This week I’ve collected my favourite UX blog posts I’ve discovered online to save you precious time. In these five articles, you’ll read about alternative points of view on particular aspects of UX design. My favourite article was about the balance of SEO and UX, which I encourage you to read. I think you’ll learn a lot from these articles!
This article raises excellent points about being careful with your website to balance SEO and user experience. Google has become more sophisticated in recent years and nowadays places much more value on designing for the user, not just for SEO.
In the past, it was common to try and optimise SEO by squeezing as many keywords as possible into blog posts and pages. Unfortunately, this has a negative effect on both SEO and user experience. The text becomes hard to read, and Google will penalise you for the overuse of a particular keyword.
A new piece of information I learnt about was the potential SEO issues caused by the Infinite Scroll website design (when a user scrolls down, more content continues to load). There are SEO problems because web crawlers can’t copy user behaviour in this way, and the content that would be visible to users is invisible and unreadable for Google.
Another issue to be aware of is the overuse of images. Images have SEO value. Google can read them, and they appear in Google search results. Use your best judgement when trying to balance text and images on a page or blog post. Think about:
- Are these images appealing?
- Are these images relevant
- Is there enough information conveyed textually on the page to be valuable?
The overall consensus for the article is “design for the user, not for Google”. It’s difficult to become both SEO and UX friendly. Although as Google’s search capabilities develop, they’ll be able to read more like humans and will eventually be friendly to infinite scroll sites. The best advice you can follow is from Google: Focus on the user and the SEO will follow naturally.
I have to admit that local SEO isn’t something I’ve focussed much on in the past as my businesses have been online and didn’t require office space. However, it’s clear that if you’re a local business like a cafe or restaurant, it’s important to rank high for local search engine queries.
A Google update in 2014 had a significant impact on local SEO and businesses already practicing local optimization strategies ahead of the update experienced considerable benefits (increased traffic). Over the next few years, the author suggests that the importance of local SEO will become significantly beneficial for businesses, mainly because competition is increasing.
Millions of new websites launch every year. Not all of them are businesses, but many of them are. Increased competition will force business owners to find and exploit smaller target niches to get the best and most relevant visibility for their company. According to the author, one of the best ways to do this is to optimize their SEO locally. I strongly recommend reading the second part of this article about how to get started with a local SEO campaign. After reading this article, I’m curious to conduct more research on this topic.
This article caught my attention because of the example they used of great user experience and customer experience from Google. I’ve never reached out to Google for any customer service needs but considering the poor customer service response I had recently from Facebook, I assumed that Google could have similar standards.
The author mentions “It’s one thing to create a great looking product that’s easy to use. It’s another to create a great experience that continues to improve, delight and expand in scope over time. The first is user experience. The second is customer experience.”
User experience is focusses on designing a website and the interactions that take place on it. Customer experience integrates those points with aspects such as customer service from staff, newsletter emails, and store environment but spread out over time.
Overall, the author had a delightful experience with Google and expanded on how companies can make the jump from user to customer experience by:
- Making the experience personal. Acknowledge the individual customer’s situation and demonstrate that you understand their specific needs.
- Integrate across touchpoints: With so many points of contact like email, mobile, call centres, it’s important to be able to communicate across these platforms. Customers expect this type of communication.. I’ve also found Twitter to be a useful communication tool to address customer service issues.
- Make feedback part of the customer experience: How do you tell if you’re moving your customer experience in the right direction? Customer feedback. Make collecting and encouraging customer feedback part of your customer experience plan.
I’m a big fan of infographics and this graphic created by the people at Homestead displays key metrics about why UX design is important. I feel this description of the difference between web design and UX is spot on too, “The web designer builds the maze while the UX designer guides the user through it”.
Key statistics I picked up were:
- 68% of users leave a website because of poorly designed UX
- 85% of UX problems can be solved by testing with five users
- 44% of online shoppers will tell friends about a bad experience online
- 62% of customers base future purchases on past experiences
Ultimately, good UX design should ensure that people hang around longer on your site, and for e-commerce websites, increase the chances of someone making a purchase and recommending your site to others.
This author covers excellent points on UI and UX design. I also believe this is another great description of user experience
“User experience online is very similar to the user experience you get when going to a grocery store. You want a pleasant time without any hassle. You want to be able to navigate the store quickly, get what you need right away, head to the checkout line without a wait, and get back home.You don’t want to deal with a slow cashier, items not where they should be or out of stock, hostile employees, or a crammed parking lot. You simply want what you came for (groceries) and be on your way.”
Sometimes it’s hard to stand back and take an honest look at your site’s user experience. Although this is key to reduce any frustration users may have on your website, whether it’s reading an article or trying to purchase a product.
The author provides ten points to think about while evaluating your website’s user experience.
- DO: Provide a similar experience regardless of the device
- DO: Provide instantly recognizable and easy-to-use navigation
- DO: Make the most important thing on the screen the focal point
- DO: Ensure all links and buttons function as they should
- DO: Let the user control their browsing experience
- DON’T: Letting the design of the site hinder the site’s readability
- DON’T: Hindering a visitor’s ability to scan the screen
- DON’T: Fill the screen with non-related content
- DON’T: Make your visitors wait for your content to load
- DON’T: Have several things compete for attention