An excellent WordPress design relies 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. Your WordPress site needs to be helpful, and more importantly, useful to your prospects.
A user-centric WordPress concept is 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 what we’ll be talking about in this article.
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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.
Regarding your content, with Google Analytics, you can address your content’s effectiveness, where your content strategy needs improvements, and which content performs the best. There are several reports that you must use if you want to thoroughly analyze your pages on GA.
Acquisition > All Traffic > Channels
It is a report that shows you from which channel you receive the most traffic from. Here, the crucial metric that you need to pay attention to is your bounce rate.
A bounce higher than 70% means that something is off on your website. Inspect how you can lower the bounce rate and pay attention to the percentage of visitors that browse through multiple pages to achieve a specific goal on your site.
Behavior > Site Content > All Pages
This report shows you which are your most effective pages. Again, pay attention to the bounce rate. If certain pages receive more traffic, you should develop similar content or revamp the pages completely.
Behavior > Site Speed > Speed Suggestions
A slow website is never good. The ‘Speed Suggestions’ report gives you suggestions that you need to implement to improve your site’s performance.
Behavior > Behavior Flow
This report is a visual depiction of the users’ behavior on your website.
If most of the users leave a specific page, perhaps the page loads slowly, or you have UX/Content issues.
Use GA correctly, and you can gauge whether your WordPress concept has been worth the effort and whether they are aligned with the users’ goals and needs.
2. Inspect Your Current Layout
User-centricity means to provide the users with exactly what they’re looking for. Users would not notice your page design immediately, but you can bet that they’ll assess the UX of your site.
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.
Ask yourself the following questions when analyzing the layout of your WordPress website::
- Is what I’m doing as a business evident 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?
The crucial areas that you need to concentrate on regarding the layout are:
- First Impressions: Is your layout structured so that users can easily find what they’re looking for when they first open your site?
- 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.
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 mantra too.
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 at the same time.
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
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 tell you what the website is about, and how does the entire experience made 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 was the worst thing about the website, how it can be improved, and what did they love about the experience.
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 trends that your rivals benefit from on your site. This will help you think ‘outside the box’ when you optimize your current WordPress website design, along with your CRO (Conversion Rate Optimization) strategy.
Another way to diagnose competitive websites is via professional tools such as:
- SimilarWeb: a 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 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 must have a detailed knowledge 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 need to deliver your message.
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: Ask a group of test users to arrange each element of your Information Architecture by using a card for each of the elements. If it can’t be done physically, you can search for various card sorting tools online.
- Expert Review: Hire a UX expert that knows how to recognize the good from the bad on your site. Allow the expert full freedom to express his/her constructive feedback.
- Field Study: Observe the users’ behavior on your site. Afterward, conduct interviews and ask them about the observational and contextual aspects of your website.
- Usability Test: Watch how your target users perform specific tasks on your site and collect data.
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.
The Infographic: How to Develop User-Centered WordPress Concepts
In the end, creating 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.
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