Alright, let’s start with the facts, shall we? It can sometimes be difficult to assign a quantitative value to a well-designed website but, lucky for us, McKinsey already did the heavy lifting. They tracked the design practices of 300 different companies over a five-year period.
According to their report, those companies that paid attention to design and executed it strategically with UX best practices performed better financially. Check out their full report to see how they came to this conclusion.
Now that we have your attention, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of why UX matters and what some best practices are.
UX Best Practices
Your design decisions should be backed by data
Although it might be overwhelming to monitor hundreds of metrics, you can start by monitoring a few and making key design decisions based on your findings. By setting up Google Analytics and tracking your users’ experience on your site, you will have a better understanding of what users’ pain points and needs are.
The number-one thing you should be tracking? Your conversion rates. Heat maps and A/B testing can also be great tools to use for testing your hypothesis and continuing to monitor and optimize. You will want to make sure you are seeing enough traffic to a page you are testing to ensure that you have a statistically-accurate sample set from which to make strategic decisions.
Don’t design for the sake of design
Uniqueness is an important factor for any brand, including how this “uniqueness” translates into your digital presence. Your identity does not need to be a grand, revolutionary idea, but it does need to be special enough to separate you from the pack. When you start planning the design of your new website, it can be tempting to look for all the hottest trends in order to stand out. An example of this would be including every micro animation under the sun.
Instead, take a step back and think of what makes your brand unique. What is your differentiator that your audience cares about and that will push them to your key performance indicators (KPIs)? Why should they choose you? Determine what it is that makes you stand out, and build your site to highlight those things. This organic approach will result in thoughtful design elements instead of design for the sake of design. Your audience wants to be able to engage with a site and feel there is meaningful content that speaks to them. Be memorable for the right reasons.
If you have in-house designers, pass along this handy guide to Google Analytics for UX Designers: The ultimate guide to Google Analytics for UX designers.
Having a digitally-focused writer will make a big difference
Yes, having a UX writer does matter. One important component to standing out and seeing conversions on your site is your content. Content is crucial to both the overall design of the end product and every step of the website development process—from site/content maps to wireframes, design, development, launch, and ongoing optimizations. The smallest piece of content can have a major impact on your users’ experience.
An example of this is the content you use in a key call-to-action (CTA). As its name suggests, this content can either encourage users to stop and click or not be compelling enough for them to even stop scrolling down the page past your CTA. The tone of voice you choose for your website should align with your overall brand strategy and brand guidelines for brand consistency. Your content is just as influential as the colors you choose to use.
Put your website’s UX to the test
Now that you are armed with three key areas to focus on to elevate your users’ experience on your website, it’s time to get to work. Set up conversion tracking in Google Analytics, and continue to monitor key pages of your site that drive traffic to your KPIs. Test ways to increase conversions, and go with the winning variation.
If you are looking to update the design of your website, be sure you aren’t going too far down the rabbit hole of design trends. Stay on brand, and find ways to stand out that are meaningful to your audience. Audit your website content to ensure it matches your brand’s tone of voice, and A/B test some varying language on key CTAs.
Kelsey collaborates with our technical and strategy teams to develop and manage digital marketing strategies — from sign off to launch to reporting.
Kelsey has broad agency experience with B2B and B2C clients. She holds a B.A. in Communications from the University of Colorado, Boulder.