What is Online User Experience?

Online user experience in simple terms is a phrase used to summarise the overall experience an online user has with a website. This encompasses a variety of aspects, but most commonly ease of use.

However, a good user experience isn’t just about the user interface, looking deeper into user experience a number of cross functional attributes are collated in order to generate a strong end user experience; functionality, credibility, validity and navigation to name a few. Each of these attributes helps in shaping the consumer’s perception of your company or brand, thus it is of importance to constantly evaluate your online user experience.

6-Steps-to-Ensure-a-Great-User-Experience1-1 6 Steps to Ensure a Great Online User Experience

Benefits of Good Online User Experience

Having a good end user experience is more than just building a stronger brand image, the following points are just a selection of benefits to a great online user experience:

  •         When the OUX is good, the customer’s satisfaction rate increases, resulting in referrals or repeat business.
  •         Conversion rates are likely to be higher due to ease of use.
  •         Smoother crawling, accessibility and engaging content are likely to decrease bounce rate.
  •         Having an easy to use, yet engaging OUX differentiates you from your competition.

What Makes a Good Online User Experience?

Online user experience is a complex and ever-changing field. It requires constant research to enable an organisation to address the needs, motivations, attitudes, expectations and online behaviour of their targeted users. To achieve a strong user experience, a company must fully understand these attributes and implement them in a number of ways, of which a selection are listed below:

Making Your Site Relevant to Your Target End User

A common misinterpretation that web designers encounter is generating an OUX targeted at “everyone”. Targeting your web page at “everyone” may provide a huge market, however, it is much harder to generate something of value when trying to target such a vast amount of end users. Find out who your target market is, research into their online behaviours, needs etc., then focus on narrowing down your online user experience into something that excites and interests the more relevant end user. This will not only save on the budget, but is more likely to increase your profitability.

Ensuring it is User Friendly

A website can be one of the most powerful marketing tools for an organisation. It is of importance to have a striking display that catches the eye of the consumer and gains their interest, however, no matter how the website looks, if the ease of use isn’t up to scratch, the bounce rate is likely to be much higher. Make sure your website encompasses all the online behaviours of your target end user. For example, gain an understanding of how your target consumers use the web, as well as finding out what their preferences are on crawling sites, then use this to your advantage.

Making the Navigation of Your Site Natural and Findable

When designing a site, it is vital to ensure that all aspects of the operating system are intuitive, resulting in a site that offers spontaneity and natural flow. An end user should never have to pause in order to navigate the site, your site should be obvious and self-explanatory. A clear and concise structure, easily recognisable links or navigation tools and moderate visual clues can help your end user crawl your site with ease.

The most generic scanning pattern for a site is known as the “F-pattern”, meaning many users view your site following this configuration. Placing content within this outline on your homepage, with regards to answering any optimal questions the consumer may have visited your site for, eases their navigation, as well as retaining interest. It is likely that the user will want an instant gratification from your site, meaning a cluttered landing page is likely to send them running and seeking your competitors.

Desirable Content

The content within your site is one of the major things that will keep the interest and attention of your end users. Having a fantastic looking site, and great navigation is brilliant, but not having the desired content within the pages is most likely going to kill your site. Internet users actively search for sites in order to answer a query or provide a service.

The content can be seen as the prior factor before conversion, if not the actual conversion itself. Ensure that your content is satisfactory to the consumer’s needs, and answering as many questions as possible. Further, generate content that provides easy to find links or leads toward the end conversion, further improving the user’s experience, as well as potentially increasing your conversion rate.

Credibility

Regardless of whether people find useful and practical content on your site, if it isn’t trustworthy, the content is useless. Make sure that your users will be confident that your site is a credible source of information.

Ensure your site amicably describes who you are (about us page), with useful contact information in the case of queries. Also, where possible, incorporate “link to” pages in terms of any other platforms your brand has a presence on. For example, if a customer can easily link to your twitter and see you have a good follower base, this will instantly increase your credibility.

Scheduling Regular Test Days

Do not think that once your website has been created it is final and unchangeable. It is vital that you constantly review your site and research into crucial insights regarding your target end users preferred layout. Find out whether your site is hitting the correct score for user experience – this can be done by incorporating surveys on your site, conducting focused usability tests with current users or by implementing user experience audits.

The results may not differ, meaning the site doesn’t require too many changes, however, it is important to generate a user experience improvement schedule, allowing you to formally measure and note down the site’s performance and any required changes in regards to consumers’ changing behaviours.