How to Create a Great User Experience: The Small Things Make a Big Difference

Avi

Avi · 05th June 2020·Optimisation

How to Create a Great User Experience: The Small Things Make a Big Difference

When discussing how to make your website’s user experience (UX) the best it can be, we could focus on the obvious. Concepts such as layout, color schemes, animations and more are all important. In fact, they should be the starting point for anyone designing a site. Without solid fundamentals, anything else you try is doomed to fail. So, before you continue reading, make sure you’ve got the basics down pat.

Now we’ve made that clear, there are what may seem like smaller tweaks you can make that will have a huge impact on UX. We’ve picked out three small changes that can make big improvements to your website.

1. Speed, Stability and Hosting

Before you get into page elements and anything visible to users, you need to take care of the backend. Hosting is hugely important when it comes to the UX. The obvious question for novices is: what do you need to host a website? Put simply, you need to have a host - this is a company that has servers dedicated to hosting websites.

In today’s market, there’s not only a huge amount of choice when it comes to hosting companies, there are also a variety of hosting methods.

The four main options are:

  • Shared Hosting – Multiple customers all sharing the same physical hosting server.
  • Cloud Hosting – A virtual “hosting environment” created by connected multiple physical servers.
  • Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting – Similar to shared hosting but each customer has their own virtual space within the shared server.
  • Dedicated Servers – A physical server that only one customer uses.

Those are the options, but how do you choose where your websites are hosted? The first consideration is cost. A shared server will have a lower monthly fee than a dedicated one. The second is location. Servers located closer to yours and/or your target market’s location will be more efficient. This is due to the fact information doesn’t have to travel as far and, therefore, things take less time to load.

Off the back off this, VPS vs. dedicated servers is a debate you might also want to settle. Of the four options, these two offer the best conditions in terms of speed and stability. We won’t get into the nuances of the debate right now. The key point to consider is content. If your website is fairly basic, a VPS might be better. If it’s resource-heavy, a dedicated server will provide the best speed and stability. Of course, there are other factors you need to review. However, content is one of the most important.

Overall, hosting is important when it comes the user experience. As a website owner, you need to select the right service to ensure everything you’ve created is easily accessible. So, before you start reconfiguring pages, adding content, and incorporating new ideas into your website, make sure the hosting is right.

2. Speed Matters – How to Speed Up Your Website

We’ve covered it already but it’s a point worth repeating, speed matters. A website that takes too long to load, even if it’s only a split-second, is an instant turn off. Sitting at a computer and waiting for a page to load can be excruciating, but it’s even worse now mobile-browsing has become so popular. According to the statistics, daily mobile internet usage has increased by 504% since 2011. Basically, more people are looking at stuff online via their smartphones. Because of this, speed really matters.

Many things in the mobile realm are ephemeral. In other words, people are looking for something quick and easy to digest in lieu of doing something else. Whether it’s playing games while you’re on public transport, chatting with friends via WhatsApp or looking for restaurant recommendations while you’re walking. In line with this, information needs to be available instantly. If your website can’t give someone what they want in less than a second or two, you risk losing them.

Hosting is important when it comes to speed but so are other things. Our guide to hidden stumbling blocks reveals some of them. Inefficient coding is one of the biggest reasons your website might be slow. However, if you’re not a coder, this can be tricky to fix. The big thing to think about is page elements. Too many boxouts, too many adverts, and too many complex page elements (e.g. animations and videos) will slow things down. That doesn’t mean you should avoid them, it simply means you should use them sparingly, especially if loading times are suffering.

3. Content is King – Why Every Page Element Matters

We’ve covered how to choose where our websites are hosted and how to speed up your website. The final point to consider when creating the perfect site is content. There’s a saying online: content is king. This phrase is often used when talking about SEO and rankings, however, it’s important in all respects. Your website needs to offer value, so, when you use the right keywords and have high-quality, informative, and engaging content; search engines like it.

This gives your site a better ranking which, in turn, means it’s more likely to be popular. A lot of people know this, but what’s often forgotten is that content, SEO, and rankings are part of a two-part equation. Yes, the algorithms of Google et al will dictate how the site is viewed from a technical perspective; however, user engagement also matters. The amount of clicks you get, how long people stay on a page and the level of interaction your content elicits, matters.

Based on this, you need to make sure that everything offers value both technically (SEO etc) and practically (i.e. for users). Once you’ve cracked that, your site will not only rank better but be more popular with users. At the end of the day, a website is there to offer something of value. Be it entertainment, information, a service, or product. Whatever it is, you want people to see it as something that adds to their online experience.

So, the final point to remember is that, whatever you do, make sure it’s done well. Even if it’s just a single page of text, make sure that text is the best it can be and that it provides the user with something they didn't have before. Master this, and your website will be on its way to becoming a hit.