A corporate website needs to offer simple functionality, as well as innovative design that reflects the brand narrative accurately. Juggling these elements, amongst many others, is a difficult task. But ultimately, it all boils down to one thing: user experience. Here, Luke Dodd, Global Digital Specialist at FTSE 100 mining company Anglo American, shares some tips on refining your user experience strategy.
Half a second. A blink of an eye.
That’s how long it takes for someone to form an opinion of your website. It is a matter of milliseconds, and is essentially instantaneous.
However, while this first impression is important to get right – features such as homepage design are critical for this – it’s what follows, the user experience and user journey, that really is make or break for your corporate website.
As Global Digital Specialist for Anglo American, a key responsibility of my role is to ensure that user experience is strong across our digital estate.
But to talk about user experience, it is important to first define what we mean by it.
For me, user experience is the overall experience and satisfaction a visitor has when navigating through your website – therefore, good user experience is where your website has met the exact needs of your user, simply and efficiently.
Sounds simple, but remember, the users that visit your corporate website will all vary in ability and what they are looking for. But they all have one thing in common: they want answers, and quickly.
And those answers are borne from a user’s expectation of your website. By establishing who your key audience groups are [for example, students, NGOs, job-seekers etc…], you can quickly find out what they expect to achieve when visiting your site.
In the spirit of good user experience, I am going to present the remainder of this article in bullet points and lists – providing you guys with ‘quick answers’:
6 questions to test if your website offers good user experience
- Does your content provide your users with the information they are looking for?
- Are users able to easily use all functionality of your website
- Are images and design used to tell your brand story on your website?
- Can users find the content they need simply when they need it?
- Is content accessible to all across all platforms, devices and abilities?
- Is your website reputable?
If you answered ‘yes’ to all of these questions, in my opinion your website offers good user experience. If you answered ‘no’ to any questions, this may be an area to foc
3 top tips to correct inadequate user experience
- Gather feedback on your website
Get as much intelligence as you can from your users. Set up user research groups, conduct website surveys and internal interviews with key stakeholders – and then filter through the responses and decide what action is required.
It may be tempting to steam ahead and make changes immediately, but consider all feedback carefully and see how it all fits together before taking action.
- Try new [and old] things
If you feel something isn’t working on your website, or it feels clunky to use, try a different approach – whether it is a brand new approach, or a method previously overlooked.
For example, a recent tweak we made was to our website’s navigation. We had introduced a burger menu to the desktop version – but following feedback from both internal and external sources, it was clear that our users were finding it hard to use.
We made the executive decision to move to a dropdown meganav and make all three levels of navigation visible in one glance. This could be seen as a step-back in terms of the evolution of digital navigation when compared to a burger menu, however, it doesn’t matter how swish a new tool is if it doesn’t meet our users’ requirements.
- Audit and correct
We perform an annual audit of content and user experience across all of our websites, which occur in tandem with major content updates that align to our results and reporting cycles.
In these audits, we reflect upon the purpose of each section and what they mean to our key audiences, while using analytics to help us figure out what needs to be improved/changed.