Bad user experience, we’ve all been there, haven’t we? You go online, and you want to learn more about a topic, read about a product/service that you’re interested in, and do some work too.
There’s just one problem – either the website you opened is slow, or the layout and the design are as ancient as Netscape. For the modern user, that’s a massive roadblock in the online experience and the main reason why the users leave the page and never come back.
Your WordPress website is capable of leaving a strong impression on the users. Whether that impression is good or bad, it will depend on how well you optimize your WordPress website UX.
However, optimizing your website’s UX is not as easy as it seems. Not every site owner knows what to do in terms of usability and its improvement. But, with a robust CMS like WordPress, UX optimization can become more manageable.
What Is User Experience (UX)?
User experience (UX) is a term that speaks about the user’s emotions and viewpoints when using a particular website, product, system, or application. It involves the pragmatic, observational, emotive, and every other significant aspect of the human-product relationship.
Most importantly, it involves the user’s abilities to look at systems/products as a utility that needs to be usable and efficient at the same time.
An excellent UX is critical for your WordPress website if you want to have a design that stands out and that your customers find delightful.
The Factors That Influence Your Website UX
Peter Morville, a Fortune 500 UX advisor coined the following seven factors affect your product/website user experience:
If your WordPress website is not useful to someone, why bother having an online presence? Non-useful sites won’t benefit the users, and with them, you won’t be able to compete with your industry rivals that have websites with useful features and content.
The usability of your website relates to the ability of users to navigate in it without any problems or distractions. For example, large enough click areas, intuitive spaces where users know they can click.
Your WordPress website must have an ease of use for the users to feel accomplished and to have a transparent, defined process for them.
Your website must be easy to find in the search engines. It is closely related to your SEO, and flawless UX is one of the critical factors that ensure you’ll be higher in SERPs. On your website, your products and your content must be easy to find too. Headlines must stand out. The navigation must be easy to access, and the landing pages and service pages should not be difficult to spot either.
If the users can’t find anything when they land on the page, how do you expect them to buy or keep reading your content?
You won’t get a second chance to wow web visitors with your site. The user must trust you as soon as he/she lands on your WordPress website. And how can the users trust you more? Through testimonials, real images of your team, certificate, and industry recognition badges, and more.
Without an impeccable UX, it’s impossible to attain credibility.
Apple and HTC both make smartphones. They’re both useful, usable, findable, and credible products. But, one cannot deny that people consider the iPhone as a more desirable product than HTC’s models.
HTC sells many smartphones, and they’re certainly a popular item, but if people have it in their budget and need to choose, they’ll often go for the iPhone. Apple is convinced that they offer the best phone in the world, and they know how to brand that on their website.
Make sure that you nail the copywriting. If you know you got what your customers need, don’t sell the specifications and stats. Sell the feeling, and attract the users.
The desirability of your brand should be conveyed in your design, logo, images, elements, and overall aesthetics. The more appealing your website is, the higher your user retention will be.
Web accessibility is all about allowing users with disabilities to navigate your website. Your website should be easy to use for everyone. Accessible web design is obligatory, and businesses must consider it in the web and UX design process.
When users open your website, the value that you want to deliver must be visible immediately! Without it, it’s impossible to convince a person to give you attention or pay for your product/service.
The Business Effect of a Good Website UX
A good website UX is something that will pay off in the long run:
- Keep and Increase Your Web Traffic: Every millisecond is essential when it comes to website speed and UX. Up to 47 percent of consumers expect from a webpage to load in less than 2 seconds. A delay can result in an increased bounce rate, not to mention telling other users about the bad experience.
- Reducing Bounce Rate: By optimizing your website’s UX for success, you’ll keep users longer on your website, and they’ll explore more of your content. It will result in a reduced bounce rate and ready-made conversion opportunities for your business.
- Positive User Feedback: Good UX is what separates you apart from your competition. If all the right elements are where they should be on your page, users will give you positive feedback, and refer your site to their peers.
Optimizing Your WP Website UX for Success
Without further ado, here are our top tips if you want to optimize your WordPress website’s UX effectively:
1. Before You Optimize, Research
UX research is the backbone of the successful website design. To know what to analyze, how to analyze it and how to apply your insights is mandatory if you want to optimize your website UX for success. Let’s look at the following UX research techniques and how they can bring you value when you optimize your WordPress website.
It is a straightforward concept. Write down the elements of your Information Architecture on separate cards and ask a group of test users to arrange them. To use this technique, you can use a card sorting tool that will help you gather data much more comfortably.
Find a UX expert that can tell the difference between good and bad UX. Let him/her examine the entire website and provide you with an estimate and critical feedback. It is an excellent way to gather insights about your UX and see the site from an expert’s point of view.
Conducting a field study can combine numerous UX research techniques in one place. Observe how the users behave with your website in their environment. It is one of the best UX techniques to help you learn how the user is feeling in different situations. You’ll get deeper insights into problems that users face, and as a result, you’ll find new ways of solving them.
Usability testing is a technique that can help you evaluate your website by testing it on potential users. Observe how the users perform one or multiple tasks on your website. You watch how they do the tasks and collect data. Make sure that the group of users consists of your target customers.
Your user personas are a fictitious model of your ideal target users and need to be focused on the traits and behaviors that they should display. They can help you assess what the user expects from your website.
You can use your user research data to develop your user personas and outline a detailed portrait for your design and marketing team to help them understand user’s needs.
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2. Increase Website Speed
There are no longer excuses for having a slow-loading WordPress website. It is critical for good UX. If users bounce because they had to wait for a second longer, your search ranking will be significantly reduced, and not to mention that the users might never come back to your site.
To examine your website speed, you can use Google’s Page Speed Insights. It will help you assess how your site performs on desktop and mobile devices, what is good, and the aspects and elements that you’ll need to improve.
Some of the best ways to speed up your WordPress website are:
- Choose The Best Hosting: The number of users that you’ll lose as a result of frequent outages with shared hosts comes with a price. This is why we recommend only the best managed hosting for your site – Pagely. Websites hosted on Pagely are blazingly fast, never experience downtime, and are as safe as the Fort Knox.
- Use a Caching Plugin: Use Nitropack.io. It’s a fantastic performance optimization plugin that immediately improves the PageSpeed score of your WordPress website, optimizes your images, and resolves your HTTP requests.
- Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN): A CDN takes the static files of your site and helps the visitors’ browsers to download them faster via the nearest possible server.
- Optimize the Database: For this, you can use the plugin WP-Optimize. It helps you clean up your database from spam, post revisions, tables, drafts, to reduce overhead.
3. Have Clear CTAs and Messages
It doesn’t matter what your WordPress website is about; your CTAs must be crystally clear. You need to know where you want to guide the users’ focus as soon as they land on your page.
When users land on the page, the CTA, and additional messages are what prompt them to action. CTAs often go alongside buttons or links, which in the best case, are highlighted and visible.
If your CTAs are prominent, and also aligned proportionally the rest of your page elements, users will notice them with ease. Dropbox’s page is an excellent example of this.
A simple design, proper use of whitespace, and a distinguishing color make for an effective CTA UX.
Another good example would be Prezi’s CTA on their landing page
They express their core message clearly, with great typography and a convincing tone. The information is perfectly conveyed, and people know what the page is about when they open it.
4. Make Your Content Scannable and Stylish
Unless you’re writing long-form paragraphs for classic book content, please make the content on your website scannable and enjoyable to users.
When you format the content on your WordPress site to be scannable, you do the users favor. The way they navigate through your content should not be interrupted at all. An improved content scannability will lead to:
- Greater content comprehension
- Decreased errors
- Improved site navigation
- Lowered bounce rate
- User retention
- Better search ranking
Before you improve your content’s style and scannability, you need to test it. Some of the following content scannability testing methods might be already familiar to you:
- Usability Testing: Gather a small group of target users and observe them how they get around with your content. Notice how they read it, where they stop, scroll and if they close the page or not. See where the users’ attention goes and amplify that by placing your most important content elements there.
- A/B Testing: Pick two versions of the same content and test them to see which one will fare better. Again, you can do this with a group of people or use a software. Maybe one headline makes people read the article immediately and another headline turns them off. Or if an Infographic is a better alternative than an article for that title.
- Web Analytics: Implement Google Analytics and analyze the pages that got the most engagement and time spent by the users. There lies the content architecture that you can implement across the entire site. GA will let you know what you’ve done well so far in terms of content. You can boost/update your best links or develop similar topics and articles.
After you’ve done the tests, it is time to make the content scannable. Start with the headings and subheadings. Every content creator is tempted to be creative and unique with subheadings. But, you don’t want to lose the user that scans the content. That’s why you should make them explicit.
Look for list opportunities within your content whitespace. If the paragraph that you want to write has no more than two sentences like the following, it’s an excellent one to be included in a bulleted list if every other next is similar.
It will help if you use bold or italic formatting when you want to emphasize something important in your content. With that, you can help scanners see where they should stop and focus on the “meat of the plate.”
When it’s appropriate, pull quotations into blockquotes. This will show scanners there is a critical point in your content that they need to keep an eye on.
Don’t be enigmatic when you link something within the content. Make it contextual and clear where they’ll go next if they click the link.
Writing short paragraphs is a real no-brainer advice here. Short paragraphs keep readers moving throughout the article and if your content is good enough, stay all the way to the end.
Think About Content Style
When you know that the primary goal of your website is to deliver value to your audience, you need to have a content-first approach in its design. Structure your content to look beautiful, but be careful that it doesn’t impede the rest of the page elements. Concentrate on the following:
Nobody likes bad images. Small images are not visible for the users, and the larger ones present a significant burden on your website performance, even though with the new 5.3 version of WordPress, things have been improved. The resolution and the size of your images must be flawless.
Take notice of the image context too. A decorative image might be useful here and there, but in most cases, people will ignore it. Think about the typical corporate website, for example. Almost always, you’ll encounter either a photo of buildings or a stock photo of an unknown team.
Yes, people get that you’re a modern business situated in a city environment. But, an image like the above doesn’t show genuine and down-to-earth people, and it provides almost zero value for the consumers.
You should never use an image if it didn’t help you deliver your core message. It must have an emotional effect on users. People can overlook the text, but an image has a better shot of staying in their minds.
When Apple brought the first Mac into the marketplace, they did something that wasn’t done before – including ten different fonts that you can choose from. That was quite a big breakthrough back in the 80s. If there wasn’t for Apple, we might’ve stayed with the awful Commodore font:
The typography of your plays a significant role in the UX and UI of your WordPress website. It is one of the crucial factors for communicating the content to your audience. Many things have evolved since the Apple example above, and here’s what you need to consider today if you want to nail the typeface UX of your website:
Hierarchy: Typographic hierarchy is fundamental if you’re going to communicate your content soundly.
Image Source: 99Designs
Font Selection: You’ll need to use a typeface that looks good in every size.
Image Source: Awwwards
Text Dimensions: Use a mathematically recommended font size. Start with 16px for the body, and go further for your headlines, titles, and the header.
Image Source: Typecast
Text Alignment: For your content, always use the left-to-right alignment rule. Use centered alignment for pull quotes, and mix things up if you want to use text overlay on top of images and page graphics.
Image Source: Medium
Line Distance: One of the easiest ways to style your content and improve your UX is to add enough space between content lines. For ideal readability, aim for 130%-180%, and limit your line length to 80 characters.
Image Source: JustInMind
Letter Spacing: For your headlines and larger type sizes, you can use narrower line spacing, and for the smaller typefaces, use a slightly wider letter spacing to improve readability.
Image Source: UX Movement
Colors and Contrast: Don’t go for the fully dark font, unless you’re a 19th-century newspaper. Instead, go with the dark grey color. Laptop and mobile screens have a harsher contrast than a paper, and that’s the reason why they’re fatiguing at full contrast.
Image Source: UXDesign
White Space: Whitespace is the area between the elements of your page’s design. Without balanced whitespace, your content will be overwhelming for reading.
5. Optimize for Mobile
With WordPress as your CMS, the chances are that the mobile experience is decent from the moment your page is published. Still, everything can be optimized for the better. Here’s how:
- Focus on Essentials: Determine what the essential tasks that the user needs to perform when on the move are. Then, optimize the mobile UX to ensure that those tasks are not more than two clicks away.
- Use a Sticky Search: Search is one of the crucial elements of the mobile experience. For the users that want to quickly access one of your subcategory product pages, or a specific article, the search option must always be visible in your sticky menu.
- Keep the Forms Short: For an ideal mobile UX, make sure that your forms are concise. Remove the excessive info that is much more suitable to be provided to you on a laptop, and focus on the essential information that you need.
- Have Reachable Buttons: Appropriate button spacing will ensure that each of the functions on your mobile website can be easily activated. Make enough room for an average fingertip to be able to click on a button without any problems at all.
6. Follow the Common Principles
UX design, as an innovative and evolving discipline, is always open to creative approaches. However, there are some fundamental principles that every website owner and designer must understand, and that needs to be applied to your WordPress website:
- Meet the Users’ Needs: The words ‘User Experience’ makes it clear on what you should focus on. Learn what your target users want and need in a website, and provide that to them. Even if the UX looks pretty amazing to you, think of the users who would appreciate it.
- Stay Consistent: When they navigate on a given website, users expect to find commonalities with other similar sites that they’ve used. It allows them to quickly get familiar with a newly opened website, without having to learn how all over again. Maintaining consistency in your design will ease the work of the designers, and will improve the experience.
- Ensure Accessibility: Design your WordPress site to be usable for as many people as possible. Make your website accessible to people with disabilities. Remove any obstacles to ensure hassle-free navigation.
- The Less, The More: Reduce any operational and cognitive obstacles for users. A design should not be cluttered.
Design Intuitively: If you want to have an impeccable WordPress UX, you must make it intuitive first. Consider the following steps make the intuitive design work for your website:
- Understand Your Target Audience: Knowing your target users will set you on the path to developing an intuitive WordPress website. You need to dig down as much as you can, including your target user’s age, gender, likes/dislikes, occupation, family, location etc.
- Simple Navigation: You don’t need to reinvent the wheel when it comes to intuitive design. The navigation on your website should be familiar and make sense to users.
- Expert Copy: Yes, copywriting is vital for SEO, but it’s also crucial for better UX and intuitive experience. A professionally-written and properly arranged website copy makes every segment of your website recognizable.
Just because we listed the ways to enhance your WordPress website’s UX above doesn’t mean that you need to do them all to be sure that you’ve done the job right. UX design and optimization is an ongoing process, and you need to optimize your page after each user trend and after each usability analysis. What is modern today, may become old and overused in the following years.
Remember that when you want to improve your UX for success, you should always have the users in mind. Their feelings, needs, familiarity with the web elements, they all matter. Keep in mind that this will be an ongoing process, and as you optimize and improve, you’ll capitalize on it.