When you’re planning to roll out your next Web-site redesign, you must give User Experience the focus and attention that is its due. All too often, redesigns focus on extravagant visual elements and flashy copy—completely ignoring how users would ultimately interact with the Web site. When a Web site’s redesign fails to deliver a great user experience, it serves no useful purpose and is essentially wasted effort. The consequences of a poor user experience are low traffic, a lack of visitor engagement, high bounce rates, and poor conversion rates.
What can you do to ensure that your next Web-site redesign is a success? Ensure that the right UX practices guide your Web-site redesign. While this might sound simple in theory, implementing an optimal UX design takes time and effort. To help you achieve this goal, this article discusses seven practical UX tips that you should consider when undertaking your next Web-site redesign.
1. Keep your designs simple.
A common tendency of Web-redesign projects is to incorporate buzz-worthy, trendy ideas in the design. While it’s always a good idea to keep up with the latest trends, you should avoid trying to include every new thing in your designs.
Instead, keep your designs as simple and functional as possible. First, develop a deep understanding of the Web site’s core purpose, then ensure that your site’s user journeys present the least possible resistance to users, so they can easily complete the actions you want them to take.
Work from the bottom up. Determine which user journeys are most important to meeting both business and user needs, then ensure that the user experience triggers these user interactions and provides the simplest paths to their success. Avoid adding unnecessarily complex user-interface (UI) elements. Be sure not to overlook fundamental UX-design practices that can improve the Web-site experience as a whole.
UX and UI designers should work in close collaboration so they can balance the visual components of individual pages and the user experience of the entire Web site. Achieving this balance is crucial because users rely heavily on visual cues. If you’re a UI designer, you’ll likely be part of projects such as landing-page revamps and Web-site redesigns.
2. User research is essential.
You should begin any UX-design process by developing a complete understanding of the Web site’s users. Sometimes, teams just choose to follow their own UX design preferences or what is visually and aesthetically appealing to them rather than basing a Web-site design on what would meet the needs of and be relevant to the users who would interact with it.
User-research should be the first step of any Web-site redesign process because it gives you a clear sense of the target audience, what they’re looking for, how they think, and what their painpoints are.
You should also conduct data-driven research, leverage insights from disciplines other than UX design, and try to get a bird’s eye view of what users think about your product and Web-site experience. Base ideal customer profiles (ICPs) on all the information that you gather, identify users’ painpoints, and endeavor to better understand your value proposition.
With your research findings in hand, you can develop a UX strategy that caters broadly to all groups that your Web-site audience comprises. While it’s not possible to please everyone, you can decide where to compromise—as long as your decisions are backed by sound data and logical reasoning.
3. Always ensure consistent branding.
Rather than getting carried away with trying out different UX design concepts as you redesign a Web site, you must follow your organization’s existing branding guidelines and standards.
While you should keep a tab on newer UX-design ideas and what other companies are currently experimenting with, just trying them out as part of your redesign project without developing proper, updated branding guidelines that reflect any design changes would be a mistake.
You should avoid implementing far-out UX design elements that are not consistent with the branding guidelines you already have in place. Consistency in branding is crucial. If you want to incorporate more modern, current UX design ideas when rebranding a Web site, always take a top-down approach, deciding on changes to the branding playbook first, then outlining what is and what isn’t allowed.
4. Define KPIs for your redesign project.
When setting targets for your project, you should define quantifiable key performance indicators (KPIs) that let you measure the Web-site’s success in attaining your specific objectives over time.
When you’re planning what UX design changes to implement during a redesign project, you should have a clear purpose and predetermined goals. When you have clarity on your objectives, it’s easier to identify what kinds of UX elements are necessary and how you can implement them in the most effective manner.
Having specific goals for a Web-site redesign clearly orients the UX design aspect of the process toward achieving those goals. Clear goals guide each UX design decision that you make and ensure that the different disciplines working on a project are on the same page.
Always determine the purpose of the project first. Then define clear goals that are specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and time based to ensure that you create a better Web-site user experience.
5. Focus on the home-page user experience.
Of all the user touchpoints on a Web site, the home page is probably the most important, so this is where you should focus much of your UX design effort during a Web-site redesign process. Given that, for many users, the Web site’s home page is the user’s first encounter with your brand and that it provides access to the site’s overall navigation system, the home-page design can be vital in ensuring that visitors stay on your site and engage with your content.
Ensure that your positioning statement and messaging are crisp, clear, and effectively communicate to users what your Web site offers and the value it can provide to them. You must carefully place all UI elements that are on the home page, based on good data, sound reasoning, and industry best practices.
Try to keep the key interactions and UI elements above the fold, making it evident to visitors what the Web site is about and where to go to find whatever they’re looking for. Also, make sure that the design of the navigation system makes it easy for your target audiences to find what they need. Classify all types of Web-site content in ways that your audience can easily understand.
6. Optimize for responsive design.
Gone are the days when you need to design only a single desktop version of a Web site. In today’s digital age, users access and interact with Web sites on a variety of devices, including tablets and mobile phones, and use different Web browsers as well. Therefore, our UX designs must take this reality into account.
Find out how users are interacting with your Web site, then design appropriate solutions based on your data. It’s likely that a good chunk of your traffic is coming from mobile. Trends show movement away from desktops toward other devices. However, creating separate designs that are optimized for each individual device would be inefficient and unnecessarily costly. Instead, keep your pages’ basic structure intact by creating responsive designs that adapt to each device.
7. Maintain a proper feedback loop.
It’s rarely the case that creating a Web-site design is a one-and-done job. Ideally, design is an iterative process, and you’ll have to make changes and adapt on the fly.
To get the feedback you need to improve a Web site from the get-go, you can try different design approaches and conduct A/B or multivariate testing. Then, based on the data that you gather, make any design changes that are likely to meet the needs of your Web site’s audience. Start out by changing smaller elements of the UX design to find out what works best, then work your way up to broader changes.
In addition to gathering usage-data analytics to gain insights about your users’ live interactions with the Web site, incentivize users to give you direct feedback about their Web-site experience. Add relevant calls to action (CTAs), exit-intent pop-ups, and check-ins, or status updates, to find out whether Web-site visitors are having an easy, enjoyable user experience.
You can also gather feedback internally, from various teams within your company. Since they’re working on different aspects of a product or service, you might be able to tease out relevant insights regarding what your Web-site redesign should entail. Gather inputs and make decisions regarding changes with a collaborative mindset.
A Good User Experience Means Happy Visitors
User Experience should be a vital part of any purpose-driven Web-site redesign process. Taking a UX-first approach ensures that your Web-site redesign is user-centered rather than based only on surface-level factors such as aesthetics and visual appeal. When a Web site’s user experience is clear, intuitable, and flows wells, this leads to improved Web-site traffic, user engagement, and conversions.
As a product marketer and writer, Arun has experience in all things relating to content, positioning, and messaging, as well as experience in User Experience. Has worked with product and marketing teams to create comprehensive product messaging playbooks, improve product experiences, and execute product marketing campaigns across multiple media. Read More