User Experience

This post about user experience goes hand-in-hand with a previous post I wrote about user intent. Once you know your audience and figure out what they need and when, you need to create the content on your website in a meaningful way. According to usability.gov,

User experience (UX) focuses on having a deep understanding of users, what they need, what they value, their abilities, and also their limitations.  It also takes into account the business goals and objectives of the group managing the project. UX best practices promote improving the quality of the user’s interaction with and perceptions of your product and any related services.

In order to achieve the University’s goal of attracting the best students and your department’s specific goals, the information you provide on your website must be useful (original and fulfilling a need), usable (easy to use), desirable (design elements are used to evoke emotion and appreciation), findable (navigable and locatable), accessible (to people with disabilities), and credible (believable).

Here are some tips to help provide the best user experience (from Crazy Egg’s “What is User Experience (UX)?).

  • Incorporate Consistent Branding: This is why we use a content management system for a lot of our websites. The overall brading, including the banner with the logo at the top, footer, colors, styling, etc. can be centrally maintained to provide that consistency across the University. Users will always know they are visiting a Michigan Tech website.
  • User Clear Calls to Action: What do you want the site visitors to do after visiting a particular page? Request information? Apply? Attend your event? Consider adding a button with action words to the page—give them that clear link to request the information, apply, or add the event to their calendar.
  • Create Content for Consumers: Provide the information that your audience is looking for at that point in time. Talk to and get information from prospective or current students or other audience members when they visit you in person and look at analytics from your site.

When it comes to measuring how well your pages are performing and whether you’ve provided a good user experience, it all comes back to the analytics. Within Google Analytics, we can look at a variety of key performance indicators (KPI) to support decisions and indicate success. 
These KPI analytics include 

  • Unique pageviews: How many people are looking at the page 
  • Sessions: How many times are users visiting the page
  • Session duration: How long are people staying on and interacting with the page
  • New users: Is the page generating new leads
  • Scroll depth tracking: Are users seeing all of the content
  • Unique conversion button clicks: Are the users completing the call to action

By getting to know your audience, figuring out what they need and when, providing the right content, and measuring its effectiveness, your website can become a valuable tool in helping your department meet its goals.

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