UX is a part of design. Do you agree? I don’t…not completely at least. UX is not just about design, but also about the content, the words used in it, the headings, and the title. It includes all the minor details, like the length of a form, and major ones, like the load time of a page. All these elements of a website, when used by your audience, lead to some result. That result is UX.
A website exists to serve a purpose which, for most businesses, is to drive leads. The path to convert audience into leads is not an easy one as there are many variables affecting it and UX is one of the major variables. In this sense, improving UX will increase the conversions of a website. Let’s see how
Page Load Time
“The presence of feedback prolongs the web user’s tolerable waiting time and tolerable waiting time for information retrieval is approximately 2 seconds”.
Nah, F. (2004), A Study on Tolerable Waiting Time: How Long Are Web Users Willing to Wait?
In Usability Engineering (1993), Jakob Nielson 3 time limits for optimizing performance of a web page.
0.1 second is the time limit under which an action from a user must have some result. For example, when a user clicks a hamburger icon it must open a menu or navigation in less than 0.1 second.
1.0 second is the time limit for making user feel in control. Any second above that and user will also notice the delay. For example, a page must load in around 1.0 second so user can browse website freely.
10 seconds is the time limit for keeping user’s attention. If a web page takes longer than 10 seconds to load, the user will hit the close button.
All of this is not just theory. Some big names have achieved big results by just optimizing their load time. Let’s take a look at Walmart’s case study.
When Walmart found out that they are not the fastest retail website on Internet, they dedicated their entire scrum team for a sprint to work on optimizing the load time. The problem was that for some users it took more than 24 seconds for a page to load. This is how the load time affected their conversion rate.
They ran tests to optimize the load time and found that the decrease in every 1 second of load time led to increased in 2% conversion rate.
It is not just Walmart, but Amazon, Shopzilla, Yahoo and many others optimized their overall page performance and the results were similar.
Writing Content for Web Readers
The basic purpose of content is to relay information to readers. It could be about a product/service, news, or some fact. If the content on your website is unable to clearly relay the message, it is useless, and thus leads to bad UX.
For example, you are selling apparels on your website, but there is nothing about who you are, where you are located or how to contact you. The lack of such information could make it difficult for users to trust your website or product.
To create content that will result in a positive UX, you need to focus on three things: Legibility, Readability and Comprehension.
Legibility is linked to design, particularly typography. For example, font size of 16px is regarded as an ideal size for body copy.
Readability is about the choice and arrangements of words in the content. Emil Ruder, in his book Typographie, mentions that 50-60 characters is an optimal length of a sentence. No wonder why snippets in Google Search have 50-60 character limits for the title.
Comprehension is how easily a user can understand the content and whether they understand the intended message. Use terms that are familiar to your target audience. There is no harm in using terms, like kerning or negative space, if your target audience is designers.
Apart from these three principles, you must also remember that users rarely read the entire content. Users usually scan it to find points that interest them.
“The result indicated that users take at least 2.66 seconds to scan the website and fixate their eyes on an element of the website. In other words, the web pages managed to attract attention of the participants in 2.66 seconds.”
– Dahal, S. (2011). Eyes don’t lie: understanding users’ first impressions on website design using eye tracking. Missouri University of Science and Technology.
Considering this behavior of users, you can optimize content so it is easy for them to scan. You can write in inverted pyramid style, use bullet points, emphasize important quotes or sentences, or use compelling subheadings.
Let’s take a look at some companies that optimized their content to improve conversion.
Movexa is a supplement for joint pain relief. Movexa.com tested two different headings on their landing page. Adding the word “supplement” in the heading improved their sales by 89%.
Roller Skate Nation improved their conversion by 69% when they answered some FAQs in their product description copy.
A Never-ending Process
Content and page load time touches few aspects of UX, like credibility, usability and findability. There are lots of aspects of UX that can be improved to optimized conversion. Here are all the important aspects of UX represented with Peter Morville’s UX Honeycomb model.
UX is not post-design process. It is a process that starts when the website is being planned. Its principles are incorporated in each and every step of web design, development and marketing. Even if you are intending to run an A/B test to improve on CTA to improve conversion, you must take in account how it will affect the UX.