Search Engine Optimization (SEO) and User Experience Design (UX) are both an art and a science. There are formulas to follow and A/B tests to do, but good web design also delivers high-quality information and delights users. Search engines such as Google favor websites with great UX design. These websites will gain more attention and traffic because search engines list them higher in search results.
What is UX Design?
“UX” is shorthand for “user experience.” UX design focuses on how users interact with your website. The easier your website is to use, the more enjoyable it will be for your website visitors. A UX designer will look at how branding, color palette, and page layout help draw in your users and plan the navigation of your website. The goal is to create a positive experience for the user, so their visit turns into business and keeps them coming back for more.
How Does UX Design Differ from UI or Usability?
Usability and UI elements include navigation tools, like sliders, and input controls, like dropdown lists. UI Design and usability are essential to creating a great website but just are building blocks of UX Design. UX designers look at the entire website process, from branding to products to usability to function.
What do UX Designers do?
UX designers look at the entire journey a user will go through when visiting a website. Commonly, UX designers have backgrounds in programming, psychology, and visual or interaction design. UX designers’ tasks include researching the target audience, creating personas, building wireframes, creating an interactive prototype, and testing the design. UX designers advocate for the users in all of their tasks and keep users’ needs as their focus.
Why Does Google Favor Websites with Great UX Design?
Over the years, search engines such as Google have been monitoring user behavior to find which websites people interact with and enjoy more. This data helps search engines understand what elements on websites users favor. The more users enjoy visiting your site, the more search engines will recommend your business.
Search engines measure UX through:
- Bounce rate: What percentage of visitors visit your site and don’t take another action before leaving–the equivalent of a customer window shopping and quickly deciding this store isn’t for them. A low bounce rate means your UX is good, and you have a better chance of earning top spots on the results page.
- Time on page: How long someone spends on an individual page once they get there. A high average for time spent on a page can be one good indicator of valuable content. It can also help you rank higher.
How to Have a Strong UX Design?
Not sure where to start with building your website’s UX design? No worries! We have a quick list of the top 5 things to help your website have a strong UX design.
1. Know Your Audience
Get to know your audience and what they are looking for. Ask yourself what questions or problems your audience will be asking and how your company or service will help them. What age group are you targeting? Are you focusing on local users or trying to reach a global audience?
For ideas, check out your competitors’ websites. Take note of their use of colors, layouts, navigation, and tone of voice. The idea isn’t to copy your competitors but to find ways to use common elements your audience already knows and make them better on your website. Keeping your website modern with high-quality images will help your UX design.
2. Common Design Elements vs. Creativity
Striving to be unique from your competitors is important to help your company stand out, but be careful that creativity doesn’t negatively impact your website. Using common design elements such as a simple navigation menu that is logical and easy to understand is key for an enjoyable user experience. Stick with common UI patterns that other top-ranking websites are using.
URLs, buttons, and other common navigation elements need to focus on usability. Non-traditional creative websites, such as websites with overly crowded designs or moving gifs, may seem unique. Still, if your audience can’t figure out how to use your website, they’ll have a less enjoyable experience and may go to a competitor.
3. Websites are Scanned, not Read
Creating well-written content for your website’s pages and blog posts is a must. But users will not read your entire website. They’ll scan it for keywords to find the answer they are looking for, then read further into the text.
Break down your copy and blogs with H1, H2, and H3 headings. These will help your users scan the page, find what they are looking for, then read further or click to another page on your website. Using visuals like infographics and images is another great way to break up writing and help your users scan your content.
4. Clarity & Simplicity
When it comes to writing content for your website, aim for simplicity and clarity. Keep your paragraphs and sentences short. Don’t use overly complex words. Write as if you are meeting your user for coffee and having a conversation. Get the point across with as few words as possible. But focus on writing well with good punctuation, grammar, and an active voice.
Copy and blogs are essential to help your audience find your website on Google or other search engines. Using Grammarly and or the HemmingwayApp will help you write content that will create an enjoyable UX design.
5. Visual Hierarchy
When it comes to website layout and navigation, understanding which elements to highlight is crucial for a robust UX design. Call to action buttons like “Contact Us” or “Get a Quote” need to be easy to find on your web pages. The best way is to make these buttons larger and use the accent color in your website’s color palette to make them pop on the page.
6. Be able to Complete an Action in 5 or Fewer Steps
Users visit a website with a goal in mind. If they can’t quickly achieve that goal, your users may go elsewhere. A rule of thumb is to keep actions on your website five or fewer steps to complete. For example, if a user is purchasing a product, they need to:
- Land on your homepage
- Select product category
- Click on the product page they want
- They select “Purchase” or “Check Out”
7. Test Your Design Early
You want to test your website design as soon as you can and as often as you can. This is the best way to know if you have created a UX-friendly website. Run a prelaunch or ask friends and co-workers to test out your website. Ask them how they navigate your website or complete an action. Keep the questions open-ended, so the users testing your website give more than a yes or no answer.
How Northwest Media Collective’s SEO & Marketing Team Can Help
At Northwest Media Collective, our team of experienced and passionate developers, designers, writers, and SEO & Marketing specialists can take your website to the next level. We’re experts at creating websites with a strong UX design that visitors enjoy and search engines favor. Our SEO team focuses on creating well-written content and finding ways to help your website rank higher in search results.