UX Design Seminar at WordCamp Asheville 2019

Download the presentation PDF to go along with the seminar!

Download the presentation PDF

User Experience Design (UX) - Site Audit & Custom UI Design

User Experience Design: UX, XD or "Customer Experience", is the process of enhancing the customer's satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the user and your website. Depending on how your website or software is designed, the user experience can range from delightful to downright frustrating.

User Experience Design - Woman contemplating her website design on laptop

UX design isn’t limited to the digital space, either. Anything that can be experienced can be designed, from the packaging of a toy to the dashboard of your car. However, this is usually how your customer experiences your brand when visiting your website and trying to interact with your company online.

Having a professional evaluation of the User’s Experience is imperative for improving conversion rates and increasing sales.

USER EXPERIENCE ANALYSIS / WEBSITE AUDIT

Heather Neff has over 19 years of marketing and user interface design experience and can evaluate your website for best practices and user-friendliness. She can determine the edits that need to be performed to improve the customer's experience (think of it as a website audit).

People create thoughts and emotions based on their experiences. All it takes is one bad experience to have someone decide not to call you back, or leave a permanent, scathing review on the internet. Google now actually uses your mobile site speed as their number one determiner of a quality site, as it all about how long people have to wait to see your site load on their phones.

Nobody Likes a Slow Website
— Pingdom

In order for humans to make the most out of complex systems like websites, UX designers had to start thinking about how people interact with them. We look for ways to make those interactions as intuitive and straightforward as possibleAnywhere decisions are being made about your products or services, we are the voice of your customers. It’s our duty to advocate for them, and we need to be able to view the website through their eyes to do so. 

What are their pain points? How do you offer to solve their issues? What are their goals? What do they want? Why are you different? Does this site load fast enough?!

Heather will become a first-time customer and start by searching for your site... She offers suggestions and advice on how to rank better in Google, how you can serve your customers better, and how to improve your website's overall experience.

Her job is to clarify your services, create consistent marketing messages, review your site speed, mobile site, SEO/rankings, branding, and call to actions.

You want to have a professional, easy to use site that makes people feel like their needs are not only met, but acceded!

We make things as easy as possible for them to do business with you.  We usually come up with a few questions that your site does not answer or explain well.  We evaluate best practices from simple forms to complex interactions. Using years of user interface design experience, Heather brings expertise on how to reassure customers, and to guide them in the right direction. Good UX also equals better SEO. Once she has done a comprehensive user experience analysis -  She will create a detailed list of suggested website edits for your company. 

USER EXPERIENCE AUDIT DETAILS

We will work with you to determine your marketing goals and how to reach those goals with changes to your site. Is it brand awareness? Converting  visitors to purchase an item? Get them to signup for a workshop? Who is your target audience? After we determine the marketing goals, and outline who your ideal customers are, we will review your site with these goals in mind.

We will review both desktop and mobile versions as if we were a brand new customer. The entire experience we have interacting with your company will be analyzed. This will include navigation, current customer retentions (such as newsletter popups), logo/branding design (all images / colors / fonts), SEO and marketing messages. We will put together all our suggested edits into a Google doc so that these edits can be sent to your web development company.  All this is done hourly, and depends on how complex your current site is, and how many marketing channels you currently utilize. We will even review your social media for brand consistency and improvements that could be made.
 

Our goal is to have your customers interact and do business with your company, and come away with a very positive feeling. 

MOBILE SITE

Optimizing for mobile is less about content changes as it is about improving the overall experience for users visiting the website using a smaller screen. Google takes into account if your site is mobile friendly - and if it’s not, you are penalized with a lower ranking. Most of our clients have over 60% of their traffic coming from mobile and tablets, making it actually the number one thing you should do, review and make sure your mobile site experience is even better than the desktop!  Google announced in 2018 that it is starting to index your mobile site as the main site that is ranked in Google as well. We make sure when your phone number or email address is tapped on the mobile screen, it launches to make a phone call or to send you an email. You would be surprised how many mobile sites aren’t formatted correctly to help your customers contact your business.

How fast your mobile site loads is now the most crucial thing you should be focusing on.

 
Although our search index will continue to be a single index of websites and apps, our algorithms will eventually primarily use the mobile version of a site’s content to rank pages from that site, to understand structured data, and to show snippets from those pages in our results.
— Google
 

SITE SPEED, SEO & GOOGLE ANALYTICS

We will also test how long it takes for your site load on both a mobile device and a desktop, and offer suggestions for speeding everything up.  The industry standard is to have your desktop load in 4 seconds or less. We also recommend aiming for 6-8 seconds on mobile. We will review your Google analytics and work with your team to explain our suggestions and determine the best way to execute changes to your website. Benchmarking your current traffic and drop-off points help us to determine which edits should be made and later, to see if the changes are working out as planned.

Don't have a Google analytics account? We can help set this code up in the backend of your website. User experience and SEO are tied together now - and changing your website to satisfy the customer's needs can lead to higher rankings in Google. The better overall experience a customer has, the longer they stay and interact with your site, Google records this - and notes sites that make customers happy. Site speed, time spent on the site, metadata within your headtags - all reflects back on how Google ranks your website. We will also review your metadata and rewrite keyword rich, eye-catching and convincing ad copy for your title tags and descriptions to make customers click.

TEST YOUR SITE SPEED

 
There is now a new sense of urgency to prioritize user experience – both for mobile and desktop user – and, to some degree, abandon traditional SEO practices. While some tactics still may be effective, such as building internal and external links, satisfying visitors now takes priority.
— MANUEL MARTINEZ UX EXPERT
 

 
How fast your website loads is critical but often a completely ignored element in any online business and that includes search marketing and search engine optimization. And that includes page load times on mobile devices: The average time it takes to fully load a mobile landing page is 22 seconds, according to a new analysis. Yet 53% of visits are abandoned if a mobile site takes longer than three seconds to load. That’s a big problem.
— Google
 

WEB ACCESSIBILITY / AMERICANS WITH DISABILITIES ACT  (ADA COMPLIANT)

We also take into account new regulations from Google for the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) for web accessibility.  We will help make you aware of any issues and give you the advice needed to be compliant for people who visit your website who are hard of hearing, have color blindness or poor eyesight. For example, the images on your website must have an alternative text or "alt tag" associated with them in the event they do not display on a device or the person is unable to see the image. The alt tag description will then clearly describe what that image is. We also try to combine alt tags with SEO, and make sure the images are also named correctly for Google, and will load incredibly fast. Google will take into account if you are ADA compliant which will affect your ranking within search engines. 

SEE HOW YOUR SITE PERFORMS

WEB SAFE FONTS

Using standard browser fonts such as verdana allows you to bypass the time it takes for each browser to download selected fonts to each persons phone or desktop when loading the site. Each font you are trying to install weighs down your load time. It is advised to use the same font family for each H1, H2, H3 and body tags as a way to reduce this load time. Standard web fonts include Arial, Times, Courier, Helvetica, Georgia, Garamond, Trebuchet MS and Verdana.

“Web Fonts give developers the ability to incorporate rich typography into their projects with the tradeoff that if the user does not already possess a typeface the browser must spend some time downloading it. Because networks can be flaky, this download time has the potential to adversely affect the user’s experience. After all, no one’s going to care how pretty your text is if it takes an inordinate amount of time to display!”

— GOOGLE DEV TOOLS

For every typeface family used in your website, it requires the servers to download each font family by the customer’s computer before they can see that text. “Only including the Regular and Bold styles, plus their italic counterparts, can amount to 500k or more of data.” says Google.

COMPETITORS

Heather Shirin Neff - Teaching User Experience UX design at WordCamp Asheville 2019

Heather Shirin Neff - Teaching User Experience UX design at WordCamp Asheville 2019

Without knowing who else offers similar services, and what they do for their customers - you can not stand out from the crowd. We will research your competitors and review and contrast your site and services with theirs. We will analyze your site's ranking vs. their site, and research and determine what you are doing right, what you are doing wrong, and how to improve things. Your brand needs to be superior in every way, and knowing who you are up against is part of the UX audit.

GRAPHICAL SERVICES

Usually, there are graphical and branding issues, such as low resolution imagery. Sometimes your images can be too big or the wrong format, and we will recommend that we reduce or change the files for improved load times. Images usually account for more than 65% of the kilobytes needed to load an average web page. Once we determine which images that need improvement, we can also design and properly export and rename these graphical elements for you. These can include icons, photos, logos, favicons, and infographics.

We highly suggest making simple logos into .svg or 'scalable vector graphics' for high definition display across all devices. Sometimes we might even convert your logo into .svg code for the fastest load speed! We will go over the suggested changes either in person or over the phone and you can decide if you would like me to create these updated files.  

Contact Heather Neff at (828)-575-7731 or heather@neff-creative.com