Creating a Better, More Inclusive User Experience
Today, the websites of service-led organisations offer a plethora of important information and services.
It’s vital that these websites deliver an optimal user experience, guiding all visitors to the content they need, with ease.
First, let’s recap what user experience (UX) is.
According to Nielsen Norman Group, “[UX] encompasses all aspects of the end-users interaction with the company, its services, and its products. The first requirement for an exemplary user experience is to meet the exact needs of the customer, without fuss or bother ... True user experience goes far beyond giving customers what they say they want or providing checklist features.”
So, in short, a great user experience places users and what they need at the heart of everything. Getting started may feel overwhelming but the good news is that there are steps you can start taking today to make improvements to the UX you offer.
5 UX Wins You Can Implement Today
- Learn about your users
The first step is to pinpoint who your users are and how they are using the website. This way, it can be designed or updated in a way that better enables users to achieve what they came for.
Google Analytics is the perfect tool to start gauging user behaviour. Like observing how quickly users leave and whether they view multiple pages. It’s also handy to track the flow of users on the site, which again helps you measure how successful any ongoing efforts of improving the UX are.
- Audit website accessibility
It is important to consider whether the information on your website is inclusive and accessible. Does the website cater to people with diminishing eyesight, for example? What about someone who can only access the website from a mobile phone? And can people who are not tech-savvy still have their needs met while using your site?
Keep tools such as the South Australian Government Accessibility Toolkit in mind. Following standards like these will encourage the development of a website that is accessible to as many people as possible.
WebAIM’s Contrast Checker and the WAVE accessibility evaluation tool are both also excellent resources for auditing and improving website accessibility.
- Review your content
Not only does your content need to be readable, it also has to make sense to people visiting your website. As a general rule, the language on your website needs to be clear, concise and non-technical.
Platforms like Grammarly and tools like the Hemingway Editor allow you to check the reading grade of your content. Factor these into the website content creation process, to ensure it is as easy as possible to read and follow.
- Revisit your information architecture
The way pages are organised and the navigation of a website is called its information architecture (IA). It forms the backbone of the website and plays an important role in a user’s experience.
Many content management systems enable website editors to export this IA for review. It’s highly recommended that you do this. Make sure it flows and is intuitive for your users. Ask someone who does not work with the website regularly to navigate the website and perform certain tasks. This is the perfect opportunity to watch them interact with your website and get a sense of how intuitive the information and navigation is.
- Fight fragmentation
Controlling the quality and consistency of the information published on your website can be challenging, particularly if there are multiple departments contributing to the same website. This can lead to fragmentation.
To counter this, perform a quick audit of the look and feel across the website. This can be as simple as taking screenshots and comparing the consistency of page designs and related collateral or assets. While you’re at it, look out for messaging and content consistency too.
When it comes to improving the user experience of your website, the key takeaway is that you don’t need to re-do your entire site to make substantial improvements.
There are incremental changes that can be made using the above pointers, all of which will take minimal time and budget in the short-term, but make a huge impact in the long term.
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