Crafting a First-Run Experience That Sets Users Up for Return Visits

The success of your site is measured by your ability to create a unique and valuable experience for your users. There are hundreds sites in every category – from personal blogs to product sites and commerce. What makes your site more attractive than the rest? Separate your company’s mission and your site’s functionality. Your site is a space where users can have something they can’t get anywhere else. When it comes to the UX of your site, consider the following: ease of navigation, level of aesthetic appeal and target audience. To ensure that visitors have an enjoyable and recurring experience on your site, implement the following tips: 1. Think users first! You need to make sure that every critical feature on your site stands out and is easily accessible. Consider Netflix as an example. Its uses a gallery of teaser videos right on the homepage. Additional functions include film information, search, and film review options for members. Start with your homepage and prioritize the most prominent features of your business. Let users find secondary features under tabs or on specific pages. Make the search box medium-sized and allow it to be easily found in the top right corner. Similarly, if you encourage user-participation, make it easily accessible to them, either through share buttons or comment boxes and polls. Mandatory registration and security codes have proven to turn away 50% of customers. Keep security measures for when users actually want to purchase something or to subscribe to your newsletter. 2. Effective Content Design You want to catch your user’s eye, but not keep them marvelling too long on a single feature. The main goal of your website is to promote your product and let users know your story and any promotions that might be going on. Gartner recommends: Strive for a great UX by realizing that design is not just about adding features, but also is about their carefully considered removal. Favour bulleted lists:
  •  Lock important features to every page (i.e. contact information)
  •  Decrease the amount of text to 50-60 characters per line
  •  Increase font size for readability ease
  •  Use boldface for emphasis
Gartner reports that, some common UX misconceptions are: Adding animation and other kinds of client-side technology improves the UX. The “prettier” the UI, the easier it is to use. It is better to have a UI with lots of dynamic menus, animation, multimedia, rich graphics and other visual effects, even if it slows down the page-load time and decreases the responsiveness of the interface. In reality, obsessing over a visual experience can result in unnecessary development work that negatively impacts usability, UX, brand experience and overall business value. 3. Track visitor-data It is important to know who is actually using your site after it goes live. Here are several analytics tools:
  • Google Analytics
  • Social Report
You might be surprised at the audience your site attracts, but these tools will help you cater towards their needs. As your business grows, you need to make sure to continuously update and modify your user experience. Test your site before going live. Ask your friends and trusted colleagues to take a look and ask them to tell you what your business is all about just by looking at your site. See how easily they can contact you and if they run into any problems. Unless using your homepage to advertising your design or animation skills, remember to choose functionality over simply an aesthetic appeal. A homepage that moves, sings and literally draws itself before the user’s eyes is wonderful – as a work of art. You want your visitors to actually use your site to engage with the products or services you offer. But don’t negate that little something extra to keep them sharing your content and coming back for more. bnr14
Boaz Amidor is Head of Corporate and Marketing Communications at WalkMe and Contributing Author to ux blog