committed to never using an acronym without explaining it first. She also likes grand slam tennis, cracked pepper and Melbourne sunsets. Please connect at the links below.