It’s important to recognize what is hard to use on your website, and what changes you can make to make it easier for people to find what they’re looking for. The process of finding these things and enhancing the site based on what you find is called User Experience (or UX) design. Whether you need a handy way to find ways to make sure your User Experience is solid, or if the site doesn’t exist yet – fear not! Use this checklist to find opportunities to improve the UX of an existing site, or to plan in advance how you’ll create a smooth flow through your website.
✓ Is it clear what the main action someone is intended to take on the site right away?
✓ Are navigation systems using the right top level items – IE the most important things on the site?
✓ Labels on navigation are literal and not abstract.
✓ Dropdown menus are only one level unless absolutely necessary
✓ Mobile menu is above 46 pixels high and wide (it’s easy to identify and tap – even with a thumb)
Errors, Feedback and Repetitive Actions
✓ Users easily can recover from errors on the site
✓ Errors on forms are shown right away without submitting the form first.
✓ Important and repetitive actions feel effortless and aren’t unnecessarily complicated.
✓ When a contact form is submitted – it is obvious that it was submitted and there is a success message.
✓ Success messages are consistent visually and are cohesive with the visual design of the site.
✓ The forms on the site use a conversational tone and are framed in language that is about what the user wants to accomplish rather than what your site wants to get out of them.
✓ If there is user generated content on the site, people are able to flag or report content that is inconsistent with the intent of the site or is offensive.
✓ As much as possible don’t create barriers to taking certain actions on the site that require signing up. Allow visitors to at least start their process reading or interacting with a piece of content or tool and then to save progress or continue using – at that point require signing up or logging in.
✓ Color alone doesn’t convey meaning, hierarchy, or function.
✓ Visual hierarchy clearly prioritizes the most important things for a visitor to know.
✓ It’s very easy to tell what the company or organization does, and what the site is with a cursory glance when landing on the website.
✓ Are key points of differentiation of the product or service called out in a scannable way such as bullet points?
✓ Secondary actions are very clear but aren’t more prominent than the primary action you want a visitor to take.
✓ Any animations used are simple, tasteful and when possible are used to convey meaning.
✓ Overall layout is taking advantage of existing design patterns and visitors will be able to quickly intuit where to find key items.
✓ The design focuses visitor’s attention on key elements by providing white space in the web design around important elements.
Logging In and Admin
✓ If you have the ability to make an account and login, is there a ‘Sign up with Facebook’ or other social integration that will make signup effortless?
✓ If there is more than one step for signing up or in completing any multi-step process, there is some type of clear indication of what step a visitor is on so that they can track their progress.
✓ Product pages include reviews so visitors can look at past customer’s experiences.
✓ Categories have more than one or two items in them, and it doesn’t take an exhausting amount of clicks to get to the desired product page.
✓ Categories are using laymen’s terms when possible and not trying to be overly-technical or cute.
✓ Clear indicators of trustworthiness, no-hassle returns or other return policy, free and fast shipping or other shipping information and SSL certificate are visible to allow visitors to move through the site easily without worrying about these common possibilities for buyer friction.
✓ Number of items in the cart are always visible on the navigation throughout the site, and price and quantity of items in cart are shown in a cart dropdown in the navigation.
✓ Search bar is present throughout the site, and very primary and immediate on mobile devices in particular.
✓ Visitors can add items to cart from the category pages.
Overall, these are just a starting point for thinking about making things easier on your site. Ideally, it’s extremely beneficial to do User Testing on a site you’re wanting to make easier to navigate. User Testing is super helpful because you ask non-technical people to accomplish different tasks as they navigate the site and watch their discomfort as they are confused, and their delight as they respond well to different elements on the site.
Nothing is more useful than this kind of feedback from regular people (ideally at least 3 to 5 individuals) – and it’s objective information you can share with your client or other people in your organization about what to improve.
Tim Brown is a designer and marketer for Snap Agency – Minneapolis Web Design and creates websites that are built around business goals and that are built to attract traffic through SEO Services and increase conversions through Conversion Rate Optimization.