Whenever you are surfing a website, the very first thing you notice is how good its interface is. You’ll naturally know this, it’s instinct. If you’re like most people, it’s likely because you visit a lot of web properties. You traverse through way more e-commerce sites, Blogs, Directories, Forums, Marketplaces and Social Sites than you ever have in the past.
Because of this your UX appreciation sharpens. You know crappy websites from well laid-out, well designed responsive sites. If the user interface is not attractive and responsive enough, then it is likely that you won’t even read the whole content of the page no matter how good it may be.
UX design strategy and execution has as much to do with placement of images and buttons as it has to do with relevant content in the right places and clarity of language and loading speeds and a host of other considerations. Many seem to think it is only about the graphic layout or just how responsive it is and how it looks on different devices and screen sizes.
User loss of interest and engagement on a product or service site is mainly the result of poor UX design. Poorly thought out content placement, overly long sentences and complicated page entrance and exits can all be culprits.
Competent user-experience strategy and execution maximizes user-retention. A case-in-point, Trip Advisor has a thriving community, due to compelling content and massive user engagement. The secret recipe is USER EXPERIENCE and functionality of their website. Another great example is Yahoo Travel again simple relevant imagery with relevant headlines leads to the article and
What Is UX or User Experience Design:
Let us first understand what UX design is. UX or User Experience refers to the experience of a user on a particular product or service page or website. It is usually measured by feedback from the user itself. This can be in the form of non-physical interactive data analytics. i.e. how long has a user been on a particular page, where did they arrive from, where did they exit to, what did the do while on that page or, it could be physically interactive data such as form filling, eBook subscription, evaluation sign up or e-zine opt-in.UX Design & Experience
This guide will explain some basic UX design areas of focus or techniques which can be implemented to amplify user engagement and enhance user experience. However, the applicability of the techniques varies with the website. For a compressive list of UX techniques we recommend you visit UX Mastery site and check out it’s resources page.
Contrast & Colour To Elicit Reaction & Response:
In essence, websites entail a variety of elements for gauging user interaction. These can include Sidebar Widgets, Input Fields, Vote Buttons, Hyperlinks and Social Buttons etc. However, the usability of these elements varies. Certain elements are given precedence; as a result, they should be designed using higher-contrast to create an element of distinctiveness. High-colour contrast inherently works with visual data processing in humans as distinctive colours may achieve more importance in terms of context. Contrast draws users to particular tasks, engaging visitors as a result. The primary motive is to develop an engagement-based interface, so encouraging traffic into performing a required action.
UX/UI Animation – The Good Stuff – Not The Old Crap Stuff:
Animations are handy to enable characteristic behaviours depending on situational requirements. Error messages initiate shakiness, whereas hovering on a button may indicate that it can be clicked. Hover animations are practical for conveying that a particular element is interactive. In some cases, this might be the only sign that a button or piece of text is click-able. When a user is in doubt over how an element functions, they tend to move the mouse over it anyway, making hover animations very intuitive.
UX animation should be inherently subtle but visible. It should never be animation just for the sake of animation or be haphazardly placed. Smooth transitional animation is essential for visually connecting two or more elements and preventing a jarring transition.
Website animations are now routine but should never serve as a means to an end. However, carefully chosen animation drives user engagement as it enables a smoother more visual experience. If we can elicit humour, belongingness, involvement or cultural identification via various animated features.
Responsive Design Keeps You In The Game:
A massive segment of internet traffic uses mobile devices to access websites. Links posted on social media websites are also accessed using mobile devices, including tablets and smart phones. As a result, each website is obligated to be optimized for a mobile experience. For nearly a year, Google has used mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor in searches. But now the search giant is taking it one step further. It now wants all pages of your website to be mobile-optimized or your rank in Google’s search results may drop.
That’s a big statement – Hold On what ? Yes Google is now demanding and enforcing mobile optimized pages of your web properties.
Responsive design strategy takes in consideration user-experience, so as to ensure proper digital experience on smaller screens. The user experience is greatly disturbed when a website fails to be accommodated in a mobile web-browser. This is the reason nearly all new WordPress & Joomla Web Templates designers use are now developed with responsiveness in mind as their number one feature.
Clear Language, Short Sentences & Active Voice:
Some might think this guideline for good User Experience might be more appropriate in a blog article on content and style. However, many times we see bounce rates spike when there is unclear and in concise language in the copy. This might be that there are too many long sentences, too much passive language, ambiguous words, spelling mistakes, broken links etc.
Ignoring these areas is the kiss of death for many websites, particularly government or citizen orientated websites where important information is being hunted down. Interesting reports have recently been complied by document & website analysis firm VisibleThread using their Clarity Grader tool to create indexes of various government websites in Ireland , The UK , The US and Australia. The findings are fascinating with various eGov sites and departments scoring batter than others. The findings essentially show poor readability levels on many of the sites scanned by the Clarity Grader tool. So how does this poor readability effect the users and in turn the web property owners.UX Design & Experience
Well ! when there is more confusion over the content and when readability of content is an issue for the user they will normally revert to calling the organization’s phone numbers and even physically drop into the organizations offices. This of course increases manpower expenses, as more phones need to be manned for longer periods and more personnel is needed in general to handle the physical in-person or on phone demand. This is where the quality, readable content fits into our UX best practices guidelines.
Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy:
Users are largely interested in a design which supports ease-of-use. In order to enhance simplicity, it’s advised to construct UX flow charts or mock-ups for every webpage. It helps to shape a skeleton for the website to be developed upon.
In short, great UX design ensures users are provided with the ‘fastest+ easiest’ method to increase the retention rate and drive-down bounce rates. The user experience should imply simplicity by-default. For instance, if a user lands on the webpage and fails to grasp the sign-up process, it only spikes the bounce rate. If a user clicks a link that says “Pricing” they should arrive at a pricing page and not a video.
At the upper-end User Experience (UX) Design can be an intricate field, needing experienced design and development teams A/B testing various options and layouts. However for most websites we should simply follow some some simple guidelines as I’ve attempted to outline here to get the basics, at least, correct as a starting point in order to enhance our users engagement and overall experience while online with us on our properties.
My mantra in relation to lead pages and specifically landing pages is Engage, Stimulate Offer & Convert. Good Lead Pages + Good Landing Pages = Higher Conversions. The objective of the landing page is to get a compelling value proposition in front of prospective buyers in a way that is engaging, credible and clear. I believe every page on a website should act as a landing page with some type of viral or connectable engagement opportunity for visitors.
If a company’s website is large or deep with many areas then it is best the site is reviewed in sections using grouped pages as iterative steps in a process to achieve a specific engagement and conversion goal. This route offers better rates of lead capture, viral share or online sale or whatever the ultimate agreed goal of the digital marketing team is. I call this web or page-chunking, by grouping a few pages together the visitor is led through some steps or pages to an end goal. This provides the opportunity for the marketing team to develop a slightly longer and more emotional value proposition. Having said this, it is more typical to work with and decide on single page, single purpose landing pages.
I believe there are 3 main areas or objectives, which need to be kept in mind when creating good landing pages that will lead to conversions.
Presentation & Clarity
Emotional Value Proposition
The biggest conversion rate gains will come from the landing pages you test and re-test.
With this in mind it is important to remember the following:
Presentation & Clarity
Keep it clear, concise and simple: My personal obsession is with clarity. Being concise and clear is at the top of the list – being everything else is below that.
Make sure your headline matches what your advertisement is saying: Always test for consistency. Time and again I see websites and landing pages with inconsistent messaging in relation to what the product or service being advertised is and I’m left scratching my head, as I’m sure the site visitors are. This is a major landing page FAIL and completely avoidable.
Emotional Value Proposition:
Promise to solve a problem: Your visitor will have some problem or other they are facing, so offer them a solution. Whether it’s with more comprehensive study results on something or the opportunity to learn better ways of marketing their products or a free trial of your amazing web scanning tool, users will respond positively to you helping with an issue they have… and remember, leave the reader wanting more.
Appeal to their sense of creativity: Use the wording “How To” or “Create Your Own” or “This Way”. When we appeal to our audience’s creative energy we draw them into an action to validate their sense of accomplishment in this area.
Avoid passive language: Try to rephrase “Passive Language” using “Active Voice” instead. Readers may have difficulty following instructional text and decisions are faster made when “Active Voice” is used in copy.
Try and see the funny side: I believe I am a funny guy and I believe you believe you are funny too. So, if we all believe this then we should all engage better with humorous titles and copy. Try out some humorous titles and sayings. People like and respond well to humour.
Always use adjectives and “sell” words: Using any of the following powerful sell words on your landing pages will have a dramatic effect on your conversion rates as they are powerful and emotionally appealing like Guaranteed, More Conversions, Discover, Better Results, Quick, Free, Now and Great.
Sometimes its best to begin with a question For example: Want Faster Conversions For Less Money? Are you missing out on new customers? How often do you check you web stats? Asking questions either open or closed ended questions requires a subliminal answer from the visitor and this tactic usually results in higher conversions than direct statements can achieve.
Emotional Marketing Value (EMV)
This free tool from the Advanced Marketing Institute [note: these links both go to a EMV FAQ] will analyse your headline to determine the Emotional Marketing Value (EMV) score. Reaching your customers in an deep and emotional way is a key to successful copywriting, and your headline is unquestionably the most important piece of copy you use to reach prospects. The tool available on the AMI site tests different variations of your headline, and then gives you a percentage score telling you whether your headline is more intellectual, empathetic, or spiritual and what emotional marketing value it has. Headline words have a predominantly empathetic appeal.
While not as common as words with intellectual impact, words which resonate with empathetic impact often bring out profound and strong positive emotional reactions in the reader. I believe having a landing page policy is important and will maximise the impact of your web campaigns. This policy could include things like frequency, design quality, re-purposing and split testing parameters.
When talking about Landing pages and content in general I always pose the question ‘Why care about optimising content?’ The answer is simple, clear and concise. Error free web content means increased customer satisfaction, more brand credibility and better online conversion rates.