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Guest Blog from Jude Wharton: 3 Top Tips for Creating a Smooth User Journey on Your Website

The user experience and user journey on your website is important. Having a well considered user journey and therefore creating a good user experience means you have a good chance of gaining a client or customer. A poor user journal and terrible user experience means you won’t… in most situations. There is an exception to this, when you are the only person who the website visitor can buy from, but you should still make it a nice experience. Don’t make it like the experience I had this morning.
The user experience and user journey on your website is important. Having a well considered user journey and therefore creating a good user experience means you have a good chance of gaining a client or customer. A poor user journal and terrible user experience means you won’t… in most situations. There is an exception to this, when you are the only person who the website visitor can buy from, but you should still make it a nice experience. Don’t make it like the experience I had this morning.This morning I ordered my son’s school photo online. Ordering online was the only option this year and I found myself shouting at my computer. Admittedly I was already having a bad morning, the experience would usually have raised quieter levels of frustration but not today.To start with it was hard to see what each photo pack option included and to find out I had to keep jumping from the top of the page to the bottom of the page. Once I had chosen the pack I wanted, trying to change the photo to the one I wanted proved to be harder than it should have. I just started clicking around the site and the button that eventually did it was to customise my order, when “Change photo” would have been much more self explanatory. It’s not customising your order when all you are doing is swapping the photo. It’s not my fault they decided to choose the photo where he looks shocked to be there as the default.

The first option before anything else should have been for me to select the photo I wanted to buy. If I hadn’t already ordered my older son’s photo from his school (a much happier process, probably because they only gave us one photo), I may actually have forgone school photos this year the way I was feeling but I couldn’t be a bad Mummy. I persevered, ordered the photo, begrudgingly handing over the money. I shouldn’t feel like that at the end of the buying process on a website.

There is a lot of learning to be taken from an experience like that. Here are my three top tips for planning a smooth user journey and fantastic user experience through your website, so that people want to come back and recommend you.

Plan it!
Far too many people underestimate the importance of the planning their website. If you get the planning part right, then everything else will fall into place much more easily. Here are some key considerations for your planning:

  • You need to consider who your ideal client is and what they want and need to see on your website.
  • You need to consider the purpose of your website. Is it to make people get in touch to find out more? Is it to get people to buy from you? Is it to get people to sign up for something? If you are clear on this then you can make it obvious how your website visitor can do that on your website.
  • You need to think about which pages you need on your website and how those pages link together.
  • You need to plan and write your copy to make it clear you understand your ideal client and show them how you can help them. You need to make it clear how they can take action on your website. Use simple obvious statements on links and buttons to do this like “Book a Call”, “Buy Now”, “Change photo”! (I will let it go, soon!)
  • You need to plan your website functionality well such as the payment systems or contact forms you will use to make sure they are suitable for your needs and a smooth process for your website visitor to use.

Be realistic with what you can do yourself.
If you are creating a very simple website, then you may be able to take a completely DIY route and that’s great. If this is the case, always as for feedback from people you can trust to give an honest response to ensure you have created something that truly represents you as a professional business. But if you do have an aspect of your website that requires a more complicated user journey or you want something specific from a design or functionality point of view, it’s worth getting a professional involved. Also, if writing isn’t your strong point then get a copywriter involved. It’s important for your website visitors to be clear on your message, be guided to where they need to go on your website and if you are waffling away with your copy then that’s not going to happen.

Test it!
This is just as important as the planning part. Once you have created your website you have to test it thoroughly. You have to go through every page, clicking on every button and every link. You have to do this on a computer, a tablet and a mobile to make sure it works well on all of these. Over 50% of browsing is now done on mobile devices and I actually saw a woman in a business Facebook group recently sharing her Google analytics which showed over 90% of browsing on her website was done on a mobile device. I still see too many websites that don’t work on mobile, some work so badly that there is no option but to leave the website, it just won’t work.

You also need to test every process on your website. If you are taking payments make a real payment and then refund yourself so that you know that works too. Send yourself a contact form, book a meeting with yourself, do it all!

Then ask someone else to go through your website for you, ideally someone who fits your ideal client avatar and hasn’t been part of the process of creating your website at all so they are seeing it with fresh eyes. See if they know where to go on your website to do certain things. See if it’s obvious to them to click to make a purchase or change a photo over (last time I promise).

If you already have a website I recommend you go and cast a critical eye over it to see if you think it is providing the best user journey possible. If you are just starting your website then you can implement these tips through the process.

If you would like more support around planning and creating a website, we have a range of courses and challenges that you might find useful, which you can find on our website, readysteadywebsites.com.

​Jude is the Business Director of 2nd Floor Designs Ltd and the co-founder of readysteadywebsites.com. She has worked in the web industry since 2010 and before that had a background in education, training and development. You can get in touch with her via the website links or through Facebook and Instagram.

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