Have you ever picked up a couple of items at an unfamiliar grocery store? You spent too long trying to find them and then got stuck at the slow checkout counter. Perhaps you gave up and walked out frustrated. That wasn’t a good “user” experience, and the same thing happens online.
Website users don’t have time or patience to figure out confusing layouts. That’s why User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) are critical factors when designing a website for better conversion rates.
Studies show that UX design returns almost $100 for every $1 invested. That’s because a well-designed website attracts and retains shoppers.
This article will highlight some of the strategies used by conversion rate optimization agencies to keep shoppers coming back for more. For additional information here is a resource on how to increase conversions with web development.
What is Website UI/UX Design?
Briefly, UX involves all a person’s experiences with a website, product, or service. UI focuses on how people interact with them.
Here is some basic terminology to keep in mind:
Web Design — Anything that directly affects a website falls under this broad category. Everything you see on a page, such as text, graphics, and navigation buttons, is part of web design. It also includes all the elements you don’t see, like coding, metadata, and site loading speed.
User Interface (UI) — UI design focuses on people’s controls and touch-points to interact with a website. Examples include CTA buttons, text links, and navigation tabs. The latest innovation for UI is gesture controls, also called the Natural User Interface. Gesture controls can recognize and interpret movement so that people can control a computer system without direct physical contact.
User Experience (UX) —UX affects how people interact with the site (or product), infusing emotion and creating a positive experience. The site should anticipate what users want, making them feel welcome and excited.
So, what’s the difference between UI and UX? UI enables someone to interact with all the elements on the page. UX involves how a user feels or takes away from the entire experience.
Why You Should Follow a Website Design Process
The goal of any website, especially eCommerce, is to increase sales and grow the business. A UI/UX design agency uses proven design elements to attract and convert more visitors.
A web design process is part of web development that documents the outline steps from start to finish. It’s necessary to ensure a fully functioning website.
The result is a professional-looking website that makes an excellent first impression to new prospects, boosting their confidence in your brand. It is also easy to navigate, builds customer satisfaction, and increases conversions.
7 Steps To Effective UI/UX Design
Designing and developing a successful eCommerce website takes seven steps:
Step 1: Digital Strategy
To develop a high-converting strategy, a UI/UX design company will consult with the client to understand the website’s goal. The process is the same for in-house designers.
The design team will interview the client or submit a client project questionnaire to uncover the website’s goals. Additionally, the design team will perform market research and analysis. They will develop a bigger picture of the client, including the USP (Unique Selling Proposition), SEO analysis, keyword research, and other competitive factors.
Once the design team has a firm grasp on the business objectives, competitor websites, and the target audience, they can put together a digital strategy.
Step 2: Site Planning
With a digital strategy in hand, it’s easier to plan the website’s look. The site map is the blueprint of how each page will link to another and provide an organized sequence for future visitors.
The sitemap helps digital strategists define buyer journeys to the conversion points or checkout pages. It allows them to create a simple website for shoppers to navigate.
With a sitemap in place, it’s time to plan the content for each page and how it will direct the visitor to an eventual conversion or sale.
Step 3: UX & UI Design
UX and UI enter the picture at this design stage as the process transitions from planning to building the site.
UX designers begin with black and white sketches to build a wireframe model. The wireframe maps out where the content will go, lays out the conversion funnel, and depicts the page hierarchy. The wireframe is the website’s skeleton and where designers can plan the most efficient way for shoppers to navigate the site.
Once approved, UI designers begin defining and adding the details of each page, including the graphics, logos, the brand’s fonts, and colors dictated by the style guide.
Step 4: Developing a Style Guide
If there isn’t one in place, the design team creates a style guide to maintain a consistent look across all channels. It is a set of standards for the design team to follow. The advantages of a style guide include:
- Creates a consistent user experience
- Consistent coding that saves time and errors
- Enforces best practices for usability
The style guide is a quick and easy reference for designers who need to add logos, colors, images, and typography to multiple pages, websites, and marketing channels.
Step 5: Frontend and Backend Development
With the style guide in hand and a wireframe laid out, front and backend developers start building the site.
The front-end developers manage all the website’s user-facing or “client-side” aspects, such as the visual attributes. Backend developers manage the “server-side” how the site works in the background, including links and navigation. They handle all the various codes and languages that make a website function. Additionally, they need to ensure a responsive web design to automatically adjust web pages on all different devices and screen sizes.
Step 6: Pre-Launch Testing
A new website is like a rocket on a launchpad. Developers must test all systems before launching to avoid a disaster. User-testing involves real users navigating the site. They will test drive it on multiple browsers and devices to catch bugs or deficiencies.
The information they provide lets designers know if there are any issues with user experience.
Step 7: Time to Launch
Once the website is live, the design team will monitor it to ensure a smooth user experience and all systems work as planned.
The UI/UX design agency should perform post-launch maintenance and security checks such as:
- Backup the website regularly
- Apply security measures to prevent malware, adware, and any other type of cyber threats
- Optimize the website’s speed
- Update with fresh content
Following a proven web design process increases conversions by making it easier for customers to find what they want and complete the purchase.
Tips to Increasing Conversions
UI/UX design services focus on removing barriers and making the shortest path for visitors to convert. If possible, try to keep the sales funnel down to only three pages. Although it may sacrifice some customer data, simplifying the buying journey increases conversions.
Consider the following tips to increase conversions when designing the UI/UX for your website. For additional tips, check out this resource on website design and optimization.
Speed and Simplicity Matter
The line from Point A, landing on the website, to Point B, the checkout, should be short and straightforward. To keep your visitor focused and on track, avoid distractions such as pop-ups, sidebars full of ads, and too many links that will take them away from where they want to go.
Every page should be clear and concise, designed with a clean layout. Pages should load in less than two seconds on every device. Discard any irrelevant features or items that slow down the page load speed.
When Expedia.com reduced their sign-up form from six fields to five, they attributed the simplification to an additional $12 million in profits.
Everything on the page, including graphics, must support driving the visitor forward to the checkout page. Each image should stand alone and need no explanation. Simplify by moving less critical information to the bottom of the page.
Whitespace Improves User Experience
Many eCommerce sites tend to pack in as much product information on the page as possible. This strategy can backfire since it makes it harder for people to find the information they want, especially on smartphones.
Liberal use of white space makes text easier to read and images to attract attention. Customers stay on the page longer while guiding themselves quickly to their desired information. Adding white space helps highlight titles, sub-heads, and graphics for better attention.
Make Each Element Visually Distinct
Some of the UX best practices to make page elements distinctive are:
- Headlines and sub-headlines should be bold and in an easy-to-read font.
- CTA buttons should be a bright, high contrasting color that naturally draws the eyes toward it.
- Navigation tabs must be viewable on any screen and from every page.
- Limit colors to three per page.
Use high contrast, not muted designs. Considering that approximately 4.5% of the population, mostly men, are color blind, high contrast is vital for color-blind customers to navigate.
In testing, both men and women prefer websites with a bright splash of color instead of dark or primarily white.
User Testing and Feedback
It’s critical to perform user testing because there is no better information than actual customer feedback.
Effective user testing requires only five people, and they can uncover 85% of usability problems while trying the website. They have fresh eyes and will immediately find the issues that new users will encounter. Designers will learn the most from the first person, and the subsequent testers will typically validate the first tester’s observations.
Setting up a survey is another way to get feedback if the site is up and running. Ask questions that prompt, detailed answers and not yes or no responses. For example, “Which features did you like, and would you like to see in the future?” “How can we make the site better for you?"
Listening to customer feedback and making applicable changes improves the UX substantially.
Use a Consistent Flow
The wireframe maps out the buyer’s journey. Ideally, they enter the site on the homepage or blog. They will navigate to the product or service page and then to checkout.
The designer aims to help the prospect move effortlessly from entry to checkout for higher conversions. Keeping the flow on a narrow path with few diversions or dead ends is critical to increasing conversions.
For example, after Harvard Business Services simplified their nav-bar from 10 tabs to eight and changed their CTA buttons, they experienced a 15.68% increase in conversion rates.
Optimize For Mobile Devices
Mobile devices, or m-commerce, accounts for 73% of all eCommerce sales and are still growing. Optimizing a website for mobile is a necessity for any online business. To learn more, check out this resource on how to optimize your site design for eCommerce on mobile.
Google’s algorithm uses mobile compatibility as a primary factor when determining the website’s ranking. Google’s Mobile-Friendly Test tool checks any webpage for mobile compatibility. UX/UI designers test on multiple devices to ensure that each page reads well and is easy to navigate.
A good tip is to create a layout where people can interact easily using their thumb.
Just because many CTA buttons are red doesn’t mean that it’s the right choice for your website. Once a website is up and running, continuously test various UI/UX elements to maximize conversions.
Additionally, A/B testing shapes, text, content, colors, and other elements can reveal ways to improve the CTR. Here are some UX/UI statistics discovered through testing:
- Reducing clutter around the CTA button increased conversions by 232%
- 35% of visitors convert from an exit pop-up
- Changing the CTA copy from Start Your Free Trial to Start My Free Trial increased CTR by 90%
Usability testing is critical to refining every element and creating the most efficient design for a better user experience.
Focus On the Details to Keep Visitors on the Page
A web development agency can quickly assess your website and optimize it for higher conversions. Web designers want to create the most user-friendly interfaces to help visitors explore more and provide a smooth, positive experience.
No design detail is too small when creating a website that converts visitors. Design details such as icons, graphics, text links, page load speed, colors, and fonts make a difference when keeping people on your site and increasing conversions.