February 5, 2015 in Strategy

Trying to determine if your website is lacking good user experience can be tricky. You have to be both subjective and objective… and willing to let your audience (not you) drive the layout, structure and tone of your site.

Ask Yourself

User ExperienceHow old is your site?
User experience, or UX, is a relatively new practice when it comes to site and product planning. We’ve been doing it in bits and pieces as an industry for a while, but it only became a widely recognized and cohesive discipline in the last five or so years. If your site’s design and structure hasn’t been critically thought through in over two to three years, chances are high that it doesn’t have optimal UX.

Does your site visually represent your business?
Take a look at your homepage, is your explanation of services or value proposition easily seen and understood? Imagine a stranger landing on the site, would they be able to understand what service you provide within five seconds?

Is every click valuable?
Considering the average attention span, visitors need to be rewarded with every click they make. They need to be served an obvious and relevant path through your site that leads them to either the information they seek or the action you want them to take. Look at your homepage and interior pages, do you see the prompts for this path clearly and attractively laid out?

Are visitors taking action on your site?
This is a simple, but crucial, thing to measure — and ideally one you can ask yourself without diving too deeply into analytics (we’ll get to that). Are your visitors signing up for a free trial or your newsletter? How many site inquiry submissions do you get a day? If the main points of conversion on your site aren’t converting, then you’re likely suffering from problematic UX.

Now remember, all of these “diagnostics” are still highly subjective. The key to really understanding if your site has a UX problem is to look outside your organization and…

Ask Others

Google Analytics
Google Analytics is an incredibly powerful — and free! — tool that can help you put two and two together about why your site might be a bit of a zero. Setting up Google Analytics is pretty painless. They provide enough tips and documentation on getting started that you can quickly spin up your account.

Google Analytics will help you answer questions like:

  • Are people dropping off as soon as they hit your site?
  • What’s the average length of site visit?
  • Are you getting repeat visitors?
  • How many pages are people clicking through before leaving the site?
  • What pages see the highest bounce rate?

Understanding the answers to these questions will help you understand where and how your site is failing your audience. You can start to unpack the actions your audience members aren’t taking.

User Testing
Let someone else tell you what’s broken about their experience on your site! Although user testing is pretty face-palm obvious when it comes to getting actual, actionable feedback from anonymous (or acquainted) users, it will cost you. You can pay for services such as usertesting.com or dedicate your time to scheduling and monitoring the tests – these costs can be hard to justify, but the data is valuable. Remember that user testing is a great opportunity to get truly objective feedback. Even if you’ve planned your site with the best of intentions for your users, chances are you made some pretty sizable assumptions about their needs and behavior.

What are some they ways you’ve identified a UX problem on your site?