It only takes 50 milliseconds—sometimes less—for visitors to decide if they like your website. What determines if they stay or leave after a few seconds?
The overall impression of a website known as user experience determines if a visitor stays or searches for an alternative. But even with the most “modern” template or a website builder, it’s challenging to create a UX design that delights.
In this article, you’ll learn how a website can delight or detract visitors with its UX design. We’ll also introduce Sprocket Rocket, a web app that can help you build a website with optimized UX without coding or plug-ins.
Websites Need a Delightful UX Design
A website could be the very first experience a customer has of your brand. Just like when you meet a new person in the real world, a first impression can decide what happens next in the relationship.
So what does it take to build a website with UX that rocks? Is it impressive graphics, colors, or well-written copy? As we’ll cover, it’s not one individual element but how everything works together to create a seamless, almost familiar experience.
The truth is brands that don’t make excellent UX design a priority won’t stand much of a chance against brands that do. It’s websites with a delightful user experience that turns visitors into paying customers.
What Is UX Design?
UX Design is the qualitative experience that a customer has from all brand touchpoints. For websites, it includes everything that an end-user sees and interacts with, from the layout, colors, copy, and design.
It’s the total picture of how a user “feels” when visiting new pages, scrolling, or interacting with a navigation menu. Think of it as the overall flavor of a brand.
Don Norman, a writer and designer who coined the term “user experience” says: “It's not enough that we build products that function, that are understandable and usable, we also need to build products that bring joy and excitement, pleasure and fun, and yes, beauty to people's lives.”
The standards for UX have gone up, and rightly so. Everything that a brand puts in front of a customer either detracts or amplifies the UX. Customers demand better experiences, and the first encounter with a brand is likely to be the website. Great UX will either hit the mark or drive off a visitor.
Characteristics of Great UX Design
We know a fantastic website when we see one, but it can be hard to know what works well when building your own. UX-optimized websites share these traits:
- Intuitive: Is the website easy to navigate? Nothing is more frustrating than trying to navigate around a complicated menu. Websites with high learning curves detract most users. Sites that are intuitive offer a natural experience for a user.
- Simple: Simplicity helps visitors focus on their goals for visiting a website. Too much clutter can muddy the message. Think of Google’s homepage. It hasn’t changed much in decades.
- Purposeful: No matter how great it looks, elements that don’t serve a particular purpose should be removed. Every piece of content should be there to serve the customer.
- Frictionless: Are there unnecessary roadblocks to use the website? These can create barriers to getting value from content. Know your friction points and correct them.
- Fast Load Times: Great websites are reliably fast. What happens when a website takes too long to load? The user will lose patience and go to a different website to find what they need.
When done well, great UX builds trust between a brand and a user. When the website is easy to navigate, loads quickly, and organized in a frictionless way, it elevates a customer’s perception of the brand.
Websites with bad UX can frustrate potential customers and send them off to the arms of your competitor, never to be heard from again. There are multiple ways bad UX can diminish the value of a website.
Imagine a visitor lands on your website for the first time. They scroll through an article they found interesting, and a request for information pops up every few paragraphs.
This “convenient” form might be well-intentioned, but how it comes across to the user is a different story. They get frustrated by the interruption and want to read the article, not give out personal information.
A website doesn’t win trust by begging for it at every opportunity. It’s earned by being thoughtful and guiding the visitor to the right solution.
Users that have a fantastic experience opt-in to a form because the brand has won their trust. Part of winning trust is using a form at the right moment for that visitor. That requires a thoughtful strategy to earn that trust.
Most people will tolerate minor inconveniences to get what they want. That can include annoying pop-ups to read valuable content. But what happens when a potential customer leaves the website altogether?
Although many factors contribute to bounce rates, UX plays a role. Think about a time you landed on a webpage that was clunky, hard to use, and visually unappealing. Remember, it takes fractions of a second to judge a website.
To visitors, the website is the brand—If they don’t like it, they may not come back to give you a second chance. If the UX of your website is subpar, the analytics will help determine why. Scrutinize pages that have the potential to drive conversions but have high bounce rates.
When the UX is engaging, leading to logical points, and offering solutions at the right time, bounce rates will decrease.
Customers view a website that delivers an effortless experience (almost anticipating their needs) as more credible. When they feel like you designed each page for them, it triggers positive emotions, which leads to trust and loyalty.
Websites with broken links, confusing navigation, and unhelpful support, for example, make it difficult for visitors to realize the benefits of what you offer. Imagine topping it off with an email they sign up for but never receive. It’s these small let-downs that ruin a website’s credibility.
Stunning graphic design may help with a first impression, but it’s how well each element works together that solidifies a visitor’s final judgment.
If the system is broken—like a castle gate crashing down before getting inside—they’ll look to someone else who can offer a seamless experience.
Improving User Experience Is On-Going
All too often, companies launch a website and leave it as is until the next redesign. If you want to make UX a top priority, you'll have to adopt an agile mindset. Great UX is an on-going process and requires continuous testing.
When you use WordPress and website builders, it can be challenging to improve the UX. To get the website working correctly, you have to code and use 3-part plug-ins. There are also browser compatibility issues that can come up.
Testing and Improving the elements of each page is how you'll get the best UX design. Using tools like Hotjar, which shows how a visitor interacts on your website, offers insights on which buttons, forms, menus, or layouts you should improve.
But going this granular can be tricky if you're managing plug-ins or coding to keep the site up and running. All of which makes the focus on functionality rather than optimization.
Optimize Your Website's UX Design with Sprocket Rocket
All in all, brands that win make UX design a top priority. Although outstanding UX design characteristics are clear, creating a brand-worthy website that gives customers a stellar experience is challenging.
Want an easier way to create a website with a great UX design? Here’s one... Try Sprocket Rocket. We use it for the Lean Labs website and build every client’s website with it.
Right out of the box, you’ll be able to use a drag and drop builder to create elegant web pages without any code or plug-ins. The best part is that we’ve battled-tested each module to drive high conversions and a great UX your customers will love using.