In the digital world, the user experience is the experience a person has on your website, and it can make or break your marketing efforts. It involves a lot of things: your site’s structure and navigation, design, content, and more.

A good user experience can make sales and create delighted customers, while a bad user experience causes frustration, confusion, and negative profits.

Creating a positive user experience on your website is essential because your website is the backbone of your marketing strategy.

But what does it take to create a truly amazing user experience?

First and foremost, a website with a good user experience helps its visitors accomplish their goals. So, understanding your visitors’ needs should be first and foremost in your user experience strategy.

When embarking on a user experience redesign, keep these 5 principles of a positive user experience in mind at all times. They’ll help guide your efforts and make sure you stay on track towards creating an incredible experience for all your website visitors.

Useful

When people visit your website, they might be looking for an answer to a question, hoping to find a definition, or seeking to take an action. By presenting content that’s relevant to the visitor and aligned with their stage in the buyer’s journey, your website will be useful.

Intuitive

Your website visitors should be able to easily navigate your website to find what they need. Intuitive websites have pages that answer only one question at a time, ask visitors to take only one action at a time, and contain content that guides the visitor to the next stage in their buyer's journey. 

Consistent

Aim for consistency in the design, page layouts, colors, and fonts, as well as in the content of your website. Humans inherently like things they're familiar with, so take advantage of this by creating consistency across your entire site.

Accessible

Your website should adhere to web accessibility standards for things like color contrast, font size, and readability for screen readers.

Accessibility also refers to how visitors access your content. Help visitors easily find the information they need by providing logical navigation menus in your header and footer. Keep the navigation simple: no more than 7 items and no more than 3 levels of sub-navigation.

Appealing

Your website is your chance to make a great first impression, so make sure you're proud of it and that it's visually appealing. It doesn't need to be flashy or complicated — often, simpler is better. Use whitespace to visually frame information, and add images to create visual interest.

6 Steps to Redesign the User Experience

At HubSpot, the User Experience team has developed a comprehensive 6-step redesign methodology that you can apply to your website. This works if you're planning a full site redesign, or if you just want to make changes to some of your pages.

Step 1: Conduct a content audit

Map your existing website content to each stage in the buyer’s journey. By doing this, you can analyze your overall content mix and identify holes and opportunities for your content.

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Step 2: Hold internal interviews

Ask your CEO, your manager, and your peers what they think about your existing website. Other people in your company can reveal issues that they’ve encountered with your website and provide valuable insight.

Step 3: Complete card sorting sessions

Card sorting is a technique you can perform without any user testing experience. There are two types of card sorts: open and closed.

To perform an open card sort, write your website pages’ names on index cards and lay them out in no particular order. Invite people from outside of your company to organize the cards. Have them group the cards according to similarity. Repeat the card sort with each person and notice any trends that emerge.

To perform a closed card sort, give your participants the categories you’ve come up with for your navigation ahead of time. Ask them to organize the index cards into those categories.

Step 4: Conduct usability testing

Recruit a group of your typical users and watch them use your website. By watching how someone actually uses your website, you can identify navigation issues and discover what questions people have when browsing your content.

When doing this testing, pick a common problem or question that visitors have when they land on your website and ask your participants to walk you through how they would accomplish that goal.

Step 5: Create a style guide

In your style guide, set down instructions for font choices, logo treatments, page layouts, and other visual elements of your website. This will help ensure consistency across your website, which creates a positive user experience.

Step 6: Make lists of things to change

The final step in the user experience redesign methodology is to make two lists of things to change. The first list is a “must-have” of items that need to be completed immediately. The second list is a “nice-to-have” which includes items that would be nice to complete at some point in time, but don’t need to be done right now. You’ll make these lists based off your findings from the previous steps.

This whole process will take a good amount of time as each step involves planning, research, and testing. As you continue to dig into the user experience, you’ll discover different ways to improve your website and optimize it.

Want to learn more about how to create an amazing user experience on your website? Check out the Designing the User Experience lesson from HubSpot Academy. To take your learning a step further, complete the Contextual Marketing Certification course today.

Want to connect with others on HubSpot tips, tricks, and updates? Head over to the HubSpot Community to join a conversation or start one of your own.

Start the HubSpot Contextual Marketing Certification course from HubSpot Academy.

Originally published Jun 26, 2019 10:00:00 AM, updated June 26 2019