How do web developers ensure the performance and user experience of their websites?

In the modern digital world, designing a website may seem a routine every skilled developer is capable of. It may sound true, especially knowing that 175 new sites are created every minute. A website remains an ever-lasting marketing tool that generates web traffic and converts it into leads and, consequently, customers. However, many websites fail to provide the expected conversion rate. Why does it happen, and how to improve it?

The crucial truth is that web development should reach far beyond nice design. It involves a smart synergy between the information conveyed, the technical capabilities, and the emotional responses of users. You can construct a website that will organically grow your business only by finding a proper balance between user experience and website usability. Or you can do digital marketing course to increase your website presence. Let’s delve deeper into it to learn how to embrace all vital elements during a web development process.

Understanding the connection between website performance and UX  

Website performance is not only its loading speed. It also encompasses its usability, interactivity, and reliability. These are also known as site KPIs and are often measurable. A well-performing website can significantly enhance the brand’s reputation and encourage visitors to spend more time on the site. Moreover, high-performance metrics can contribute to the website achieving a higher ranking in search engine results pages (SERP).

Website performance is the first thing visitors evaluate upon entering a website. It influences their decisions to interact or make a purchase and plays a pivotal role in shaping their first impression. This website impression they form after the interaction is UX or user experience that significantly affects KPI indicators. UX metrics are very difficult to measure as they have a subjective nature and can be tracked only through an elaborate campaign.

Best practices to optimize website performance and enhance UX

It is obvious that the key task of a web developer is to offer a website a visitor will find usable, credible and accessible. Modern customers are fast and picky, and brands must catch up with their demands not to lose them to their competitors. This user-centric approach demands continuous optimization of even the most successful websites. Here are some tried-and-tested practices that will enhance the UX of a website.

Optimize the loading speed of all pages. 

It is not a secret that customers are typically not ready to wait more than 3 seconds for a page to load. But how to ensure the delivery of interactive content with no delays? These tips may considerably speed up things:

  • optimize images and bulky media files by minimizing their size;
  • reduce HTTP requests through CSS sprites;
  • use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to cache.

Every minute you win in page loading speed is a step forward for your potential customers.

Follow standard navigation rules. 

Even if creativity is your bargaining chip, there are some unwritten design rules to adhere to. Customers anticipate to easily find information during their initial visit to a website. User-friendly interface is crucial to simplify the interaction with the content. There is no need to reinvent the wheel when crafting user experience. It is enough to follow well-established UX design principles that proved to be successful. Here are some suggestions:

  • Incorporate a functional search bar in a visible place.
  • Include a convenient contact option;
  • Add a “back-to-top” scroll option for lengthy pages;
  • Integrate a call-to-action (CTA) button on all pages;
  • Make your menu easily accessible and well-categorized;
  • Add a footer navigation bar with contacts, links and other important information.

To better understand how to optimize the navigation of your website, look at it through the eyes of an average customer. Every user anticipates finding particular information instantly. With this user behavior in mind, you will instinctively know what needs to be improved.

Keep the website mobile-friendly. 

With the majority of Internet users using mobile devices to search for information online, it is a must for a website to correctly display on all types of screens. A responsive layout will allow a website to adapt relevantly to all sizes of screens. Still, when it comes to a mobile version, here are a few basic hints to follow:

  • Declutter website design. A mobile version must be simplified – allow to open a menu in one click, avoid lengthy texts, compress your images and host videos with third parties.
  • Avoid Flash. It is seldom compatible with mobile phones or slows down page loading time. Instead, opt for CSS or JavaScript animations to make a mobile version interactive.
  • Eliminate pop-ups. Users usually struggle to exit pop-up windows on mobile screens, so it is better to get rid of them in a mobile version.

Sometimes, it is more appropriate to create a mobile application for your mobile audience, but it does not cancel the necessity for a website to be mobile-friendly.

Regularly update your content. 

Helpful content has more chances of being read. Only high-quality and relevant materials will make visitors return for a new portion of information. The right content adds value to a brand, cultivates loyal customers and influences conversion. How to encourage website visitors to read more of what you publish?

  • Use SEO optimization.  SEO tools will optimize your content to rank higher in search results. Such practices as appropriate title tags, meta descriptions, and alt texts, as well as a regular technical SEO audit, will boost your ranking. Besides, internal linking will draw users to other website pages.
  • Run a blog. Such a space is great for partnering with other high-ranking content sources and building an audience.
  • Visuals are important. A picture can tell a thousand words. Professional websites always come with images, graphics and icons.

To better understand what new content your audience would like to see – conduct on-site surveys, run customer interviews, and create communities on social media networks to receive more feedback.

Focus on readability. 

This feature reflects how easily users can perceive content. It includes clarity of design and text and the ability to make conclusions based on it. Over the years, users have become more impatient, and the average attention span sharply decreased. Today, a website visitor spends no more than 15 seconds to look through the content. So, it is necessary to increase the likelihood that users will follow the actions a website intends them to take. These steps will be helpful.

  • Use typography wisely. Make your texts distinct and well-structured. Opt for web-friendly fonts and use larger font sizes – 16 pixels and more.
  • Avoid too complicated wording. Simple language will make your content understandable to all readers – use clear words and short sentences.
  • Use images, data, maps, break the text. Visuals always attract more attention than descriptions. Besides, with the right picture, you will be able to highlight some parts of the text.

A high readability score allows users to skim through the content and absorb the information with minimal effort.

Constantly evaluate website performance and UX.

All efforts are useless without measuring the UX effectiveness of a website. Here are some techniques to use for this purpose.

  • Heatmaps. This analytical tool allows you to observe users’ actions on your website by employing a color-coded system. It displays data that show where users click, identify which areas of the webpage they engage with the most, and determine how far they scroll down. Heatmap also pinpoints areas that require improvement, allowing you to implement straightforward strategies for enhancement.
  • Surveys and feedback analysis. Another powerful approach to evaluating website performance and UX is market research. Reaching out to your existing customers and requesting their UX feedback is valuable. You can distribute a questionnaire via email or conduct interviews and encourage them to share their opinions. In case you’re lacking any emails, you can use a LinkedIn email finder to identity necessary contacts. Received data will enable you to analyze every facet of your website. Take note of key areas where improvements may be needed.
  • A/B testing. This method enables you to generate multiple variations of the same web page for testing purposes. You can assess elements such as layout, fonts, call-to-action buttons, headings, color schemes, and various others. Then, you can analyze results and determine which version of the web page garnered greater interaction and displayed superior performance.  A/B testing provides deep insights into your users’ preferences, allowing you to learn what web page offers an enhanced user experience based on their feedback.

Wrapping Up

Building a website today is much easier than it was a decade ago. However, despite an abundance of tools and strategies, it remains a tedious task. In today’s environment, where user expectations are growing, and patience levels are decreasing, website performance and UX are priorities for brands that aim to increase sales and ROI. So, it is essential for web developers to make an accent on website performance and UX optimization if they want to achieve these goals.

Written by
Svetlana Shevchuk

Digital Marketing Specialist at YouTeam, a Y Combinator-backed marketplace for building remote dev teams.

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