Usable websites are always popular, but the ones that focus on user experience (UX) have an edge. Like it or not, the global pandemic has changed how we do business for the foreseeable future.
Many studies show that people have changed the way they shop and have shifted to an online mindset. About 63% of consumers transformed how they shop for goods and services. Most pointed to utilizing online methods more frequently than ever before. Probably even more telling is that over half of them say they will retain their new models of shopping after coronavirus fears ease.
If more people than ever shop online, it just makes sense to overhaul your website and make sure your design has excellent UX. Here are nine of the main reasons we think you should focus on UX design in 2021.
1. Creating Convenience
Americans are some of the most industrious people on the planet. The average person works well over 40 hours a week. Anything you can do to make their lives easier, and faster online shopping helps. Improving your website’s UX is about more than just fast servers, though. It is about the entire experience. How can you eliminate unnecessary steps and improve functionality?
2. Providing Digital Ordering
In the past few months, restaurants have had to change the way they do business. Nearly every food establishment now offers online ordering and curbside pickup. Many added delivery routes to their service schedule. If you aren’t already hooked into an online ordering system, you should be.
Online ordering is much more convenient for social distancing. When the pandemic passes, people will be used to the ease of placing an order and picking it up on demand. You can increase your carryout orders merely by adding an online menu.
You can also add touchless menus for those dining in. Instead of handing out disposable paper menus or germ-infested plastic ones, you simply have the user scan a QR code, and the menu pulls up on their phone. You could also install smart signs at each table.
3. Meeting Consumer Needs
In the last few years, businesses focused on creating personalized experiences. UX is about considering the needs of your target audience and ensuring you meet their expectations. In the past, companies could use a cookie-cutter approach, but with so much competition in a tight economy, expect to step up your game and create a more customized system in 2021.
4. Enhancing CTAs
Your calls to action (CTAs) maybe just OK. Around 79% of marketing leads never convert into paying customers. There are many reasons for not closing a sale, but the CTAs can be a big part of the reason for failure when it comes to your website. When all the elements on your page come together to create a fantastic experience, the CTAs should follow.
5. Matching Smartphone Capability
Every year or so, mobile device manufacturers unveil the latest and greatest features for their smartphones. Screens have higher resolutions, and people can stream videos and images with ease, so websites need to keep up.
If your site isn’t already mobile-friendly, it should be. More than half of Internet traffic now comes from mobile devices. If someone visits your pages via a cellphone and the website is not optimized, they’ll just bounce away to a competitor. Test everything to be sure your pages are compatible with all devices.
6. Advancing Technology
The rapid advances in technology impact the UX of websites as well. A few years ago, hardly anyone had a smart speaker in their home. Nation Public Media surveyed 1,000 U.S. adults and found about 24% owned a smart speaker, and many owned more than one.
To make your site compatible with smart speakers, you have to be aware of how they function. People use natural language patterns to ask questions, such as, “Alexa, where can I get the best sushi in Chicago?” Once you get the questions people ask, it’s much easier to restate the problem and then answer it on your site.
You can find these questions in trending topics and via Google’s “People Also Ask” sections.
7. Understanding Remaining Connectivity Issues
At the same time, you need to embrace new technology. You have to understand that not everyone has blazing fast internet speeds. Rural America struggled to keep up with advances some of the major cities saw. Not every area has fiber optic cables just yet.
Look at your site through the eyes of someone on a slower connection. How long will it take the graphics to load? If they disable images, will they know what they are missing via the alt tags? Can you eliminate any scripts so the page loads more quickly?
8. Relating to Disabilities
People are much more aware of disabilities than at any time in the past. Awareness of the struggles people with vision impairments face should make every website owner sit up and take notice. Fixing these issues can be as simple as ensuring your site meets the ADA standards and works with most reading devices.
You should also consider the colors of your design from the standpoint of someone with color blindness. There are some hues people can’t see. If you use gray and red, it may become an unmanageable blur to them.
9. Easing Aggravation
If 2020 could be summed up in a single word, aggravation would be it. People have stayed in their homes and worn masks. They miss their family, friends, and regular activities. Many people are emotionally on edge. That is why we think 2021 is going to be about simplicity.
Your visitors may not know what their next step is if you don’t tell them. Check all your pages to see if you have a clear path of progression. There are distinct phases to the buyer’s journey. The person starts with slight interest, learns more, and moves to a decision stage.
Know what part of the journey people are on so you can offer the data they need to move forward. Mark steps clearly, so there is no confusion about the next action to take.
UX Is Always Big
2021 isn’t different from any other year. People always want websites that are functional and easy to use. The difference with 2021 is the tech changes that allow you to create a more intuitive site than ever before. Turn to features such as artificial intelligence (AI) to predict user movements. Utilize in-depth big data and analytics to figure out what people want. As long as you look at your site’s usability through the eyes of your visitors, you can’t go wrong.
Lexie is a web designer and omnichannel marketing enthusiast. She enjoys hiking with her goldendoodle and checking out local flea markets. Visit her design blog, Design Roast, and connect with her on Twitter @lexieludesigner.