You may have heard the terms User Experience or User Interface, UX/UI for short. Over the last two or three years this has been one of the biggest phrases in web technology. Just like mobile friendly or mobile first, these terms can be thrown around frequently without taking a step to think about what they really mean or the true benefit they can have for your web presence. With the world shifting more and more to mobile devices, you need to be thinking is your user experience mobile friendly?
If a site fits on the screen of your smart phone, is it truly mobile-friendly? If you design a website with primarily a mobile experience in mind, you've achieved a mobile-first approach, but now is your desktop version suffering?
What it really comes down to is this; Do your customers enjoy using your site? It's great to have a site that looks good, but can your customers navigate it, on any device, without a certain level of frustration? Does the full site look bare or dull, because it has the same experience that is being used for phones? If a site is easy to understand and is easy to use on any device, then you've hit the jackpot. This is tremendously important to your current customers' experience (which should be your paramount concern) but it also has a tremendous impact on attracting new customers.
A bad user experience, doesn't just put you at risk of losing current customer to your competitors, but it also may hurt your chances of attracting new ones.
Google ranks pages on its search engine in a certain order. Obviously, the closer to the top you are the better. If you're not on page two or better, you might as well not be on it at all. When a customer comes to your site and leaves because they cannot figure out what to click or what to do, this is negatively affecting your page ranking. Not only does Google's algorithm calculate usability, but also the mobile customer experience is used to determine ranking.
Here are just a few ideas to clean up your web design elements for optimal usability..
1. Use controls that will work on all varieties of screens. Controls like tiny check boxes or drop down menus can cause frustration on a small device.
2. Turn on and off features based on the device the customer is using. Real estate on a phone screen is important. It is easy to hide content that is not essential or just doesn't make sense in a smaller format. If you have a gorgeous picture of a sunset with an inspirational quote and it looks fantastic on your desktop, great! But, a person on the go who is scrolling through the mobile user interface can probably go without it.
3. Stay away from form Inception. Windows in windows are the worst on mobile. If you are dealing with two scroll bars or have to touch a tiny "x" to close something, you will be cursing the name of the designer.
4. Conversely, your full site should look clean and neat, but not overly simplified. There are a lot of new bells and whistles out there. You want your site to stand out from the thousands of word press sites that all look EXACTLY the same. Dumbing down your site so that it works across all screens may seem like a good idea, but you may want to take advantage of the large amount of space most full sites can provide and just turn off features that don't make sense on mobile devices.
5. Make sure you incorporate features that will improve the usability of your site. As technology is constantly is improving, you can make your customers online experience with you easier and more efficient. Mobile devices are getting more powerful, so you don't always have to sacrifice your full site features when it shifts to mobile. Just make sure the interface shifts to a mobile interface as well.
6. This doesn't just start and stop with your website. Make sure you integrate your strategy across all your digital platforms. Social Media and Mobile Apps can be an effective way to improve your user experience. They also can be a great way to indirectly improve your SEO.
When starting out on the path of a new web experience, take a deep dive into how you are going to make your site user friendly across a variety of schemes. No matter how pretty or informative a site is, if your customer gets frustrated using it, they will eventually leave for greener pastures.
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