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6 User-Experience Best Practices For Any Website

For your brand's website to support your business goals, people have to want to use it. At minimum, it has to meet the users' needs without creating frustration. And ideally, it should actually be enjoyable to use.

Your users will form opinions about your site's usability (and by association, your brand) within seconds. And as user expectations evolve, so do best practices. Is your user experience up to date?

Whether you're building a website from scratch or giving an existing site an update, and regardless of your industry, here are a few tips to help keep your user experience (UX) on track.

  1. 1. Embrace device diversity

    Today, as many as one-fourth of web users stick to smartphones only. About as many use only a computer. And about ½ switch freely from one device type to another. One thing they all have in common? They expect a good, consistent experience no matter how they're viewing your site. So be sure to make your website responsive to function well on computers, tablets and smartphones.

  2. 2. Simplify your navigation

    Too much or unclear information in a navigation dropdown can overwhelm users and make it difficult for them to get around a website. If you've got multiple layers of pages listed or a lot of links that aren't clearly organized, streamline your navigation to make it more user-friendly.

  3. 3. Clarify Your CTAs

    Users don't want to click on something if they don't know where it will take them. That's why it's important to use direct, descriptive language in your calls to action (CTAs). For example, instead of a vague CTA, such as "Go," use more specific words, such as "Compare Product Options."

  4. 4. Keep the user moving

    Every page of your site should help guide your user through their customer journey. Never should it feel like a dead end. Use clear and prominent CTAs to help move your user toward the specific action you want him or her to take.

  5. 5. Speak the users' language

    If you're not speaking to technical experts, avoid using technical terms without a simple explanation. And definitely keep obscure lingo out of headlines and CTAs. Instead, focus on the benefit from the user's perspective. Audience insights and SEO keyword research can help you figure out what terms users understand.

  6. 6. For the love of results, TEST IT

    The only way to be sure your user experience is effective is to test it with real users. Usability testing can identify what's working and what's not so you can fix it. Budget for these steps ahead of time to ensure your investment in your website will actually help meet your goals.

Of course, these are just a few of the many decisions that go into making a positive user experience, but every little bit helps. The less your users have to think about your website, the more they can focus on the reason they're using it, which is also the reason you want them to use it.

To get your website done right overall, start by working with an experienced team that understands the ins and outs of web usage. Then let their expertise, best practices and usability testing guide you to the results you want.