Chris Owen

Written by Chris Owen

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Have I got a UX problem?

Considering whether you have a UX problem is like questioning the meaning of life as although it's possible to plump for a healthy bit of guesswork combined with a liberal sprinkling of scientific facts, the truth is, you're never going to really know until you really try to see things from the point of view of your users.

Never the less, there are plenty of ways to help you improve on your current position and untangle UX issues that may be hampering your site's performance if UX isn't your forte

The 15 questions below are great starting points for addressing whether or not you have a UX problem. Ask them openly and answer them honestly and woe betide the product provider or service offerer who insists that they've stumbled upon a 100% guarantee that their UX is beyond reproach.

Question one: what's the age of my website? As Arsene Wenger's finding out, things change and although you might be happy with your site, there are plenty of competitors who will be taking advantage of more up-to-date UX-friendly versions. Basically, UX is still the new kid on the digital marketing block and if your website is older than three years then chances are it won't be equipped from a UX perspective.

Question two: does my website reflect my business? Check out this previous blog post on best converting landing pages before asking yourself whether your site can be visually understood in a five second window. UX is in the instant eye of the beholder so don't take anything for granted when it comes to the rules of attraction.

Question three: are there any annoying apps or features on my site? If you're featuring animation or images that deflect from the one true intention of your landing page - to sell - then this may well be a UX problem waiting to happen.

Question four: are we a mobile-optimised site? No longer a choice. Your site should sing to mobile users without requiring them to do anything other than understand what you're offering in the easiest and least convoluted way possible. Also, the great god Google don't like sites that don't like mobiles.

Question five: is my website's content written for a niche audience? Your website should not be a vanity project so kick out the boss – even if you are the boss – chat to your core target market and write for the people that matter, not the people with the ego.

Question six: is my site up to speed? Seriously slow equals serious abandonment and it's estimated that you've got a maximum time limit of three seconds before a visitor decides to go elsewhere. Make sure your site is ready to lock, load and fire as stressed in this Kissmetrics report on loading times.

Question seven: where did we get images from? Relevant images and original photographs complement great content. Find out more via info graphic convert Jeff Bulla's blog. You need to have quality as well as relevancy so don't just stick any old stock photo on a page and expect it not to result in a UX problem. Actual people, environments and activities that make up your business help to create an authentic identity which works infinitely better than cheesy stock images that just look like you're trying to pull the wool over.

Question eight: how easy is it to sign up to your services? You know yourself how a lengthy, time consuming and, ultimately, tedious, online form can be a turn off, right? So why put potential customers through the same process just to be able to apply for what you're selling? Short, sharp and rewarding should best describe your sign up forms with social media sign ups far more preferable to old fashioned and less interactive alternatives. Show customers your social side as soon as possible, don't put them off before you've even met. Read more in this PDF on social engagement.

Question nine: how are the old pop ups coming along? New visitors don't like pop ups in fact, pop ups put people in the mood for a bit of a shout. Use pop ups with caution with existing customers and certainly avoid them with regards to anyone visiting your site for the first time. Music or a voice over announcement, also, unless super relevant, are massive no nos.

Question ten: captcha forms are fine though, right? How do you feel about captcha forms? Happy? Excited? Converted? No, thought not. Captcha forms are to conversion rates what Pres Trump is to hair care products. Death. Don't take my word for it – check out this Moz post on captcha forms ability to kill conversion rates.

Question eleven: is it easy to contact your site directly? Although contact forms can be fine for data collection, email addresses and such, there needs to be more ways that your potential customers can easily get in touch with you via your website. People have preferred communication channels so make sure you're open to emails, phone calls and social media methods.

Question twelve: is your site consistent in its approach to communicating with customers? How you write, what you write, your branding, your tone of voice should all be consistent with what your business stands for, basically, your identity.

Question thirteen: can your user interface be called intuitive? Visitors to your site need to know where to go and what to do upon arrival. Apps and websites shouldn't have to come with instruction manuals; they should be obvious, easy to navigate, intuitive to customer needs. If not then you're looking at a sure fire UX problem.

Question fourteen: how are your conversion rates? If your site isn't generating enquiries and positive responses e.g. signing up to your newsletter, downloading your latest 'how to' video etc. then find out where you might have a UX problem before blaming something else.

Question fifteen: does your site evoke negativity? If you're constantly being left negative feedback or the same sorts of cries for help then don't ignore it, address the issues and in so doing you might well uncover a UX problem is at the root of all that negativity.

Basically, UX problems will usually stem from a lack of communication with the actual people who are using your site. Ask them questions, take on-board feedback and do some professional user testing to ensure you keep UX problems at bay, before it's too late.