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The Importance of User Experience in Driving Website Conversions

Why User Experience is Fundamental in Driving Website Conversions

Key takeaways

  • If a website has poor UX, its users will likely be frustrated and angry. These leads will abandon their tasks and typically go to a competitor.
  • UX web design can increase conversions by 400% and bring in large numbers of leads and sales to businesses.
  • Site users who have had positive experiences are likely to share your content and return for repeat purchases – what business wouldn’t want that?

First, let’s cov­er the essentials:

What is user experience?

User expe­ri­ence (UX) design is the process of design­ing web­sites, apps, and oth­er inter­faces so that they appeal to human behav­iours, per­cep­tions, and preferences.

UX design does this by antic­i­pat­ing users’ needs and seek­ing, wher­ev­er pos­si­ble, to make their expe­ri­ences fric­tion­less, help­ful, and mean­ing­ful. Rather than focus­ing whol­ly on beau­ti­ful appear­ances, UX val­ues the need for usabil­i­ty and func­tion­al­i­ty above any­thing else.

Once these val­ues are achieved, UX design­ers can move on to mak­ing their prod­ucts fun and plea­sur­able to use – ele­ments called “delight”.

UX is extreme­ly valu­able to web­site own­ers, as it strong­ly links to web­site conversions.

How does UX help website conversions?

Improved UX design can raise con­ver­sion rates by up to 400%! But how exact­ly does it achieve these kinds of results?

Here are 5 main ways UX improves web­site conversions:

1. UX helps guide website visitors towards their goals

By mak­ing it super sim­ple for users to do what they came to do, UX design can con­tribute to an increase in com­plet­ed tasks, e.g., sign-ups and pur­chas­es. This improve­ment relates to things such as nav­i­ga­tion, icons, and information.

2. UX improves your first impression

Since users are more like­ly to remain on a web­site if they feel it’s trust­wor­thy, UX design can help length­en the aver­age time spent on your web­site. Trust­wor­thy web design will

pro­tect your first impres­sion and there­fore increase con­ver­sions and reduce bounce rates.

3. Fewer users leave out of frustration

When users are faced with slow site load­ing speed, con­fus­ing nav­i­ga­tion, or untrust­wor­thy design, they’re like­ly to bounce right away. So, when these issues are resolved, web­sites will see an improve­ment in their bounce and con­ver­sion rate.

4. More users understand your products or services

Part of UX is express­ing the val­ue of your prod­ucts or ser­vices more clear­ly and per­sua­sive­ly through high-qual­i­ty pho­tos and copy­writ­ing. With these ele­ments opti­mised, more leads will under­stand what you’re offer­ing and be in a more qual­i­fied posi­tion to com­plete sales with you.

5. Happy or impressed users are more likely to share your brand

Web­site vis­i­tors are more like­ly to refer your brand to a friend or share it on social media if they’ve enjoyed, or been impressed by, their expe­ri­ence of your site. As a result, you can see increased leads and purchases.

What makes a positive user experience?

So, what exact­ly con­sti­tutes a pos­i­tive expe­ri­ence for web­site users? Well, it’s things like:

  • Sim­ple and effi­cient navigation
  • Quick­ly load­ing pages
  • Clear and obvi­ous web­page func­tions and purposes
  • No dis­trac­tions, e.g., min­i­mal pop-ups
  • Uncom­pli­cat­ed check­out process
  • Help­ful infor­ma­tion is eas­i­ly accessed or dis­played outright
  • Moments of delight (fun!)
  • Per­son­alised ele­ments and suggestions
  • Moments of gamification
  • Pre­vi­ous user reviews and testimonials
  • Mem­o­rable web­site experience
  • Moments of human­ness, emo­tion, humour, and charisma

Of course, things like gam­i­fi­ca­tion and delight are sec­ondary pri­or­i­ties – per­haps you could imple­ment these once things like nav­i­ga­tion and acces­si­bil­i­ty have been fixed.

3 reasons why UX is so important

1. UX influences the emotions of website visitors

The main rea­son why a web­site’s UX has so much pow­er over its con­ver­sions is that UX influ­ences the emo­tions of site vis­i­tors. For instance, poor web design can result in vis­i­tors feel­ing annoy­ance, frus­tra­tion, cau­tion, mis­trust, anger, etc.

If a web­site’s nav­i­ga­tion or check­out process is so dif­fi­cult that it induces one of the above feel­ings, users are way more like­ly to aban­don their task. Thus, poor UX can reduce your con­ver­sion rate.

It does­n’t seem like a stretch, then, to say that the emo­tions of web­site vis­i­tors are key to whether e‑commerce busi­ness­es suc­ceed or fail. So much so that user-cen­tred design should form a foun­da­tion­al com­po­nent of web­site development.

2. Trust and credibility are key to conversions

Trust and cred­i­bil­i­ty play a big role in con­ver­sion rate, and there are sev­er­al ways web­sites can fail to inspire that trust:

First­ly, be mind­ful of web­site design. Since old­er-look­ing web­sites aren’t trust­ed by 94% of users, this is a cru­cial issue to address first. Poor design indi­cates that busi­ness­es don’t have that much expe­ri­ence or that they’re unpro­fes­sion­al. Either way, they’re not going to seem like they’re worth doing busi­ness with.

Sec­ond­ly, it’s con­tact infor­ma­tion. Keep­ing key infor­ma­tion hid­den, such as com­pa­ny details or pric­ing, appears sus­pi­cious. In fact, 44% of vis­i­tors will leave a ven­dor’s web­site if there are no con­tact details.

Next, be mind­ful of your check­out process. If web­site vis­i­tors feel your site’s check­out process is sus­pi­cious or unre­li­able, they may aban­don their cart rather than input their card details.

Users who feel intrud­ed upon or over­whelmed aren’t like­ly to trust your site. So, it would help if you reduced the amount of inter­rup­tion mar­ket­ing on your site. Increas­ing num­bers of stud­ies are show­ing that per­mis­sion mar­ket­ing is not only much more effec­tive but much less jarring.

Last­ly, ensure there are no spelling or gram­mar mis­takes and that you have an SSL cer­tifi­cate. These seem­ing­ly minor issues are actu­al­ly extreme­ly sig­nif­i­cant and could be what’s drag­ging your con­ver­sion rate down so much.

3. Users want seamless journeys

Easy nav­i­ga­tion is key for con­ver­sions; in fact, improv­ing it can raise con­ver­sion rate by 18.5%

This is because users want their jour­ney to be as easy as pos­si­ble. Hic­cups, dis­trac­tions, and com­pli­ca­tions just slow things down. Unfor­tu­nate­ly, users will just go to anoth­er web­site if yours is dif­fi­cult to use.

With UX and modern web design practices so readily available, internet users have become accustomed to a high level of usability. So, it’s extra disappointing when they encounter a poorly designed website.

With 37% of vis­i­tors leav­ing sites because of it, busi­ness own­ers should be tak­ing nav­i­ga­tion seri­ous­ly and invest­ing in projects that will cre­ate seam­less jour­neys for users.

Implementing better UX for better conversions

Best practices and principals for creating user-centred website design

If you’re to embark on a UX project for your web­site, you’ll need to know the prin­ci­ples and prac­tices that will make it successful:

  1. First­ly, always use data to sup­port design deci­sions. Whether you’re in the ini­tial research stages or the sub­se­quent test­ing phas­es, sta­tis­ti­cal proof will steer your project in the right direction.
  2. Sim­i­lar­ly to data, user feed­back is extreme­ly impor­tant. Since a key UX prin­ci­ple is empathis­ing with user needs, con­sid­er­ing their feed­back will be high­ly enlightening.
  3. UX is a con­tin­u­ous process. So, don’t make the mis­take of com­plet­ing a one-off UX project. Instead, mon­i­tor your KPIs reg­u­lar­ly, and A/B test new vari­a­tions of CTAs, pop-ups, and emails for best results.
  4. Buy­er per­sonas and jour­ney map­ping help keep design choic­es user-focused. The best UX design­ers will use both of these tools to form their approach.
  5. UX design­ers should always con­sid­er the con­text of the user. This idea con­sists of 3 ele­ments: the user’s envi­ron­ment (e.g., a busy street or qui­et office), their medi­um (i.e., dig­i­tal device), and their mood.
  6. Nev­er for­get that the per­son­al opin­ions of design­ers or web­site own­ers are not help­ful to the UX design process. Though the CEO might have a favourite colour, colour the­o­ry is your best bet for deter­min­ing the ide­al colour scheme for your website.

Top 10 UX tips to simplify the user journey

If you want to reduce fric­tion points across your web­site, you might like to imple­ment some of the fol­low­ing changes:

  1. Assign a clear pur­pose to each web­page, each with a sin­gle CTA – espe­cial­ly the pages that have a mud­dled (or no) purpose.
  2. Change your check­out set­tings to allow users to com­plete pur­chas­es as guests.
  3. Opti­mise your web­site for mobile and tablet usage as well as desktop.
  4. Replace moments of inter­rup­tive mar­ket­ing with per­mis­sion marketing.
  5. Imple­ment data-sup­port­ed colour the­o­ry across your site.
  6. Cre­ate a walk­through guide for the check­out process for new users.
  7. Min­imise and sim­pli­fy fields on forms or make them multi-step.
  8. Use com­mon­ly recog­nised icons (such as the ham­burg­er icon for nav­i­ga­tion) instead of abstract ones.
  9. Remove unex­pect­ed costs.
  10. Dis­play the dif­fer­ent steps of the check­out process in a ban­ner or side panel.

How do I know if my UX efforts are working?

Ask your staff

One of the eas­i­est ways to pilot a new web­site design is to ask your staff to help. Once your draft is com­plete, send it to sev­er­al team mem­bers to test and give feed­back. Accord­ing to some research, you only need to ask five peo­ple to help because just five peo­ple are enough to spot 85% of your site’s issues!

A/B testing

A/B test­ing (also known as split test­ing) is the main way to test the effi­ca­cy of your changes.


If your UX design­er has changed the colours of your CTA but­tons from pur­ple to red, you would cre­ate two web pages – the “con­trol” (pur­ple) and the “chal­lenger” (red). You would show 50% of vis­i­tors the con­trol page and 50% of vis­i­tors the chal­lenger. The click rates for each of these vari­ants will indi­cate which colour is most effective.

Why you should continuously monitor and improve your conversion rate

Rather than check­ing in with your con­ver­sion rate once a year, check it once a week. Keep an eye on it when you log into your web­site ana­lyt­ics tools, and take action quick­ly if you notice a change.

Con­tin­u­ous mon­i­tor­ing is best because you can be sure that the web­site is always meet­ing the goals of the busi­ness and catch prob­lems as soon as they arise. Prob­lems such as:

Some­times your con­ver­sion rate will appear to drop if your track­ing code has­n’t been updat­ed along­side a change. Or it will drop because users aren’t respond­ing well to a new change on your website.

Con­tin­u­ous mon­i­tor­ing means that you don’t have to exhaust your resources on large projects. For instance, if you checked your con­ver­sion rate after six months and realised it was extreme­ly low, you might decide to relaunch your web­site – which will take months and is quite expensive.

On the oth­er hand, some­one who checks their con­ver­sions reg­u­lar­ly might take on one small CRO project per month – which will cost less and be a more man­age­able strain on resources.

As you’ll read about below, con­tin­u­ous A/B test­ing can be an extreme­ly valu­able part of CRO, so this might be some­thing you take on too.

How Diabetes UK raised conversions by 61% through usability testing

The challenge:

Dia­betes UK want­ed to increase the num­ber of dona­tions they received through their web­site and improve user journeys.

The solutions:

The action plan for this case study was to con­duct search intent research, usabil­i­ty test­ing, and A/B tests, as well as map­ping and analysing exist­ing user journeys.

The results:

Not only did test users report greater web­site usabil­i­ty (espe­cial­ly on mobile), but the char­i­ty also saw a 61% increase in donations.

Read the full case study here.

How Venture Harbour increased web form conversions by 743%

The challenge:

Before Ven­ture Har­bour began its CRO jour­ney, the con­ver­sion rate on its web forms was 0.96%. Their goal was to increase this – as much as possible!

The solution:

Ven­ture Har­bour changed its sin­gle-paged long forms to mul­ti-step (which are proven to be more user-friend­ly). This result­ed in a 300% increase in con­ver­sions – but they did­n’t stop there.

Through con­tin­u­al A/B test­ing, Ven­ture Har­bour forms under­went numer­ous vari­a­tions and adaptations.

The results:

Before run­ning A/B test­ing, Ven­ture Har­bour raised its web form con­ver­sion rate by 300%. After con­duct­ing tests con­tin­u­al­ly, con­ver­sion rate increased by 743%!

Read the full case study here.

Final thoughts

If you’re wor­ried about your web­site’s con­ver­sion rate, there are many sim­ple ways to improve it. You can absolute­ly see sig­nif­i­cant results with small changes, as is evi­dent from Ven­ture Har­bour’s case study.

The key to these kinds of results is look­ing at your web­site’s per­for­mance data. Are you los­ing more leads at the check­out? Or at the sign-up forms?

These sig­nals will indi­cate the best approach to your site’s UX. Remem­ber that you prob­a­bly won’t need to tack­le everything!

Opti­mis­ing your web­site’s con­ver­sion rate could be as sim­ple as stream­lin­ing its CTAs or chang­ing the colours of cer­tain buttons.

If you’d like to get in touch about improv­ing your site’s UX design, please con­tact the pur­ple­plan­et team, and we’d love to help.

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