Websites live or die based on their usability and user experience (UX). Since almost all websites are self-serve (some offer live chat for help), users are expected to find what they need without assistance. If users arriving at your website quickly learn what you’re offering and easily discern what step to take next – your website has great usability.

However, if you have a high bounce rate and/or it’s hard for visitors to either figure out what you’re offering or to determine what to do next, your usability is low. Luckily, many options exist to improve user experience.

The first step is to observe how users interact with your website. If possible, form a focus group and either watch what they do on their own or assign a few common tasks and see how quickly they can complete them. After you observe their actions, either question them about why they did things a certain way and/or work with your marketing team to figure out why. In some cases, you may learn that it’s a simple fix, such as a broken link. It may be a language barrier – they’re looking for “shopping cart” and you have the icon labelled “your items.”

More often than not the changes necessary come down to your page layout and the wording on the page. You need to have an attractive website, but without too much going on to compete for visitors’ attention. You also need to use clear, concise language – both to explain what you’re offering and to help them figure out where to go next.

Once you’ve implemented some corrective actions, try to set up another focus group and see if times to complete actions increase and/or tasks are completed with more ease.

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