The user experience encompasses all of the connections that people have with a brand and it’s vital to that brand’s success and survival that those connections are positive ones, user experience expert and designer Jordan DeVries told What’s Next DC attendees this May in Washington, D.C.
When it comes to creating a company’s website, it’s vital for everyone involved to remember that it’s “not about you” because you aren’t your user, DeVries explained. Instead, you need to learn about your users and make the website all about them and what they want.
3 Categories of User Experience
When putting together a website there are typically three categories of user experience you need to consider, says DeVries:
- Language. The most successful websites use plain, concise language to communicate with users.
- Function. First and foremost, users want interfaces that work. They want to know where to go next on a website and they want it to be simple to get there.
- Aesthetics. After they have a website that works well, users close second priority is that a site is aesthetically pleasing.
Where Brands Go Wrong with Websites
Businesses often confuse what their users want with their own competing internal objectives and goals, says DeVries. “You can’t create your online presence based on your CEO’s preferences, you need to create it on your users’.”
Businesses also do too much talking about themselves and too much implying the value of their products and services instead of giving concrete evidence of that value.
4 Things Users Hate About Your Website
In general users are increasingly impatient and unwilling to stick around and look at more information if they can’t immediately find what they want, says DeVries. They’re also more likely to leave if they’re annoyed by website elements they hate, including:
- Ads. First and foremost, users hate ads and anything that resembles an ad. People have developed what some call “banner blindness” in response to anything that looks like an ad online. “If it’s shaped like an ad and moves like an ad, it will get ignored like an ad.”
- “New product” announcements. Users are also really turned off by “new product” announcements. They don’t care what’s new, they just want to know what’s in it for them.
- Too many choices. Choices are usually seen as good things, but too many choices lead to decision fatigue and send users away frustrated.
- “Drop-down hell.” Too many drop-down menus are annoying.
3 Things Users Want in a Website
To create a successful user experience, you first have to prove you know your user, says DeVries. Once users are convinced you get them then they will start to listen to your company’s message. “When you don’t understand your users, your users won’t understand you.”
If you’re not sure what your users want, you should follow the example of today’s most successful websites and run the tests necessary to find out, advises DeVries, who says testing is easier than ever these days.
Before you get to testing your website, though, start by taking into account what users want every company website to do, including:
- Address their pain. Users aren’t interested in hearing about your company and its products. They want to know how you can help them solve their problems. The most successful websites start by addressing customers’ pain, then present a solution, and only third offer a product or service.
- Communicate clearly. Users want things spelled out explicitly and they want you to get to the bottom line fast. They want you to guide them through your website in a clear and logical way. If you tell them where to go, they will follow you.
- Start with simplicity. The most successful websites put simple, basic information on their main pages and use internal pages and sections to provide more detail. “Get users feet wet before you take them into the deep end of your content.”
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