Your website is the most powerful tool you have at your disposal. If it’s not designed well — or working well — your visitors will never convert to paying customers.
Appearance and design are important, but it’s the user experience most people will remember:
- Is navigating the site frustrating and sluggish?
- Is it easy to add a product or service to your cart and check out?
- Can you get in touch with support fairly quickly?
If the user experience is poor, then people are simply going to leave, almost as soon as they arrive. But how do you know if a website delivers a good experience? Is there a way to measure?
Believe it or not, there are several ways you can measure your site’s user experience, and that’s what we’re going to talk about.
1. Use Metrics to See How Users Are Interacting With Your Website
Ever heard of something called a heatmap? It’s a unique analytics feature that allows you to see where people have engaged or interacted most with your page. You can see what elements visitors are clicking on and which ones are being ignored. This allows you to gauge whether or not your CTA is effective.
You can also visualize where people are spending most of their time. Are they scrolling down the page and reading your content, or are they looking away as soon as they arrive? Are they interested in all of your products or only a couple? Is the site layout or design directing attention somewhere you don’t want it to?
These are all things you can figure out with a heatmap. It displays where people engage most by highlighting the area in blue or green, similar to thermal imaging.
You’ll know a lot more about the user experience on your site by exploring interaction levels.
2. Check Your Site’s Loading Speeds
Website speed is important. If customers land on a page that’s taking too long to load, they’ll get frustrated and either backtrack or leave completely. According to research, the maximum amount of time you can expect your visitors to wait for a site to load is 3 seconds.
You can either manually check the loading times or you can use a tool like Google’s PageSpeed Insights. Google’s tool is more effective because it will show you which pages could be improved and what might be the cause of a delay. Similar tools include Web Page Test, GTmetrix and Pingdom Tools.
More often than not, image sizes play a role in performance. It’s possible to compress or decrease the size of images on your site, with little to no quality loss.
3. Conduct Usability Tests
One of the reasons why projects or sites fail is because of a disconnect in communication between customers and developers. You can bridge this gap by conducting usability tests for your site and then giving feedback to your developers.
Usability testing is when you recruit people to try out your product, which, in this case, would be your website. You can either hire a third party to do this or you can have your employees, friends or relatives take a look at your site.
During testing, it’s important those participating try everything on your site, including:
- Purchasing goods
- Watching videos
- Leaving comments
- And more
Every interaction a potential visitor could make, your testers should be trying out.
Then, get their feedback. You’ll be able to tell pretty fast if a certain part of your site isn’t optimized or working correctly.
4. Calculate Your Conversion Ratings
Visitors will come and go in waves, but not everyone will purchase a product or make it to the end of your conversion process. One great way to measure user experience is to see where in the pipeline visitors are jumping ship.
For example, did they add products to their cart and decide the checkout process was too involved for their liking? Did they see something before checkout that made them leave? Did they even get there?
Google Analytics offers a Checkout Behavior Analysis report that is handy for figuring out this sort of thing. It will tell you at what step in your checkout process users abandoned your site. This should help you discern any problems that need to be addressed — user experience-related or not.
5. Check How Much Time Your Forms Require
Visitors will spend a lot of time interacting with forms on your site. They may be signing up for an email newsletter, sending in contact details, submitting billing info and more. If the forms are asking for too much information or they just perform poorly, your visitors will be wasting a lot of time. They may not even get to the end, choosing to leave before they are finished submitting their information.
Luckily, there are tools to measure this, such as Hotjar.
Check to be sure your visitors are not experiencing a bottleneck with one of your forms. You can address problems by removing fields you don’t need, improving performance, or doing away with the form completely.
6. Conduct Online Surveys
Ask your customers directly what they think of your site. There are plenty of tools to do this and you can easily create a questionnaire that tells you everything you need to know. More than likely, they will have plenty to say about the experience your site offers, especially if it’s lacking.
This is a great way to get feedback from the people who matter most, your loyal customers. You can do things like filter the surveys to show only when a customer is logged in to get feedback just from regulars. Or you can allow anyone to take a survey. It’s up to you.
Measure Your Site
Hopefully you’ve gained some valuable insights that will help you measure the user experience rating of your site. Remember, there’s plenty you can do to improve the experience, and if you follow these tips you’re on the right track.