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User-Centered Design Issues: 7 Reasons Your Traffic Won’t Convert

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If you’re getting plenty traffic to your website, but your visitors don’t buy, sign up for your offers, or subscribe to your site, you have a user experience problem. User experience (often abbreviated UX) encompasses the entire interaction a user has with your site. Every aspect of your site, from the look and feel to the content affects the user experience. A good user experience often begins with user-centered design, a process in which the needs, wants, and limitations of users are given extensive attention at each stage of the design process. In this article, we’ll teach you some user-centered design principles that can significantly improve your conversion rates. We’re going to look at a few places where you may be able to move towards a more user-centered design without a compete redesign of your site.

UX Issue #1: You’re Not Speaking Their Language

If your target market has high levels of technical proficiency, technobabble and jargon is acceptable. If not, it isn’t. How can your site have user-centered design if the content isn’t easy to consume? Speak your users’ language, because what they don’t understand, they disregard, and you have precious few seconds to generate interest before they go elsewhere. If your target market is accountants, terms like GAAP are fine, but if it is small business owners who need accounting software, you’ll need to write out and explain what Generally Accepted Accounting Principles are, and why they are important. If you cater to a mixed user audience, use tooltips (which displays hover text upon mouseover of a term) to provide definitions and descriptions to clarify technical concepts or jargon, so that less knowledgeable users can successfully use the Web site. User experience design elements such as these will increase understanding, which reduces frustration and increases the likelihood of making a conversion or sale. Improve your user experience: design content that everyone understands.

UX Issue #2: You’re Serving Up Illusions

You have clickable website elements that don’t look clickable, or you have elements that look clickable but aren’t (such as blue underlined text that looks like a link, or a static image of a button that cannot be clicked). Both situations lead to visitor failure: either failure to notice something clickable or click failure. User experience problems such as click failure leads to frustration, which leads to site abandonment. Improve your user experience: design site elements that everyone understands. User-centered design ensures everything is obvious: what to click, and what not to.

UX Issue #3: You’re Not Keeping Your Promises

You have an About Us link that isn’t about your company, but about your products. You have a site map that doesn’t have every single page on it (i.e. is incomplete). You announce “Click here for more information” but the link actually leads to an information request form or an email (a better practice is to write “Request more information”). If you tell your visitors that their next click will result in a particular outcome, you must deliver on that exact promise. Improve your user experience: design links and headings that deliver what they actually offer.

UX Issue #4: You Talk at Your Visitors Instead of to Them

You write in the third person (they, their), not the second person (you, your). Your site concentrates on your company and your products, not your customers’ needs and pain points, and how your products solve them. A critical user-centered design principle is to lead with the problem your customers face, then follow with how you’ll solve it. Improve your user experience: design content that demonstrates you understand your customer.

UX Issue #5: You’re Making Them Use Their Brains for Something Other Than Understanding You

You’re not conveying where users should go next or what they should do next with a clear call to action on each page. You’re making them remember data (i.e. “as previously mentioned”). You’re not letting them know that your server is processing the form they just submitted with a “Processing” or “Please wait” or hourglass icon, so they click the submission button 4 times. Improve your user experience: design content that suggests the next step to every user.

UX Issue #6: You’re Making Your Content Difficult to Absorb

You’re using a font for headings that slows down reading speed and/or you’re using a font for text that is too small to read quickly. You’re not breaking text up into scannable chunks by using bulleted lists where appropriate. You’re putting too much text on a single page so the reader eventually gets fatigued or bored before they get to your call to action. Improve your user experience: design content that is easy to take in, not just message-wise, but medium-wise.

UX Issue #7: You’re Killing Your Clicks

You require visitors to do a lot of clicking in order to accomplish their goal: ordering a pizza should not require 12 clicks, and downloading a white paper should not require 3. Every click required to achieve an objective will result in half the visitors abandoning the attempt. Conversion optimization specialists call this click attrition. If you have 10,000 site visitors click to order something, and checkout requires 4 clicks, you can expect to have 9388 abandon before checkout. This is why Amazon has a “1 click checkout” feature. Improve your user experience: design your site so one can get what they want quickly without lots of clicks.

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