Looking back at the previous year and reflecting on what went well and what didn’t is common practice in business, and while that’s true, looking at upcoming website trends is also important.
Let’s take a look at how you can improve your website in 2019 and beyond...
Adopt a user-first mindset
Ok, so this is a really vital one. Take a close look at your website and be honest about how user friendly it really is. Adopting a user-friendly mindset is not rocket science and shouldn’t be a new concept, but it’s surprising how many businesses still don’t make it a priority.
In fact, research from Change Science Group shows that three in ten web visitors aren’t able to complete a task on a website due to poor navigation, information overload or concerns over usability.
So, how can you create a user-first website? Well, a great way to start is by speaking to your customers and figuring out what would benefit them. Knowing and understanding your target audience is key to creating a user-first site. Without this, you run the risk of customers leaving your site, and your brand and sales suffering.
Optimise page speed
Page speed is an enormous factor when it comes to customers leaving a site, and who can blame them. Speed and convenience are huge in the online world, and if your site is slow, you can guarantee that customers won’t stick around for long.
If your mobile site is a big traffic driver then page load speeds are even more critical - in 2018, page speed became essential, according to Google, when it came to ranking. And Dotcom-Tools, in 2018, the average page load time was little over a second. As we immerse ourselves in 2019, this should be even quicker. So, if yours isn’t quite there or you have any technical issues impacting page load, now is the time to address them.
UX Testing and Monitoring
Testing and monitoring are vital when it comes to UX. Without doing this, how can you possibly understand how visitors are using your site and what changes, if any, need to be made?
A great way to gain this information is to host user-testing days where you can observe people using your website and get a better understanding of the obstacles they face, the sections of your site they find easier, the parts that they find most useful or informative, and whether buttons and forms work the way you expect them to.
Analysing these results will then allow you to make the necessary changes so you can improve your user experience.
Make it social
Regardless of the type of business you have, social sharing buttons can be extremely useful for encouraging other users to visit your site and letting users engage with you. Whether you place social buttons by pieces of content, products or quiz results, the principle is the same - and the idea is to increase page views.
Take a look at the types of social media your target audience are using and place those buttons in the desired parts of your site, such as at the top or bottom of a post, or in the sidebar. And, of course, ensure that your content is of a high quality and valuable to those reading it.
Simplify required user input
A sure-fire way to drive users away from your website is by overwhelming them. Keeping your site as clear and easy to follow as possible will reduce cognitive load and increase the chance of customers staying on your site and making that all important sale or sign-up.
One area where businesses often fall is their online forms. This should be a simple stage of a website, but confusion can often set in if a form is long or complicated. In fact, according to Baymard Institute, this is the reason almost a third of shoppers abandon a website.
A smart way to improve web forms is to implement data validation tools, such as address lookup, phone verification and email validation, which speed up the form-filling process and gives users the confidence that they have entered the correct details.
Chatbots have become a popular UX tool for businesses over the past few years, and there are several good reasons for this. For one, they are a great way for users to get the information they need without waiting. Consider a customer going into a bran, store or office. They will, more often than not, be met by a member of staff who will be able to help them out, but online it’s often a different story, which can leave users frustrated and none the wiser when it comes to resolving an issue.
This is where chatbots can play a useful part. Not only do they improve customer service, but they also save costs (think employee costs and cross-platform apps), and increase brand engagement.
So, think carefully about what your users really want and work hard to give them exactly that. If you can make your users happy, you’ll be well on your way to creating the best possible website for your business this year and beyond.