Try to recall a moment when you were visiting a webpage and got frustrated when it didn’t do what you expected it to do. It sucked, didn’t it? Consumers go through these frustrations daily; both online and in real life.
There is nothing more frustrating to a consumer than to click on an ad they are interested in and get directed to an overly complicated, difficult to use landing page. People have extremely short attention spans and even shorter patience levels; if they can’t easily see and access what was promised, they will look elsewhere.
Why does this matter? It matters because it means that the difference between having a landing page designed with user experience in mind vs. one without, can largely impact how successful your page is in attracting conversions. It means the difference between a good and bad first impression of your brand, and that is major.
SEO, copy, and your ultimate offer are all very important; but if the user experience of your landing page is poor, your brilliant copy and amazing offer will quickly decrease in value and importance.
So, if you’re wondering why you’re still seeing a high bounce rate on your mega-beautiful landing page, keep reading.
Let’s start off by pointing out the difference between user experience (UX) and user interface design (UI). UI is what makes your page attractive and easy on the eyes; fonts, colours, icons etc.
Your landing page can be beautifully designed but still be absolutely painful for the visitor to navigate.
UX is what you get when you strip away all the UI. It is the crux where people, business and technology meet. Does everything work? Do the icons make sense? Are your intentions clear and easily found?
A UX-friendly landing page will make the user feel comfortable, pleased, and eager to purchase, which in turn ultimately leads to more revenue for you.
In an ideal world user experience would meet the exact functionality needs of each individual user, but in a realistic world, we want to try and get as close to this idealism as possible for our target group of users.
So, what exactly does good UX mean or look like when you’re creating your landing pages? Here are some primary guidelines you can follow to help get you started:
1. CREATE A USER PERSONA
Always create a user persona for your product or service before you create a landing page design or write copy. This persona will serve as your holy grail when designing the functionality of your landing pages. You cannot design your landing page for just anyone, because your offer won’t appeal to everyone.
A B2B company’s landing page targeting top level managers will look much different than a B2C’s targeting everyday consumers.
2. BECOME THE USER PERSONA
The next step is to really put yourself in the shoes of your ideal user. Ask yourself what information needs to be presented to communicate your key offer or message.
Why is the user landing on this page?
What brought them here?
What are they looking for?
What is the best way to convey my message?
It is important to understand how and why your user may arrive at your page so that you can present them with the information they are looking for in a way that will be useful to them.
Thinking about what might make your user sign up for your service, or convert on your offer, gives you a good base of information to test out (we’ll get to testing later).
3. SKETCH IT OUT
Once you have a user persona, the next step isn’t jumping into graphic design (as tempting as it may be). The next step should be conceptualizing a landing page’s layout and functionality with your user and end goal in mind.
Sketch it out, seriously; take a pen to paper and draw out a few options of what your landing page could look like. This step will help you lay out the “path” or blueprint of your page for testing.
Where will the form go?
Where will you place your CTA (call-to-action)?
Where will you place icons and logos?
Where will you put your social proof and trust credentials?
This is both an art and a science with no definitive answers, which is why testing will be very important.
4. STOP USING NAVIGATION
Landing pages should not have any navigation; this leaves too many doors open for the user to stray away from your main call to action (the task you want them to complete).
Don’t overwhelm your user with too many options when there is only one primary action you want your user to. Make ONLY this action available to them (e.g. “Download Your Free EBook”.)
Avoid distractions; the only goal of a landing page is to offer the user what was promised in the ad, and the only important task is getting them to convert. Make it really easy for your visitor to do just that.
Remove the navigational menu from your landing pages! Don’t give users the option of making a decision other than the one you want them to make.
5. SCENT IS IMPORTANT
A good UX means that the landing page is relevant to the user and where they are coming from. Depending on the medium the user arrives from, you want to make sure that the page is tweaked to be relevant to them. Ensure that the “scent” follows the user.
For example, if you are running separate campaigns on Facebook and AdWords, don’t send them both to the same general “fill me out and click submit” landing page – this is likely not what your user is expecting or looking for.
6. DON’T ASSUME, LABEL
Always use labels; they draw on a user’s existing contextual understanding to help describe and navigate content, set expectations and enable actions.
Make sure your buttons, CTA’s and links are all recognizable (instantly). Use familiar labels and wording. If the user isn’t sure what your icons mean or where to click they will leave.
Keep it simple, stupid!
Keep it clean and simple. As we mentioned before, fancy designs don’t produce results if your brand isn’t conveyed properly. You are not trying to impress your users with your graphic design skills, you are trying to pave them a yellow brick road to conversion. Be helpful, not impressive.
Stick with one CTA; too many choices increase the risk of the user not doing anything at all.
8. FORMS ARE IMPORTANT
Create UX friendly forms. Forms are where you collect all relevant information you need about your leads. If your form isn’t self-explanatory and simple to fill out, the value of your leads are going to be poor.
Make sure you’re asking for as little information as possible. When creating new form fields, ask yourself if this is a piece of information you really need; if the answer is no, remove it. The last thing you want to do is annoy your user with too many steps or question overload.
If you’re using a multi-step form, use some sort of indicator to let your users know how close they are to being complete. Users get discouraged and often abandon forms if they feel like there are too many steps left.
9. TEST, TEST, TEST
A/B tests will allow you to test layouts, CTA’s, form placement etc. using your sketches from Step 3. The best user experiences are designed through testing and keeping track of how your users prefer to use your page.
In many real life scenarios, the way something is designed is not always the way a user prefers to use and experience it. Always test to see how YOUR specific users prefer to navigate.
Only test one variable at a time. For example, only test changing the form placement. If you try to test too many factors at once, you will not be able to conclusively pinpoint what lead to an increase in conversions in one version versus another.
Based on the statistically significant results of your tests (a.k.a which versions lead to more conversions), you will be able to use the winning variation from one test as a base to continue testing other factors.
Always put user experience first – you are trying to appeal to them, not to yourself.
The main thing to keep in mind is that you are building your landing page for your users, to show them how your offer will benefit them. If your landing page isn’t helpful or pleasant; the user is bound to have the same impression of your brand and will probably look elsewhere.
These 9 tips are a great place to start when thinking about how you can optimize your landing pages for UX. Remember – your offer is useless if the user doesn’t understand it or cannot find it.
Whether you need help building out new user experience-friendly landing pages, or want to refresh your existing ones, Ravenshoe is always here to help guide you.