The user journey comprises of the series of steps a given user must take in order to achieve their goal on your website.
This journey can sometimes prove frustrating, or even make it difficult for them to fulfil the task they came to do.
While it is no business owners’ intention to frustrate their users, sometimes the lack of experience in web design can result in slowing them down and making tasks more difficult than they need to be.
How can you improve the user journey?
So how can you, as a webmaster and business owner, start to improve the user journey on your own site?
Finding out how well things currently work or don’t work, is the first step in making improvements.
To do this it is important to know who your users are and what they come to your site to do.
Create persona profiles of people visiting the website.
These are akin to profiles of your users and the goals and emotions they may have when visiting your website.
Using the personas, walk through the user journey as it currently exists on your website and map out the steps required to achieve that persona’s goal.
This might be an account holder wishing to change their payment card details, for example.
This process is done for all the personas.
Eventually, you will have a full picture of how easy and effective it is for your users to accomplish what they have set out to do on your website.
This will reveal any particular pain points or areas in which you can improve the user journey.
You will then be able to work with developers and designers to find realistic ways of implementing the improvements.
Fully armed with the lowdown on how well your site’s user experience is currently performing, you will be in a position to begin refining the site.
The place to start considering improvements is the page on which the user first enters the website, this is known as the landing page.
This might not always be the home page, and it might not be the same for every user.
For each of the persona’s user journeys that you have mapped out, you need to pay attention to where that user begins their journey.
This is where good design can be utilised to assist your user.
Always ensure that the action your user needs to take is clear and easily identifiable.
Embellishing the page with unnecessary visual elements can increase the time and frustration for the user in taking the next step in their journey.
So, make it simple and spell it out for them so they know what to do next.
As the journey may take the user from page to page, ensure that the menu options are clear on all the pages they will need to interact with.
You will be able to use the journey maps you created earlier to gain insight into any parts of the journey where the user might struggle in finding their way so you can address them directly.
Always ensure that the user has options to course-correct, without going back to the beginning if they stray off course.
Ensure help is available for your user along their journey
It is not possible to prevent every single user from ever getting stuck or having a question.
Making sure that the user has easy access to a help facility can go a long way in rescuing them from a frustrating situation that could otherwise cause them to leave your website.
This can be achieved with tooltips to explain actions as they hover around the page and with a clearly labelled ‘Help’ or ‘FAQs’ page accessible from everywhere on your website.
With these simple tips, you can start improving the user experience of your website and get a better return of value on your website.