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Five steps to better UX

by Mark Lewsey

April 26, 2021

“All input is error” - Elon Musk

Okay, so the richest man in the world was speaking in the context of self-driving cars, but we can apply this notion to UX too. Think about it: whenever there is a need for human input, there is also a chance of human error. Effectively, whenever someone clicks, taps, presses, scrolls or types on a website, there is a possibility that their wants and needs won’t be met immediately. Whenever this happens, they are likely to abandon ship – either in frustration or confusion. Not an ideal scenario.

Arguably, great user experience has never been so important. At its very best, it is a website that it easy to use, whereby the navigation is simple, ensuring that everyone can find what they need with little effort and the content is easy to understand, relevant and valuable. In today’s ever-increasing competitive environment, people will continue to demand an efficient and fast user experience.

So now that we’ve convinced you that customer satisfaction is everything, let us outline five all too common UX mistakes that must be avoided and how they can be resolved. Addressing these usability issues is one of the quickest ways to improve the overall UX of your website.

1. Forms

A form is what stands in the way between your user and their goal. A mandatory action, a means to an end, form submission should be as easy as signing on the dotted line. However, too often than not, websites do not let people know that they are completing forms incorrectly until the very end, which means you could be harming their UX experience (and your brand reputation) at the final hurdle.

Instead, highlight which fields are required with clear markings rather than giving them a nasty surprise when they press submit. Live validation will show people in real-time when each field has been successfully completed i.e. green for complete or red for incomplete. That way, your user is confident that they will be successful once finished.

2. Touch targets

Have your thumbs ever struggled to tick a box or tap a button on your phone? This fiddly issue falls under the problem of touch targets. When key mobile interactions are too close together or badly designed, it makes it difficult for the user to complete their desired action. This could result in some damage control, since a user might actually complete the wrong action without realising. Don’t fall into the trap of thinking small button design leaves more screen real estate - size matters. We recommend ensuring mobile touch targets are at least 44 pixels wide x 44 pixels tall to ensure users can accurately and easily interact.

3. Dropdown menus

They’re a website go-to, but boy can they take up a lot of time. As the digital generation only grows more impatient, dropdown menus can be bad for UX if not done efficiently. Any dropdown list that takes up most of the screen is time-consuming to sift through and may result in a user’s mouse falling off the scroll bar, meaning they have to start again.

Optimising dropdown menus is straightforward when you employ a text and search function that allows users to find options quickly. Also, take one step back and ask yourself if dropdown menus are offering the right functionality. For fields that can be completed quickly on autopilot, date of birth for example, it may just be simpler to let people type in the info themselves.

4. Accessibility

When it comes to UX, the style over substance card never wins. Conversations between designer and developers about colour must be had from the minute you start. Poor choice of colours can often result in website elements failing to meet accessibility standards, causing difficulties amongst users everywhere (not just those with poor vision).

This is an easy one. Luckily, there are free tools online that will tell you if your colour contrasts are up to the correct accessibility standards, such as the ones we’ve included below. This means that your keywords and actions really will jump off the page.

Example 1.

Example 2.

5. Visual stability

We’ve all been there: when you’re happily reading or scrolling through a website and something suddenly jumps and changes the page entirely. This instability can lead to a poor CLS (cumulative layout shift) score, which is a unique metric for measuring visual stability, since it quantifies how often users experience unexpected layout shifts by providing your webpage with a set score. Mostly these shifts are harmless, but as you can see in the example below, they can create sticky situations that could be unforgivable from a user’s point of view.

Poor CLS can be down to a number of culprits, perhaps it’s an image with an unknown dimension or a third-party ad that resizes dynamically by itself. The problem is that these things can be easily missed during the development and build stages. Remember, page stability is imperative.

Using the link below you can test your site’s CLS score:

In order to pass, you need to have a score of less than 0.1. This particular measure is part of Google’s wider Core Web Vitals initiative, which allows you to test your site and gain real-life user reflection amongst three areas: (loading, interactivity and visual stability). Ensuring your site passes these tests is not only crucial for UX and conversion but later in 2021, these will become part of a ranking factor in Google’s algorithm.

In summary, good UX design improves usability and therefore conversion. More conversions mean more profit.

So, now really is the time to leave no stone unturned and work on giving your users an experience that does not disappoint, but instead encourages them to explore and do something more, including returning to buy more.

Of course, if you would like a thorough review of your website from one of our UX experts, don’t hesitate to get in touch. We can deliver a tailored and comprehensive UX audit independently or work collaboratively with your in-house team. You say how you would like to work with us and we’ll provide a UX strategy with clear objectives.


UX / UI Design