A Short Guide to Optimizing Your Website Design With the User in Mind

Oftentimes, website owners give more thought on the aesthetics of their site than how visitors will navigate it. But no matter how appealing a website is, if the users are unable to find what they are looking for, it is useless. Understanding how people find, interact, and make transactions on your website will enable you to design a more user-friendly site, remove unnecessary or confusing CTAs, and eventually boost conversions.

Understanding user intent is the first key to designing a successful website.

What Is User Intent?

User Intent refers to what the user is looking for when conducting the search query. Usually, people confuse it with just keywords and search queries, and although user intent does take them into consideration, it goes beyond that. For successful user experience, you need to broaden its definition.

When you start thinking of user intent as the user’s goal of visiting your site, you will be able to go beyond just thinking about SEO and getting more customers. You can think about the entire user experience on your site and, ultimately, how to convert your visitors into customers by offering great experiences.

There are three categories that will help you in organizing the patterns of traffic you see on your website while analyzing user intent. Once you identify each of these groups, you will be able to recognize their individual needs to ensure that their experience goes just like you intend, and they expect, on your website. Let’s have a look at these categories –

  • Informational Users – They are the ones looking for more details about your brand, products/services, or contact information.
  • Educational Users – They are trying to find more information about some industry-specific topics. They are looking for answers on solving a particular problem or fulfilling a need but probably do not have any specific solution in mind yet.
  • Transactional Users – These users are ready to sign up or download or purchase something. They land on your website with a clear plan of action, so it is extremely important that you make it as easy and convenient as possible for them to execute their intent.
How Do You Determine User Intent?

Once you are done categorizing the various user types, you can proceed with identifying and examining each of these group’s traffic patterns. Analyzing Google Analytics’ Users Flow Report is an excellent way to determine user intent. This report lets you track where the traffic came from (its source), the visitors’ activities on your website, and at what stage they left (hopefully, the ‘Thank You’ page.)

If you are not familiar with the setup and configuration of the Users Flow Report, you’re losing out. With the report up and running, analyzing the flow of your users becomes easy. You’ll be able to understand how you can enhance your website’s design with the users in mind.

Once you know your three types of users and their experiences on your website, you can start identifying and resolving any pain points. For starters, you can focus your efforts on the navigation bar first.

Organizing Your Navigation Bar

Focusing your efforts on your site’s navigation bar will help you to take care of the navigation issues, if any, you found in your report. Start by pinpointing the categories and subcategories for your brand and products or services that are distinct and understood by your audience easily. Think of it like you are creating an index for the contents of a book.

This is not the place where you would want to start from scratch. The audience expects and likes to see a little consistency with the traditional conventions; deviate too far from these, the visitors can get irritated and leave your website straight away.

Need some help organizing your navbar? Here are a few approaches you can consider to help you find the categories to include:

Based On User Intent

One trick is to organize your navbar according to the user categories.

For informational users, you can make an “About” page where they can find all answers related to your company, products or services, locations you serve, etc.

For educational users, you can make a blog, FAQ, or any other form of informative content where they can know about the industry highlights, trends, common questions, discuss issues, etc.

For transactional users, you can provide product-specific pages that are easily accessible to make the transaction process simple and clear.

Based On Types Of Customers

Categorizing your target audience into different groups with varying needs will work out best for you. Organizing your navigation bar on the basis of the different types of customers lets you categorize specific products/services and content that benefits the particular group the most. This allows your users to find everything they need in one place, saving their time and effort.

Note: You need to ensure that your customer categories are precise and clear. In case you are unable to separate your customer base into different groups clearly, such a navbar can create a lot of frustration and confusion.

For example, if you have an e-commerce website, you can create a navbar with categories like men’s, women’s, kid’s, etc.

Based On Products

With a product-centric approach, you need to identify precisely definable products or services and then build categories for your navigation bar from there. If you can easily categorize your products/services, it will help your users to navigate and find what they need easily on your site.

For example, if you have an e-commerce website, you can create a navbar with categories like clothing, footwear, makeup, hair accessories, etc. Now when a visitor wants to purchase a hair extension, he/she can simply go to “Hair Accessories” to find it.

Navigation Bar: Do’s and Don’ts

Now that we know the various organizational strategies you can implement for your navigation bar let’s discuss the common mistakes that you would definitely want to avoid.

  1. Restrict the number of categories

The primary goal of the navigation bar is to provide simple options to the users that helps them to make faster decisions and accomplish what they came for. Giving too many categories will make it more challenging and confusing for visitors to decide which way to go.

The best way to avoid a situation like this is by limiting the number of categories to around 5 to 7. Not only will this help the users navigate easily, but it will also make your site look appealing across different devices and screen sizes.

  1. Use clear language

Select specific words and phrases and try limiting them to 12 or fewer characters. Also, you might want to adhere to the conventions here.

For instance, companies usually use the “About Us” page to tell the audience about themselves and their products or services. Using this will help the users to understand and find the purpose of this page quickly. However, changing it to “Know Us” might confuse some users and slow down the process.

Also, do not underestimate the power of keeping your wordings short and crisp. For example, instead of “Our Product Pricing,” stick with just “Pricing” instead of “Our Blog Updates,” just go with “Blog.” The simpler, the better!

  1. Keep actions on the right side

People read from left to right, and they want to learn before making a decision. So, naturally, they expect the informational content to be present on the left. Likewise, they expect the action categories like “Contact Us” to be present on the right, i.e., the end of your navigation bar. This helps the users to gather information before they take the final action.

Another thing to keep in mind is your Homepage link. Keep it in the starting or furthest to the left of your navbar because typically, visitors use that link to navigate to the beginning or go back.

Although horizontal navbars are very common, there is nothing wrong with using a vertical one for your site. Well, of course, the left-to-right rule doesn’t apply here, but it definitely gets replaced by a similar top-to-bottom rule. Just like users read from left to right, they also read from top to bottom. So it makes sense to organize it that way.

Conclusion

Knowing the different types of users who visit your site and their intent can significantly help you improve your user experience and website flow. By now, you must have understood how users navigate your website by identifying the user intent and analyzing the traffic patterns. Overall this data will help you enhance your website’s organization and user experience. Optimizing your site’s design by keeping your users in mind will help you offer them a better experience on-site and ultimately boost conversions.

Hariom Balhara is an inventive person who has been doing intensive research in particular topics and writing blogs and articles for Tireless IT Services. Tireless IT Services is a digital marketingSEOSMOPPC, and web development company that comes with massive experiences.  We specialize in digital marketing, web designing and development, graphic design, and a lot more.

SOURCE : A Short Guide to Optimizing Your Website Design With the User in Mind

Comments are closed