Imagine going to a restaurant that had great food at incredible prices but your group is split across three tables in opposite corners and all of the seats are at a different height. The experience would suck, you wouldn’t want to go back and you’d happily spend 10% more at a rival restaurant because the ambience is better, the chairs are level and you can dine with all the people you went out with.
That’s a metaphor for the user experience on your website. Great usability can increase your sales so it is crucial that your website is user friendly. Let’s play a little game to see if your website is up to scratch.
Mobile is taking over the world and as more and more people use their mobile phones to access the web, your website needs to be mobile optimised. Check how your website appears on mobile – you can use Google mobile site tester. If it looks good give yourself a point.
Lose 2 points if your website isn’t responsive and another point if you don’t know what a responsive site is because that means you probably don’t have one.
If you’re not up on your internet lingo – don’t worry you won’t have to deduct a point for not knowing this – tl;dr means ‘too long; didn’t read’. Attention spans are getting shorter and you don’t want to lose customers because your website isn’t keeping pace with changing habits.
The average web user skims web pages so your content should be short and to the point with headings, sub-headings, paragraphs and bullet points to help break up text. Give yourself 2 points for a header and a sub-header on the home page. Minus a point if your website has more than 300 words on your home page without scrolling down.
This is taking for-EVER!
We’ve already established that most web users are impatient; they’re not going to wait around if your website is a slow-loader. It’s likely they’ll scream the sub-header of this paragraph and head to your competitor’s faster website.
Slow speed is one of the main reasons why visitors leave a website. Making sure your website loads within 4 to 6 seconds is important for good usability. It also affects your search engine ranking. Use a tool like Pingdom to test the speed of your website – you’ll also get suggestions on how to improve your speed.
Add 5 points if it’s less than 6 seconds. Under 8 seconds: 2 points. Over 8 seconds: minus 5 points.
What is yoogle? I just made it up. It’s ‘your Google’. It’s important to provide an internal search box in a visible location like the upper right hand corner of each page.
Users appreciate this timesaving apparatus, as it will get them to the relevant page/product in seconds. The quicker you get customers to where they want to be the more likely it is you’ll get a sale.
2 points for a search box; minus two 2 if you don’t have one.
This is crazy, here’s my number – call me, maybe?
In the words of Harry Dunne ‘Just give me the damn number!’ Customers want to get in touch with you so let them. A generic contact form is fine but only if you provide more direct means of contact like email or phone number as well. If you’re not giving customers a way to contact you immediately it looks like you’re not interested in hearing from them and that’s bad for business.
- Give yourself 2 points for a phone number.
- Take 1 point for a direct email.
- Deduct 4 points if you have neither.
- 5+ points: Congratulations, your website is awesome!
- 2–4 points: Your website is good but it needs improvements if you want to get more customers.
- 0–2 points: Scold yourself in the mirror for having a sucky website.
- -0 points: Your website isn’t user-friendly; if anything it is flipping the bird at all your customers. Burn it with fire, chuck it in the sea, start again and this time make it user friendly – you’ll thank me for it!