5 key aspects for optimizing your website
Nowadays, when you build or redesign a website for your business, be it a startup or a large corporation, you seldom have in mind just the presentation part of it. Websites nowadays are more and more directed towards conversion – getting users to accomplish your website’s purpose: sales, lead generation, event attendance and much more. Therefore, we can easily infer that a high conversion rate is the expression of a successful website and at the same time, of a well performing business.
As such, one must remember that there are numerous factors which should be taken into consideration and the summary below is only the starting point for understanding their importance and how highly interconnected these elements are.
- User experience
Now, what does user experience (UX) have to do with conversion? Well, almost everything. Beyond being just a frequently used expression in today’s website related discussions around the world, a desideratum for all designers, IT people, managers and so on, UX has become a crucial aspect for the success of your website. UX is no longer optional. Neglect your users and you will basically neglect your business.
Very simply put, by having a good UX, you will reduce the number of unnecessary clicks and pages between your user and his final purpose, as well as improve his overall encounter with your information – no more back and forth between pages and no more informational overload.
- Information architecture
Many websites nowadays deal with huge amounts of information, and the biggest challenge is to organize it in such a manner as to ease navigation and help the user accomplish his purpose as swiftly as possible. A technique that can be used especially when having to summarize numerous items in a navigation menu is card sorting.
This method consists in grouping items in different categories and finally naming these categories. This is usually performed by more groups of people, with the primary focus being on what elements were most frequently grouped together by participants and the names given to the resulting categories. The sorting process provides you with information regarding terminology (as your users might perceive and call your products differently from the way you perceive them), relationships (similarities between products) and categories (the groups of products and their names).
- Emotional design
The fact that UX is very important is – to some extent, known and accepted by now. However, there are voices in the field that stand up to claim another truth; not opposite, as one might think, but complementary. As far as I’m concerned, Emotional design fits UX’s purpose like a glove. Emotions generate memories. Therefore, as quoted by Dianne Cyr, Hassenzahl stated: “In HCI, it is widely accepted that usability is the appropriate definition of quality. However, the focus of usability on work-related issues (e.g., effectiveness, efficiency) and cognitive information processing has been criticized. Its quite narrow definition of quality neglects additional hedonic (non-instrumental) human needs and related phenomena, such as emotion, affect and experience”.
Therefore, besides being user friendly and well-structured, your website should also be warm, inviting, appealing emotionally and aesthetically, in order to generate not only a good, enjoyable and memorable user experience.
- Go mobile!
The fact that more and more people are heading towards mobile devices is no longer a secret. However, making your website fully mobile-friendly is not as easy as it seems. Even in 2015, there are numerous websites which are not responsive and even more websites which are only scalable. Making all your elements smaller for mobile devices is not enough and it is highly recommendable to design specific mobile versions. Also, let’s not forget about app development, which I consider to be the future of web interactions.
- Data driven decisions
As far as I’m concerned, this might just be the best part of it all. Nowadays, all decisions that you make online have easily quantifiable results. Using or not using a slider, placing your Calls to Action on a specific page to some other’s detriment, writing benefits instead of descriptions will have measurable results in your analytics tools, letting you know what you did good and where there is still room for improvement.
In this highly dynamic field, keeping up to date with the latest trends is crucial. Make sure you adapt to the increasing tendency of using mobile devices and that your decisions are based on data. Even more important than that is to learn from your mistakes, in order to stay competitive and get the most out of your website. And no matter what you do, always maintain a user-focused vision, who at the end of the day is the final beneficiary and judge of your website!
- Image source: Pixabay