The Ultimate UX Checklist for your Website/App – The Do’s and Don’ts

Today’s sophisticated internet users have high expectations when it comes to their experience using a website or an app. They are quick and impatient and also have shorter attention span – thanks to new mobile technologies that contributed significantly to this shift in Internet user behavior.  You only get a few seconds to grab the user’s attention to check out your website or app and once he is on-board, you get only a few seconds to impress the user by providing great user experience which in turn increases the session duration or the time user spends on your website or app. As you know great user experience also results in repeat visits and better conversion rate.

This article will be helpful to both business owners who are looking forward to get their website or app built and also web designers/developers who, though, have knowledge about UX but would like to bookmark a comprehensive UX checklist that will help them to cross-check and identify if they have missed or overlooked any important UX factor with respect to their projects. 

This article will also be useful to marketers who would like to brush up their knowledge of UX. So, here we go..

Delivering a great user experience means enhancing the overall experience delivered to the user and the components that make the UX experience great are usefulness and value of the contents provided, usability, findability and accessibility, great visual and interactive design, credibility/trust worthiness and likeability/desirability.

Your UX efforts should focus on these core elements of user experience design namely – user research, visual design, interaction design, usability and accessibility, content and information Architecture.

1. UX Design based on Purpose and User Persona - Knowing your audience thoroughly is the key. Working on the UX part based on in-depth user analysis data and keeping in mind the purpose/goal of the website are the most important things to do to get UX right.

 

Image source: smashingmagazine.com

 

 

2. Consistency in Layout/Design – consistency in design, layout and UI elements are very important.

For example - once the user gets familiar with the layout and UI elements on the landing page, he/she would expect consistency in layout/design and positions of the UI elements across pages. Variations often create confusion.

 

Image source: bbc.co.uk

This rule can only be overlooked when you want to purposefully provide a different experience to the user once he/she navigates to an entirely new section or a special purpose page.  

Use white space appropriately to de-clutter the design. Stick to one column layout, multi-columns can distract/confuse the users.

3. Clarity and Consistency in Navigation – Positions of the navigational elements should be consistent across the website. Navigation styles (drop-down menu, text links, flyout menu, text links, tab bar, icons/buttons etc.) used should be consistent, clickable, clearly visible and descriptive or understandable.

 

 

Use of breadcrumbs to show the user where he is on the website consistently is a great example of good navigation experience.  Having a user sitemap and also section-wise relevant quick links ensure ease in navigation.

 

4. Great Content, Clear Organization of Content and Structure - This is a no-brainer. Compelling, persuasive content grabs users’ attention and influences the user’s decision-making significantly. Persuasive content plays a great role in conversions.  Clear content structure and clarity in organization of information contributes to great user experience. 

  • Make sure that the content is displayed in an uncluttered manner across the website. Focus more on readability, findability and clarity. Use high quality and relevant images/visuals. 
  • Short Paragraphs, Crisp bullet points, clear headings are to be used to make the content readable and scannable. 
  • Make sure that the content you provide is accurate and up-to-date. Display the most important content firstly and clearly.  Use commonly understood words and phrases.
  • Grouping similar or related information together and ensuring orderly flow of information is crucial to ensure user-friendliness.

 

Image source: uxbooth.com

 

  • Content should clearly address your audience, their problems and solutions/benefits. Devise a holistic content strategy and work on the content part in sync with the layout/design.
  • Use storytelling to drive home the important points wherever possible, instead of just stating the facts.
  • Explain important points with respect to calls to action with examples in the form of texts, diagrams, graphics etc and the most important parts of the content should be short, crisp and concise.

 

5. Provide Value and Benefits – Always think of ways to provide value to your users. It is one of the best ways to achieve user satisfaction. Benefits/value can be provided in various ways – be it by providing useful content (say, advices, tips or any form of knowledge sharing) or resources like relevant tools, eBooks, guides, freebies, manuals, offers etc.

For example – Instead of asking the user to simply ‘Register’, why not offer the user a limited period free trial offer if he/she signs up now?  

 

Image source: jeanconnects.com


6. Great Visual Design – 
This is again a no-brainerAn irresistibly attractive visual design with great clarity plays a huge role in impressing the users and definitely contributes to conversions.

Factors like Typography, Fonts, icons, symbols, gestures etc also add to the beauty of a website, so focusing on these too matters. 

 

Image source: mcdonalds.com

 

7. Clear Calls to Action - Make sure the visitor/user clearly gets to know what the website/app is all about and the value proposition it offers. 

  • At every stage of the user’s journey, make sure that he knows what to do next and why.  It is a standard practice to show the call to action at the top right of the page and also at the bottom – it increases visibility but do not try to show same call to action more than twice. Also avoid multiple calls to action on the same page.  
  • Use contrast colors to make calls to action stand out. Calls to action buttons or links should convey the benefit the user is going to receive instead of asking him simply do the task required. 

For example – instead of asking the user to just sign up, the CTA button may say ‘Boost your Income… Sign up now’ 

 

Image source:  maryfernandez.co

 

  • Also, make sure that the CTAs are reasonably bigger and clickable even on mobile devices.

 

8. Make your website/app trustworthy - adding trust factors like contact information, business location/address, certifications, badges, awards, team’s images, testimonials and other credible references makes your website trust-worthy and trust factors influence customers in a significant way to convert. 

 

Image source: ceblog.s3.amazonaws.com

‘Https’ websites are considered secure.  So even if yours is not an ecommerce website or a site that collects payments,  it won’t be a bad idea to switch to ‘Https’ as every site collects some kind of information from the user through forms.

 

9. Avoid Unpleasant Surprises – Automatic refreshes, tricky redirections, too many Pop ups, broken links, dysfunctional buttons/forms are all examples of unpleasant experiences that need to be avoided as much as possible.

 

10. Personalization - providing user-specific or location-specific information to user (with user’s permission) is a great way to impress the user. For example – addressing the user by name, option to view content in native language, location-specific deals or offers, offers or points based on past purchase history, exclusive freebies for customer loyalty, providing results/content/recommendations based on user’s interest etc.

 

11. Transparency and Honesty - Terms and conditions, prices, warranty details and similar important transactional details should be clearly displayed in a simple, understandable manner.

Hidden costs & terms and tricky offers are examples of toxic experiences which could result in both losing loyal customers and also bad word of mouth.

 

12. Mitigating the effects of Errors – Errors should be minimized as much as possible but when errors occur, user should be guided properly to do the next possible thing he/she could do on the website.

Examples - Displaying an attractive custom 404 or 500 page with a link to navigate to the home page is a great way to mitigate the negative effect.  Displaying a clear message to the user during downtime is another example of handling errors in a better way. 

 

Image source: aws.amazon.com

 

13. Cross Browser and Cross-Platform Compatibility - In the age of mobile web, you should ensure that your website is compatible to all major browsers/versions and works well (Responsive) across devices.

 

14. User-friendly Forms – Forms should look simple with clearly defined fields.

  • Number of fields should be less and they should be those fields which are absolutely important to collect minimum required information.
  • Commonly used terms should be used to label fields.
  • Error messages and submission confirmation messages should be clearly displayed right at locations where users expect them to be shown. For example – if a user adds wrong information to a field, the error should be shown just below that field.
  • Avoid long drop-downs and wherever possible enable auto-fill features, auto-fill is a great feature which hardly fails to impress the mobile user.

 

Image source: autoglass.co.uk

 

  • Make the form a bit adaptive and lenient – for example, a user may enter date or phone number in different formats even if you show the format in which the data is to be entered – in such cases instead of showing errors, it should be programmed to accept all major/commonly accepted formats.
  • Always provide users with options to go back and correct/edit their entries before submission. For example – a person who decided to order 5 wine bottles may want to change the number to 7 before placing the order, so he should have the option to edit the number instead of going back to the previous step and initiating the order process all over again.

 

15. Site Speed - In the age of mobile web, speed of your website matters like never before. Mobile users are quick and impatient. According to Akmai.com survey, 40% of people abandon a web page if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.

 

16. Common Symbols/Gestures – Common symbols and widely used gestures need to be used in design as they are recognized quickly and similar symbols or gestures should not be used as representations of different actions.

 

Image source: mobiletuxedo.com

 

17. Accessible User Support - during the user journey, the user may need more information or may get stuck at some point and may want your assistance before he/she proceeds further. So, it is important to make options to reach out for assistance visible/accessible across website/app at prominent locations – be it quick forms, phone, live chat or links to help guide, forum or FAQ section.

 

18. Progress Indicator - if yours is an ecommerce website or a site which demands users to go through multiple steps to accomplish a desired task, then it is highly important that you let the user know about the progress of the work, for which, progress indicator comes in handy.

 

 Image source: designmodo.com


For example – In many ecommerce sites, at every stage of check out process, the user is informed about the number of steps he still has to go through and he is also informed what is to be expected next.

 

19. Avoid Auto-play – Avoid auto-playing audios and videos. It amounts to bad user experience.

 

20. User Testing – Though there are certain tried and tested guidelines like the ones explained above to create a reasonably good UX design, there are no hard and fast rules to be followed to create a great UX design, because, it largely depends on user satisfaction. If your users are happy and absolutely satisfied using your website or app, what else matters?

  • Users’ perception and their contextual experience are two of key factors that ultimately decide whether a UX design is good or not – that is the reason why user testing becomes such an important thing to do in the UX design process.
  • User testing helps you to identify the gaps and improvise the design and it has to be done on a continuous basis as there is always scope for improvement.
  • Sometimes, even your users may not know that adding a particular feature or making a specific change could make user experience even better. Offering something better/great unexpectedly, obviously, increases user satisfaction manifold.

 

  • At the end of the day, your users’ perception and experience matter – they have the final word on the effectiveness of your UX design. Some of the user testing methods which are commonly used are Focus Groups, Beta-Testing, Remote User Testing, Tree Testing and User Diaries.   

Have something to say on UX? Do you have any suggestions or tips to share? Please feel free to post your views in the comment section below.

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