An excellent WordPress design relies heavily on superb UX. A designer can always draw an inspiration according to his/her taste, however, to make the WordPress layout work, it needs to be aligned with the target users and their needs.
A website is much more than aesthetics and an extravagant appearance! Your WordPress site needs to be helpful, and more importantly, useful to your prospects.
Developing a user-centric WordPress concept requires much more than just design/development. It’s all about thinking upfront, researching, and planning the layout of the site before you even insert a component, which is exactly what we’ll be talking about in this article.
1. Enter in Analytics Mode
If your WordPress site is already live and usable, but, you’re doubtful that it’s been developed with the target users in mind, you need to enter into analytics mode and analyze the metrics that are important for your conversion rate.
For the purpose, the simplest and most effective tool that you can use is Google Analytics.
In terms of content analysis, Google Analytics can help you answer some of the following questions:
- Is my Content Marketing strategy effective?
- What are the key tactics that I can implement to improve my content strategy?
- Which content is more effective in bringing traffic to my website?
- What are my content gaps?
Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels
With this report, you can see from which channel you receive the most traffic from. The other metric that you need to keep an eye on is the Bounce rate for each of your traffic channels.
A bounce rate of more than 70% is a warning that something is wrong with your website. Focus on the channels that bring you the most traffic. Analyze how you can bring the bounce rate down and keep an eye on the percentage of visitors that actually complete the desired goal when landing on your website from a specific channel.
Behavior > Site Content > All Pages
This is the report that will help you understand which one of your pages is the most effective. Again, stay focused on the bounce rate. If some pages drive more traffic than the rest, perhaps you need to create similar content or redesign your weakest pages according to the architecture of the most effective ones.
Behavior > Site Speed > Speed Suggestions
Having a slow website can push visitors away and reduce your search ranking. The ‘Speed Suggestions’ report will provide you with suggestions that you can use to accelerate your page. Take note which pages load faster and which are the slowest and follow GA’s suggestions to fix them.
Behavior > Behavior Flow
The ‘Behavior Flow’ report is a graphic representation of a prospect’s movement on your website.
If a big percentage of your users leave a particular page, perhaps the page loads slowly or you have UX/Content issues.
Use GA correctly, and you can gauge whether your WordPress layout and content has been worth the effort and whether your goals are aligned with the KPIs that you’ve defined in the first place. Getting the right insight and knowing how to use them properly is what prepares you for the marketplace.
2. Inspect Your Current Layout
User-centricity means to provide the users with exactly what they’re looking for. And modern users know what they’re looking for! They may not notice your content immediately, but you can bet that they’ll assess the UX and design of your website.
Without inspecting your current layout, it’s difficult to learn where exactly your design faults are. The way you style your site should be pleasing, and your content must be relevant and optimized for search engines.
The aspects that might help you out when analyzing the design of your WordPress website are:
- Is what I’m doing as a business obvious at first glance?
- Is this design helpful for achieving my goals?
- Does this design completely address my target audience?
- Does my WordPress design encourage users towards conversion?
Another set of crucial aspects that you need to focus on are:
- First Impressions: How do users feel when they land on your webpage? Is your website structured clearly and can people easily find what they’re looking for?
- Content: Do you have content that is easy to digest and packed with value? Examine how your content feels and how your page visuals add to that feeling.
- Site Architecture: Is the navigation unobstructed? Your website navigation needs to be intuitive. This also applies to every action button and menu on your pages.
User-friendliness is one of the vital aspects of every successful WordPress website. If visitors can’t figure out what the page is about, or they can’t understand your web navigation, they’ll leave and open your competitor’s page instead.
To examine the usability of your site, focus on:
- How long does it take for your website to load?
- Is the content of your site easily accessible?
- Does your search button work and is it visible?
- Are all the links functional?
- Is your website mobile-responsive?
- Do you properly safeguard the contact details of users?
Your WordPress website should be optimized for maximum usability. The CTAs should be just a few clicks away. Navigation must be sleek and straightforward and users shouldn’t worry about whether they’re on the page that they were looking for in the first place
Don’t forget to check the site’s accessibility too. The Internet is made for everyone, so your website needs to be aligned with that too. Your content should be accessible and readable despite all the colors, fonts, and other elements of the design.
Test Content Readability
Readability is vital because if users can’t understand your message because of inappropriate word size, bad headings, or incoherent colors; you won’t be able to keep them on your site for more than a few seconds.
When you want to gauge the readability of your WordPress site, the following factors need to be taken into consideration:
- Is the typography easy to read?
- Are the colors of the fonts and backgrounds in the right contrast?
- Is the text a readable size?
- Is the design perfectly aligned with the content?
You need a design that emphasizes the usefulness and readability of your content while making your offer clear through your content.
A design should be aesthetically pleasing, polished, and complement the message that you’re trying to convey. Ask yourself the following:
- Is the website aligned with the style of my brand?
- Is the style consistent throughout the website?
- How are the website elements aligned with my goals?
- Are there any excessive elements that suffocate my core message?
If the design of your website matches the context and the personality of your brand, you’ll have better engagement from your customers and keep them on your page. Every element needs to be perfectly combined, from typography to logo, colors, and style.
3. Analyze Your Competitors
Have you ever done a competitive analysis? Do you know who are your biggest competitors in the marketplace? And most importantly, how can you ensure that you’ll provide better online experience than your fiercest rivals?
You need to conduct a usability analysis. Collect several participants (users) from your target audience and ask them to open and navigate through yours and your competitors’ websites. If you want to avoid them being biased, don’t tell them which website is yours.
Use the 5-seconds test. For each of the websites, give the participants 5 seconds to look at each site and provide you with the following answers:
- General description for the website.
- What’s the website for?
- How does the experience make them feel?
If you hear good things about your competition, those insights will provide you with an idea of what to provide your users within your layout.
After the initial impressions test, give each of the participants a task. Tell them to get an answer or solve a problem using the websites that you provided them with. After each of the tasks, ask the users the following questions:
- What is the worst aspect of the website?
- How can the website be improved?
- What do they love about the experience?
- Additional comments?
When you’re done with the survey, you need to ask each participant a key question:
“Which website provided you with the best experience and why?”
Another thing to pay attention to is the most common trends that your rivals use on their websites. This will give you ideas on how to think ‘out of the box’ when you recreate your WordPress layout along with your CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) strategies.
Analyze your competitor’s landing pages and their UX. Make sure that your landing pages have the same crucial elements like testimonials, wonderful imagery, and CTAs. Your value proposition should fit in perfectly with the page design too.
Another way to diagnose competitive websites is with professional tools such as:
- SimilarWeb: An online competitive intelligence tool that provides traffic and marketing insights for any website. The tool provides users with a quick overview of a site’s reach, ranking and user engagement.
- Alexa: Alexa ranks sites based primarily on tracking a sample set of Internet traffic, mainly users of its toolbar for the Internet Explorer, Firefox and Google Chrome web browsers.
- Quantcast: Quantcast delivers website traffic statistics, which are designed to aid in analyzing the performance of a website from a marketing perspective, as well as identifying buyer personas in terms of their location, behaviors, and buying and behavioral preferences.
- SEMRush: SEMRush is a tool that is specific to finding profitable keywords.
- Ahrefs: Ahrefs is an SEO software suite that contains tools for link building, keyword research, competitor analysis, rank tracking, and site audits.
Bottom line, analyzing your competitors is not good just for improving your web layout, it’s also beneficial to your entire business strategy. Learn what works in the marketplace, and implement it on your WordPress site ASAP.
4. Examine Your User Personas
The most important thing in creating a user-centric layout is to actually understand your target users. Simply said, you need to know what are the users like.
To start, go through your current users/customers database. Look for common characteristics, behavioral patterns, challenges, goals. Ask for their feedback! You can always extract valuable information from your current user base.
By now, you should already have an overall picture of your buyer persona. If not, you can always use our template:
Having the perfect profile of your user persona is the foundation of your web layout. Knowing your target customers allows you to determine the parts of your WordPress layout that are needed to present your service as the right solution for them.
5. Develop User Storyboards
A user story is identifiable with his/her goals. It is a description of who the user is, what are his/her needs and why are those needs. For example:
“Jeff, a Mobile App CEO supervises the design and development process which includes assets creation and prototyping. He needs easy access to the prototyping SaaS and the libraries that designers use for the project.”
User stories can help you to establish practical information about your target users, their different needs and motivations for opening and accessing the options of your WordPress website.
A user storyboard is a visual representation of how the user would act when he/she opens your website. You can develop your user storyboard with sketching, screenshots, animations, videos, or using a tool.
Just like with your user personas, when you develop a user storyboard, you need to begin with data. There are many UX research methods that can help you collect valuable data about your website, preferably:
- Card Sorting: Write each element of your Information Architecture on a separate card and ask a group of test users to categorize them. If you want to use this technique globally, there are also numerous card sorting tools available online
- Expert Review: You’ll need an “expert” – UX person or someone you know that appreciates good website UX and knows how to recognize a bad UX. The process consists of the expert reviewing the entire interface and usability of your website and providing you with constructive and critical feedback.
- Field Study: It’s all about observing your target users and gauging their behavior according to the environment that they’re in. This can include ethnographic research, interviews, observations and contextual questions.
- Usability Test: It is all about observing users perform a single or combined tasks on your website. You watch how they do the tasks and collect data. For more effectiveness, your test users must come from your target audience.
Write Down the Plot
Think about your user story and the steps/events of the story. What you’ll need is:
- Main Character: The user persona that is involved in the story, its characteristics, expectations, and attitudes.
- The Scene: Think about the steps of using your website and the environment that the user is in.
Just write down the steps and imagine what they would look like in your storyboard.
Add the Details
With the help of details, you can illustrate how the user might feel and what he/she would experience at each step of using your site. Write down every additional detail that you can think of.
Put Everything Together
You need to collect all of your data, scenarios, steps, and put everything in your user storyboard! You don’t need a fancy tool to start, just grab your pencil or a marker, a piece of paper or a whiteboard and start with the drawing process.
Add more details and ideas as the drawing progresses. Don’t forget to include the entire development and marketing team in the process! A storyboard will be more insightful if more people are included in its development.
In the end, developing a user-centric WordPress concept should reflect the personality and habits of your target users. This is why it’s your obligation to ensure that those factors will be reflected in the design and functionalities of your build.
An user-centric development approach shows that you truly care about your prospects and that the team that works on your WordPress build genuinely cares about the work and its effect in the marketplace. Once your WordPress site is ready to meet the expectations of your target market, you can expect to convert web visitors into loyal customers.