Learning all the ins and outs of user experience design can seem overwhelming to business owners. People spend years learning UX design, after all. However, there are some simple UX strategies that almost anyone can implement that will take your site from ordinary to extraordinary with little time or monetary investment.
Optimizing your content for users is just smart business. About 79% of users say that if a site is not optimized for their experience that they will search for another site instead – more than likely one of your competitors. If that isn’t enough to convince you to implement some basic UX strategies, seeing some simple solutions below probably will, because you’ll see just how easy it is to make your site friendlier to users.
1. Responsive Design
Today, around 80% of internet users own a smartphone and access the internet via their phones at least part of the time. This means that you need to focus on making sure your site is responsive to different screen sizes. Many designers are starting to design for mobile first and then add on features for laptops and desktops.
Texas Roadhouse’ site is one example of an extremely mobile-friendly web presence. The design is minimalist, and the focus is on finding a location in your area. Their loading time is super fast, which is aimed at mobile users as well.
2. Offer Content
There is one thing about the internet that stays consistent over time – people want great content and content drives people to your site. Your site isn’t very user-friendly if it doesn’t offer any content of value to the reader. Even if you sell a product, you still need to figure out how to create content related to that product. If you sell makeup, you might provide beauty tip videos. If you sell clothing, then you might offer ideas for outfit pairings.
Hidden Valley offers a nice take on content on their website. They provide recipes for all different occasions. You can go right to the latest recipe from the home page, or you can click on the recipes tab and browse categories such as “holiday,” “appetizers,” and “breakfast.” You can also filter your search results by ingredients you have on hand, type of meal or length of preparation.
3. Dropdown Menu
Dropdown menus allow users to quickly find what they need, so they’re a fantastic way to enhance user experience. There are times when a user comes to a website and immediately forgets what they were searching for because there is so much clutter on the page. You may not have time to completely redesign your page at the moment, but you can add this navigation feature to help the user focus on where they need to go.
One example of a site that offers a nice dropdown menu option is McElroy Metal. While this particular page is not cluttered to start with, the dropdown menu still makes it easier for users to find the exact page they’re looking for.
When the user hovers over any of the tabs located across the top of the page in a navigation bar, the ones that have subcategories show a simple drop down.
4. Engage Users
Users are accustomed to sites with content such as articles and videos. That is a typical sight on websites these days. However, if you can figure out a way to engage your users from the minute they land on your page, they will be much more likely to stick around and perhaps bookmark your site and return at a later date. There are many ways to engage users, from polls to offering free items to games.
Mountain Dew has a site that engages users in interesting ways that match their brand persona. First, you’ll find a video of the latest commercial they are featuring — typically an action-filled clip. Even the navigation tabs are interactive. When you hover over them, they each pop up to fill the screen above. You can run your cursor across the screen, and they will move up and down like you are hitting piano keys.
5. Offer Value
The internet becomes more competitive every single month. More and more sites pop up, and each one seems to offer something new. What are you providing your site visitors that is valuable to them? To understand how to create something of value, you need to take a look at the demographics of people visiting your site. You might even want to poll them!
Once you understand the typical user on your site, you’ll be able to figure out what their needs, questions and wants are and create content they’ll love. If you want to collect their email, for example, you need to give them a really good reason to sign up for your mailing list. A free guide on a topic they care about is a good start, but feel free to come up with some unique ideas of your own.
6. Test Everything
There are numerous UX concepts you can implement, but if they don’t work perfectly, your site visitor is going to grow frustrated. One simple strategy you can adopt for your website is to test everything on different browsers and devices. Make sure each link and feature works right, and that it all looks good in the browser you’re checking it in. Also, test emails before you send them out. Fix typos, fix glitches and make the process as seamless as possible for the user.
Implementing UX strategies doesn’t have to take a lot of time or money, but they do require that you put yourself in the shoes of the consumer. You have to figure out what you would want if you visited your site as an outsider and then fix those problems.
*Cover image by Sencer. Check out his portfolio here.