Design and UX

How to Design Your Website for Customer Experience

Here’s how you can start building your site for experience.

Customers expect more from brands today than ever before

With the rise of new user experience trends, artificial intelligence and personalized service, companies need to ensure they’re doing everything they can to delight their audience. For most of today’s digital brands, this process starts by setting up the right website experience.

With millions of websites available for customers to spend their time (and money) on today, any friction in the purchasing or browsing journey could be enough for brands to lose sales. Designing your website for customer experience helps you to streamline the process of moving your client from the initial “discovery” stage to the point of being a loyal consumer.

Here’s how you can start building your site for experience.

1.    Get the Structure Right

The structure of your website is essential to user experience. When your customer arrives on your website, they expect to see a handful of crucial things, like a navigation bar where they can look for your “About” page, or search for specific information.

A good way to enhance the structure of your website is to make sure the navigation is sleek and simple. Avoid having a drop-down menu with too many options for customers to choose from. If you have a lot of pages on your site, you could also consider adding a “search” bar, where customers can instantly track down what they need.

Make sure the home page is clean and simple too. Here, your customers should be able to easily see what your top-selling products are, or how they can purchase something from your site. Remember, you have less than ten seconds to convey a meaningful message to your audience before they lose interest. Include a CTA (call to action) on your home page to inform customers on what they can do next, and make sure contact details are available too.

One point to keep in mind when structuring your website is that it’s best to keep section headers and names easier. Calling your “Products” page something like “Hidden treasures” may confuse your audience.

2.    Emphasize Speed and Responsiveness

Your site needs to respond well to customer queries and actions, no matter which device they’re browsing from. Around 70% of customers say they consider loading speed to be a “deal breaker” when it comes to choosing which brands they want to buy from. If your client clicks on your website and it takes ages to load, they’ll either lose interest and visit a competitor instead, or assume that your website isn’t trustworthy.

You can check your website speed test online by using a “speed checker” service. If it’s taking too long for your pages to load, consider looking for ways to cut down the weight on your website. Compressing images and reducing file sizes is often a good way to increase speed. You can also look into things like “caching” content, so it loads more quickly for customers that have already visited your pages before.

As your business grows, make sure you have the right hosting package to accommodate the number of visitors you generally get each day, week, and month. The right hosting provider can instantly transform a sluggish website into a speedy one.

3.    Prioritise Convenience and Simplicity

There are various ways today’s companies can make life a little easier for customers shopping on their website. One option is to design your website according to the website accessibility standards. This basically means that you ensure people with disabilities can still access your site and use things like screen readers to pull information up about your products.

Another option is to simply look for friction areas you might be able to remove from the customer journey. For instance, if your customers need to sign into your site to make a purchase, this can be an exhausting process from a smartphone. Make sure they don’t have many form fields to fill out and offer automatic filling for people who already have an account with your site.

For those who don’t want to sign up for a membership, guest checkout will always be an enticing option. Alternatively, you can give your customers the option to sign in through their Facebook, Google, or Amazon accounts instead.

4.    Put Mobile Experiences First

Mobile traffic now outweighs desktop traffic in most regions of the world. The chances are that your customers will be searching through your blogs and product pages on a smartphone. With that in mind, it makes sense to design for mobile first. For instance, disable auto-playing videos on your website, or anything that might drain user battery, or use data without their permission.

Make sure buttons and links are easy to click on a small screen and give customers the option to swipe through things like product pictures, rather than having to tap on tiny arrows. A lot of companies have updated their website in recent months to make them more mobile responsive. However, if you start your design with mobile in mind, you can create more immersive experiences.

For instance, maybe you can input a payment system that allows your customers to use the details saved on their iPhone or Google wallet to pay for a product, rather than having to enter details from a credit or debit card.

5.    Listen to Feedback

Finally, the best way to determine whether your website is really getting customer experience right, is to listen to your clients. Ask them for their feedback as often as possible, whether it’s on the “thank you” page when your clients make a purchase, or through polls on social media. Many customers may also leave comments about your site on review sites around the web, so make sure you check for evidence of anyone mentioning you.

The more you listen to feedback, the more you can adapt your website experience based on what your customers really need from you. You might even get some tips on how to update your online presence next, with a new app, or a live chat feature, for instance.

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