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A Marketer’s Guide to Optimizing UX for Better Conversion

July 5, 2017

6 Min Read
Reading Time: 6 minutes

Conversion is one of the most important metric for any online business. Conversion could be defined as the number of products sold, the number of subscribers or the users who signed up for a product or service trail. Regardless of the differences in the definition, all businesses strive to improve and grow the conversion rate.

UX and conversion optimization guide

According to industry pundits, conversion rate is the most important factor in measuring the success of their efforts.

There are many factors that affect the conversion rate, and these factors differ from website to website and business to business. However, all these factors can be boiled down to a single element, User Experience.

Correlation of UX and Conversion

User Experience (UX) is defined as how a person feels when interacting with a system, product, service, website, software, or web or mobile application.

A pretty standard definition of UX (by ISO) is: “a person’s perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service”

In case of a website, UX is the result of user’s interaction with different elements, including design, content and information architecture. Since UX encompasses all the elements of a website, it is obvious that it has a significant impact on the conversion rate.

To give you an idea of how UX impacts the overall conversion rates, I would like to mention what we did here at Cloudways. In particular, we carried out three major actions:

Extensive modification to the content on the home page and various landing pages

A complete revamp of color theme of the website and the Platform

Implementation of various CTA and links to landing pages at the points where potential customers spend the bulk of their on-site time.

cloudways platform

The result was a very noticeable increase in the Cloudways NPS score (60%). This helped us gain new customers who were very satisfied with the changes we made to the UX elements of the website and the platform.

To understand how UX impacts conversion, first you must understand which aspects of a website impact the UX. This is where the UX Honeycomb Model comes into play.

UX Honeycomb Model

UX Honeycomb Model illustrates the various aspects of a website that you must optimize in order to improve the UX of the website. This model was created by Peter Morville, an information architect who has worked for Google.

The Honeycomb Model is based on the Three Circles of Information Architecture that represent the relationship between context, content and users in the sphere of business’s goals.

To translate this principle in the context of UX design, Honeycomb Model is used to illustrate the seven aspects of UX.

ux honeycomb model

Useful: The system or product must be useful to the users, and should serve the purpose for which it was created.

Usability: The system or product must be simple and easy to use.

Desirable: The design elements of a system or product must evoke positive emotions and appreciation from the users, making the use of the product or system a pleasant experience.

Accessible: The product or system must be accessible to everyone. Even those with disabilities must be able to have a similar user experience.

Credible: According to Web Credibility Project, design elements may influence user’s trust on the product or system. Therefore, a product or system must be presented in a way that the users find believable and/or trustworthy.

Findable: The website must be structured in a way that it is easy for user to navigate and find the solution they are looking for.

Valuable: The product or system must deliver the promised value to the end users.

The purpose of Honeycomb model is to help designers find the right balance between context, content and users, determine the required trade-offs and prioritize aspect of UX design.

Using Honeycomb Model to Improve UX and Conversion

Let’s see how we can use this model to improve the conversion rate by optimizing the UX of a website.

Improve Usability by Improving Page Load Time

Page load time is perhaps the most important usability factor for end users. If a web page takes too long to load, user won’t be able to use it at all.

In addition to usability, page load time is also a search ranking signal used by Google, which means it affects your website’s visibility in Google SERP as well. Hence, page load time not only affects usability, but also the acquisition, and thus the conversion rate of your website.

“A 10-second delay will often make users leave a site immediately…[ ]….Even a few seconds’ delay is enough to create an unpleasant user experience.”

– Jakob Nielsen – Website Response Times

Walmart realized that their item pages were taking 24 seconds to load for some users. They decide to do something about. They found out that for every 1 second decrease in the load time, there was a 2% increase in the conversion of the page. The conversion rate was highest for users with load time between 1-2 seconds.

walmart load time and conversion testing

So, it is obvious now that page load time does improve conversion. But how quickly a page should load? What is the ideal load time? Here is what Maile Ohye of Google has to say:

“2 seconds is the threshold for ecommerce website acceptability. At Google, we aim for under a half second.”

So, how can you improve page load time? Google has a nice little tool to help you out. You can enter your web page URL in Google Page Speed Insight Tool and it will suggest you fixes to improve the load time.

You could also improve page load time by enabling CDN and caching on your website.

If your server response time is slow, then the problem could be with your hosting provide. At Cloudways, our users enjoy around 300ms server response time, which is slightly higher than the Google’s recommendation. This is due to our performance optimized stack that includes Varnish, Memcached and Redis cache. If you want to get a taste of fast performance and managed servers, you can sign up for a 3-days free trial.

Improve Desirability and Credibility by Content Tweaks

A common misconception about UX is that it relates only to graphical elements of the website design. In reality, content plays an equally important role in determining the UX of a website.

For example, how could you contact a vendor when there is no contact information on their website? Would you trust a website with sloppy content that looks like it was translated using Google Translate?

According to Adobe, “38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive.” Similarly, KoMarketing has found that: “47% of website visitors check out a company’s products/services page before looking at any other sections of the site.”

There is no doubt that content does affect desirability and credibility of your product, and both of them are important aspects of UX.

When it comes to optimizing content for UX, there are three things you need to tweak.

Legibility is all about how easily readers are able to recognize and read the fonts of your website. This means that you should pay attention to the typography of the website.

Readability is concerned with the complexity and structure of the sentences. This also means using less jargon and complicated structures. A common standard is to make sure that your content is easy to read for a highschool student.

Comprehension of the message is equally important for conversion rates. IF the user is unable to comprehend your message, they will not take the intended action.

changing headline content improved conversion

Wilson HTM was able to improve their conversion by 52.8% by improving their headlines and subheadings. They opted for large enough font size and clean typeface (legibility), words and terms that their users were familiar with (readability), and a clearly defined message (comprehension). The variations in headlines made their service more desirable and credible by mentioning an ROI percentage in the content.

In the End

User experience is not a static or standalone part of the website. In fact, it is an ongoing process that requires you to handle content and graphical elements simultaneously. By constantly tweaking all elements of the website design, you could actually see a quantifiable jump in the conversion rates of your website.

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