Whether any website is a hit or not determines a combination of product strategies, design, content, quality, and usability. Among them, the part called user experience (UX) is what usually makes all the difference. It sets up the first impression that's invaluable to whether users will stay or go.
However, it's not that intangible. It's a fundamental part of the design that you can influence to improve your website's look and feel and, subsequently, your success with customers. Let's find out then what you should focus on to place your site among the top websites with the best UX instead of it falling into a bottomless pit of subpar products.
Read on to find tips on website user experience, examples of websites with "good" and "bad" UX, and what to do if you want to perform a website UX audit.
What is user experience in website design
Generally, any interaction users make with and on your website is called user experience. It can be either satisfactory and easy to use or poor and sink your website along with the products or services you offer. Within design teams, UX means the process designers use to make digital solutions more meaningful and comfortable for an everyday person.
The UX covers every aspect and element of website design involved in shaping the overall experience, which means every button, piece of text, technically anything that users use to fulfill tasks they came to your website for. The successful UX design calls for hours of market research, user studies, strategy evaluation, testing, etc.
According to the Interaction Design Foundation, while designing any product, not just a website, the main focus should be on three pinnacle questions - Why, What, and How. The Why pertains to users’ goals and motivations. Any person coming to your website has a specific purpose, whether searching for information or buying goods. The easier it is to do that, the better the UX.
The same goes for the What and Why of using the product. The former involves the functionality and features that assist in achieving the users’ objectives. Finally, the latter is associated with the accessibility and the aesthetics of the design and how users can form a meaningful connection with the product.
Elements of great UX website design
So, what exactly does make a website’s UX genuinely great? Well, a handful of high-stake elements are instrumental in providing an outstanding user experience. The most important among them are:
- Value. The website has to be useful to an individual that is a part of the target audience and provide value to the potential customer.
- Functionality. Every button, item, or feature has to serve a particular purpose and do what it says “on the label.”
- Usability. Straightforward navigation and a noise-free interface (no element over-cluttering) provide users with an easy way around your website. A few simple clicks are all it should take.
- Content. A great UX includes relevant, well-written content and text optimization, which means users can easily scan through it.
- Adaptability. The website’s design should adapt to any screen size and be responsive no matter the device, with equal consistency of performance quality.
How user experience impacts your website’s success
The most significant success aspect that gets directly affected by user experience is conversion rates. Just as the staff being friendly and treating you with respect in brick-and-mortar stores elevates the chances of you purchasing something, the website’s UX also influences your buying decisions.
For example, Hubspot’s report states that more than half of website visitors spend less than 15 seconds on it, which means you have to catch the customer’s attention as quickly as possible. Some say you have to do it in under one minute; otherwise, you will lose your potential client. What’s more, 45% of visitors will quit your site if it loads more than 6 seconds, especially in e-commerce.
All that just shows how easily customers are spooked by bad experiences and will leave instead of giving you a second chance. And if you think the content and products you offer are the only things that matter, we have bad news. Slightly uncomfortable or just downright lousy design elements lead to a staggering 94% of people distrusting that website.
UX also impacts such vital parts of a website’s success as marketing and SEO optimization. The correct heading optimization and proper content placement make it easier for people to find the information and more readable for search engines.
Examples of best UX websites
There are plenty of websites with great UX out there, which is to say that both their designers and owners have paid attention to users’ needs and hence created a worthy product. To list all of them would mean a never-ending article. We managed to pick out three of them to simply demonstrate what it means to provide a remarkable user experience.
Duolingo is a language learning tool that comes in two forms - a website and a mobile app. Both are intuitive and user-friendly. However, it has now become a bare minimum. The efficient and concise UX copy is what places this language platform on the top UX list.
Every statement made on the website is clear and to the point. Every CTA button uses simple language and states exactly what it does. User experience offers consistency and exceptional alignment with the primary goal of such products - the gamification of learning and education.
Next on our list is Invisibly, a platform that allows people to take back control of their data and put it to good use by earning money from it. Its main assets are style consistency across all products, not just the website, and attention to detail.
The website’s UX sways you with its comfortable layout and minimalistic nature despite a vast amount of data points and complex features. What you can take from this case is that you have to make sure you offer convenience to your users by eliminating anything too convoluted.
By the way, not to brag, but it’s our team that has made a primary contribution to Invisibly’s excellent user experience by improving their website’s design and working on their web and mobile apps. Check them out and tell us what you think.
PayPal is an online payment platform with one of the best user experiences among FinTech websites. A more sleek interface only has what you absolutely need for your online financial activities and helps quickly find the required information or feature.
PayPal’s UX shows that you don’t necessarily need the abundance of graphics, features, and elements on your website to satisfy users. Just give them what they came for - a smooth experience of accomplishing even more complex tasks.
Bad UX websites not to learn from
Now let’s look at some examples of bad website user experience to know exactly what to avoid. Sometimes, demonstrations of what NOT to do are more memorable and work to showcase the contrast.
Yale University School of Art
The Yale School of Art’s website is a truly bizarre experience that was apparently supposed to be a creative artsy site and a call-back to the tacky and kitsch style of the ’00s. Yet, in reality, it became a comprehensive list demonstrating all the UX choices that should have been dumped into oblivion long ago.
This bad UX design example includes such “crimes against humanity” as no structure at all, lots of animations, plenty of colors with no design system behind them, tasteless links, and weird low-quality images.
Berkshire Hathaway Inc.
This website of an American multinational conglomerate company is the complete opposite of the previous art vulgarity. It is minimalistic to the point that it’s devoid of any pleasantries a website could have. All it is is just links leading to some PDFs.
Yes, the layout and navigation are clear and concise, but the advantages end there. Apart from a bulleted list of links, there’s nothing there that makes you want to visit it again. Unless you’re a stock trader, and it’s your job.
Paradise Drinking Water
And last but not least, Paradise Drinking Water - another website that got permanently stuck in the past. Somewhere along the creation process, the convenience and pleasant design got thrown out the window, and this outdated piece of the World Wide Web was everything that had left. Moreover, users have to make an effort to place an order, and low-quality pictures don’t exactly add any trustworthiness.
There’s a fine line between making kitsch or any other web design peculiarity your signature style and ruining the impression users have of your site. Some have failed and were bound to appear on this list. There are plenty more UX design examples where these came from. So, how would you know your website is not one of them? Do a website UX audit.
Website UX audit
There can be many reasons why your website may be underperforming, and it seems like users don’t particularly enjoy it. The best way to fix that is to do a full audit of your website’s user experience. We happen to create a comprehensive guide on this topic, with numerous tips and a checklist of essential things you have to focus on. Head here to download our website UX audit e-book and make sure your website won’t end up on those “Worst UX” lists.
With all these best and worst practices of website UX, it only goes to show how much tuning into your users and listening about what truly matters to them means that you care. And if you care, people will more likely revisit your website, buy what you are selling, and give you the success you strive for. Use these examples above as guidance when you next make a new website, and don’t forget to audit your current website’s UX.
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