If a website looks great, but doesn’t convert then it’s just a piece of art, and is pretty useless to a business. While your website is the face of your business in today’s tech world, it serves a purpose i.e. to make sales, of whatever offering your business has.
Your website is often the first place that potential customers visit when they’re interested in buying your product or service, so it needs to be the complete package; visually appealing and functional as well.
There’s pretty much no point in having a website if it doesn’t add to your sales performance.
To design is to decide upon the look and functioning of something (an object, item or website), by making a detailed drawing of it. Providing the answer to an age-old question, is aesthetics or function more important?
The answer is that function and aesthetics are both equally important when it comes to design. But more often than not, designers lean more towards the look of something, rather than its function as their creative minds take over the process.
Today’s world is about convenience.
We want things to come easy and to come now. We want to find what we’re looking for easily, with minimum effort. We have busy lives and limited time to get what we need. Technology is developing in leaps and bounds, making our lives so much easier and more convenient than it’s ever been.
So, what does convenience have to do with the importance of website usability? Well the answer is, everything.
With an estimated 2.14 billion buying products and services online by 2021, according to Statista, your potential to reach billions of people depends on your digital presence and your website plays a key role in your digital marketing strategy.
Standing out from the crowd in an already jam-packed landscape is important, there’s no doubt about that. But focusing solely on that aspect is where many website developers go wrong, forgetting the importance of website usability, leaving many businesses with beautiful websites that don’t convert and empty pockets.
These days, websites can cost a stack; it’s a huge investment for many businesses. Having one that doesn’t do what it’s supposed to do is pretty much a waste of time and money.
If a website has the right layout, images and content then it must be the perfect combination to convert those browsers into buyers, right?
Unfortunately not. User experience is the new buzz word; also known as UX, it describes the visitor’s perception and response resulting from the use or anticipated use of a system i.e. your website. How users interact with your website is becoming a key focus; its value is becoming more apparent to marketers and business globally.
Users want to feel warm and fuzzy once they buy something online; it’s all part of the shopping experience, they don’t want to feel frustrated and feel like their precious time has been wasted.
This is where the functionality of a website comes in, i.e. ease of use and convenience of using it, is key to an enhanced user experience and ultimately conversion.
If users can visit your website, find what they’re looking for easily and actually enjoy the experience, whilst being attracted by the aesthetics of it, they’ll go away feeling satisfied and are guaranteed to return. Those browsers will become loyal customers that return on a regular basis which means more sales for your business.
Here are 3 reasons why website usability is important to your online performance:
1. Web User satisfaction
Whether your customer is calling your customer service centre, or browsing your website, you want them to have a satisfactory experience when interacting with your business.
If they don’t then it leaves a bad taste in their mouth, and they’re bound to tell all of their friends and family about the bad experience that they’ve had.
People are more inclined to talk about bad moments than good ones. The digital experience that a customer has is no less important than the physical ones they have in the store or over the phone. Many businesses don’t see the value of having a strong digital presence and ignore how their website greatly contributes to their online performance.
But think about it, your business can reach so many more customers online than it could ever do physically.
That’s why the world’s biggest brands put so much focus on the digital part of their businesses; they understand that a digital experience is just as important as any other interaction a customer has with their business.
User experience and user satisfaction is hugely important when it comes to designing web usability, and ensuring a successful online performance. The easiest way to give your customers that warm and fuzzy feeling when they visit your website, is to ensure that their experience is enjoyable.
Don’t forget that when a customer interacts with your website, they are actually interacting with your business, so the last thing you need is for a customer to have a bad experience when they use your site; user satisfaction equals brand satisfaction.
We’re all creatures of habit, if we know we can find what we’re looking for, fairly easily, then we’ll habitually go back to the same place to find it. Having a website that is easy to use encourages customers to return regularly, to find the products and services that they’re looking for. Once you encourage a customer to form a habit, then you’ve pretty much secured their brand loyalty going forward.
What better feeling than to have a customer leave your website feeling satisfied with their experience; it’s a recipe for success. Ensure that you incorporate user experience design into your website development process, and you’re guaranteed to see the benefits.
2. Website Conversion
It may seem obvious, but having good website usability will convert, there’s no doubt. If your website is easy to navigate, quick and easy to use and has everything that your customer needs then your conversion rate is guaranteed to be high.
Customers don’t want to have to navigate through a maze of menus and content to find what they’re looking for.
They get distracted, frustrated and fed up if a website is hard to use. If products and services are easy to find, people will stay on your website for a longer period, which affects conversion. If people get bored quickly and leave your site, then your conversion rate is guaranteed to be negatively affected.
Every business wants to increase sales and doing it online is becoming more of a focus for organisations large and small. Getting the balance between aesthetics and functionality will boost online sales and take your business to the next level.
3. Boost your Google ranking
The old chicken and egg concept: the higher you rank on Google, the more traffic you get to your site, and the more traffic that your site gets, the higher you rank on Google.
Well one sure way to ensure that browsers want to visit and stay on your site is to have a user-friendly website that visitors enjoy using.
Website usability and user experience are have a direct correlation with search engine optimisation (SEO) and are strongly linked to your online ranking.
If your website is difficult to use and navigate, it’s only natural that you’ll struggle to engage visitors. Low engagement rates not only increase exit rates, but they also bring in fewer return visitors down the track. The only way to increase user engagement and minimise your bounce rate is understanding the importance of website usability by having a user-friendly website.
If searchers can’t find what they’re looking for, it’s likely that they’ll stay for just a few moments before leaving, going back to the search results page to find a site that can help them.
High exit rates reduce the dwell time which is something that Google evaluates, potentially de-ranking your website.
There’s also pogo sticking, which is when users have to click through different search results before finding what they’re looking for. This generally happens when a website fails to satisfy their needs despite ranking highly. Google has gotten so much better at identifying websites that don’t serve the searcher’s intent, and this can have a huge impact on your search engine rankings.
Google can track every click so it can see how people are using your site. Are users clicking through pages quickly and then leaving? Are they getting lost on your site? Google can monitor all of these bad user experience signals and lower your ranking.
There you have it, designing for web usability needs to be more of a priority when it comes to website design and development.
A good-looking website is fantastic, but that alone is not going to do the job. Ultimately, businesses need to make sales and generate profit, whatever their offering may be, so having a website that looks great as well as converts is key to great online performance. Great web design companies know this.
Whether you’re building a brand-new website or you’re upgrading your existing one, keep these reasons in mind. And make sure that you remember the importance of website usability in conjunction with layout, don’t prioritise one over the other.
Think about it from the customers perspective; if you were in their shoes, would you want to keep coming back to your website? Or is would it just be too much trouble to find what you’re looking for?
Today’s world is hugely competitive, so businesses must have all aspects of their organisations in top shape. This includes the digital side of the business, and the website is a large part of that component.
Good business isn’t just about looking good, it’s about providing customers with user experiences that make them feel good and encourage them to return time and time again.
Once you’ve got them hooked, as long as you maintain that standard, you’ll have loyal customers for years to come. A loyal customer will do more for your brand than any amount of advertising can do, word of mouth is the strongest form of advertising out there. And if you ensure your customers have great experiences when they interact with your business, they will be your strongest supporters.
The importance of website usability shouldn’t be overlooked; businesses that don’t see how important it is will be left behind.
Combine functionality with aesthetics to ensure that the digital face of your brand, represents everything that your organisation does.
So, what are you waiting for?
Make the required updates to your website to give your customers the experience they deserve. This will build brand loyalty and bring in those sales, it’s a win win for everyone involved.