Today, it is easier than ever to build and launch a good-looking website. However, you wish for your website to actually drive business growth in terms of more traffic, sales, and customer retention. Just having an appealing website won’t cut it. That’s where UX research can help you.
You need to focus on the user experience (UX) side of things. User experience is all about ensuring that your site’s visitors find your website relevant in terms of content. It needs to be easy-to-use in terms of navigation. If you check these two boxes, your website will bring in real business and ROI, instead of just looking good.
So, how do you ensure a great UX in your website’s design? It starts with UX research to gain a thorough understanding of the desired outcomes of your audience and their pain points, consequently revealing valuable information that can be used in the design of your website.
What is UX Research?
According to the Interaction Design Foundation, UX research is “the systematic study of target users and their requirements, to add realistic contexts and insights to design processes.”
In other words, UX research is a process that’s used to understand the user’s needs, behaviors, experience, and motivations through various qualitative and quantitative methods with the goal of not just solving the user’s problems but delighting them.
The Role of UX Research in Web Design
The modern business owner is aware of the importance of having a business website and an active online brand presence. Designing a basic business website often means that the nuances of creating a high-performing website are lost.
For your website to provide real returns, generate new leads consistently, convert prospects, and collect valuable customer data and feedback, UX research is key. In essence, your visitors want a site that flows coherently and provides useful content that’s relevant to the problem they’re trying to solve.
Three Great UX Methods for Web Design
The better you understand your audience, the more likely you are to engage and convert them. For that, you’ll have to invest some effort into learning what your target audience wants from brands in your niche and who are your biggest competitors.
Here are the top three methods of UX research you can use right away.
You can gather a lot of useful information just by conducting interviews with your target website users. “User interviews allow you to directly uncover the challenges users are currently facing, why they behave a certain way, and how a specific website design would be beneficial for both the users and your business,” explains Devesh Sharma of Design Bombs.
In particular, you can use contextual inquiries wherein you observe people in their natural context and ask them questions to fill in the gaps of your observation. Contextual inquiries are useful as you’re able to interview people and learn important things like the common issues they’re facing while they are doing their tasks with little interference. You can then use this data collected to design a website that’s better than what’s already out there.
Your UX research would practically be incomplete without usability testing. This is the best way to determine your website’s usability. This method can be moderated or unmoderated (with the use of surveys and testing tools). It can be offline or online (with the use of live streaming sites and screen sharing software). It just depends on how you choose to approach it.
Simply put, usability testing is a real-world test scenario where groups of users are asked to complete certain tasks. You can also have a moderator to ask questions and get feedback during the test.
Using this technique, you can achieve real-time, real-world data from users navigating your website, providing their thoughts and observations on what they like and what can be improved. So, for instance, if you have a B2B SaaS website and you find from usability testing that users are finding it tricky to adopt your software, you can decide to leverage a user adoption platform.
User testing can be performed on a live version of the existing site, a prototype or work-in-progress, or even using clickable wireframes or pen and paper.
Click and Scroll Heatmaps
A great way to learn about how users interact with your website is to utilize click and scroll heatmaps. Heatmaps are a visual report of where users are paying attention and what they’re clicking on.
Heatmaps help determine areas of confusion. For instance, if users are trying to click on something they think is clickable, but it’s not. They also help to gauge what visitors care about more in a given set of items. For example, if you have five different types of products, you can see which one is getting the most attention and clicks.
Likewise, scroll heatmaps help you understand how far down website users are scrolling down on the page. They give an idea as to how engaging your content is and if it is being consumed or ignored by the users.
Also, heatmaps enable you to see which call-to-action buttons are being missed by users. You must try to improve on those button designs so you get more clicks. You can use the heatmap data to better structure your website. Heatmap data improves the design of important elements to improve engagement and conversions.
Long story short, you don’t want to just have a business website that’s only easy on the eye. You need an actual marketing tool that your audience loves to use.
Your business’s primary goal should be to delight your audience with outstanding user experience (UX). It all begins with user research. Integrating UX research will be the only surefire way to drive tangible business results in the long run.