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As a publisher or an Affiliate Marketer, your website is integral to where you generate your money. And this is why you should think with design beyond just the functionality. It plays an important role, especially where it has the power to influence conversions or purchases on your site. Therefore, you must create a good user experience on the site. And this is where UX (User Experience) comes in.
What is UX design?
It is a user experience design which involves many theories from interaction design, visual design and usability, however the goal of its to improve the user satisfaction through the process of designing digital products that are seamless and enjoyable to interact with. It’s an approach to design that takes into account how the digital product interacts with the user, not just the function and beauty but also how does it inspire positive emotions.
According to Tomer Sharon, Managing Director, Head of User Research and Metrics at Goldman Sachs; “UX design is the art and science of generating positive emotions among people who interact with products or services.”
Why is it essential for your website?
Especially in 2021, customer is king and the driving force behind business developments. In today’s competitive environment, it’s been generally agreed that an effective UX design aligns with better conversions.
To put it into summary, UX is important to boost your sales.
Our tip: Often novice marketers, publishers and affiliates design their website based on what’s functional. That’s the wrong approach, it should be based on your target audience, and not your assumptions. Therefore, the better you design for them, the more willing they are to buy on your site. This is why user testing will help you tremendously. This is why it’s important to think about the broadest possible appeal for your target audience, when designing the User Interface.
What is User Interface (UI)?
User Interface (UI) can be best described as a complement to User Experience (the conglomeration of activities which ultimately looks to optimise the experience). UI is the aesthetics, the look and feel and interactivity of the website or app. It’s trying to make the product organically intuitive, and can think about anything from the buttons, the colour palette, the typography, sound effects and so on. It’s about being responsive, consistent and pleasing. The main element is understanding the correlation between psychology and how colour, shapes and typography can impact it. This is great and rewarding when it focuses on solving problems, removing friction, understanding motivations and removing pain points and often done in combination with UX.
Often people mix UX and UI, although some things overlap such as being aware of user needs, using design thinking principles to help design digital product, the main difference is that UX focuses on wireframe, the navigability, user research and guide, and UI is more about the animation, interactivity, the graphic development, the colours and shapes.
11 Actionable UX design tips for affiliates and publishers.
So how you start? How do you make your site better than it is now, and more useful and delightful for your users? Whilst we emphasise, focus on your own testing methods to find out works for your target audience, here are some actionable steps you can implement to start your testing activities.
1. Information hierarchy
Put the most important messages near the top, and as you go down each of the messages should align with how the users are thinking. So that users can take the next step of action without thinking. This increases the stickiness on the page. It is also important to think about organising the content in such a way that it follows natural eye movements. There are many hierarchy principles and we must think visual first, as the human eye perceives information visually and so we must understand our eyes natural tendencies. Ensure you use contrasting colours to catch the eye more than other less important information.
2. Avoid dead-end landing pages
Every single page has an objective and should naturally lead or propel the users to take another step in their journey to conversion or any other goal that is part of your objective. You need to ensure you place Call To Actions (CTA) naturally in the right place, or links to other parts of relevant sites. Depending on what is ultimately relevant with the user at this point in the journey you should tailor it towards their natural behaviour but also inspire actions with design.
3. Tailor for those short of time
Majority of the profits come from returning visitors, customers or even those who just know what they want and have done their research already. You need to facilitate the UX so that they can easily make purchase without navigating through a series of content or pages to help them make that decision. Chances are that will annoy them and may potentially lose them. Therefore, give that option for those who want to buy to streamline the process, whether through bold colours and buttons or reducing steps in purchasing.
4. Make clickable elements less clickable.
What we mean by this, is to make anything clickable require less clicks and easier for users to take the next step without taking the next step. It could be that someone hovers their mouse over a product and they can see details or products in different settings without clicking on it, or they can see a quick view of product details and make purchasing reducing the number of clicks to get there.
5. Will a sticky navigation help?
It could be a sticky header, a left or right panel or floating button that follows user where they are on the page. Sometimes it works and sometimes it doesn’t, but from a UX perspective it can help users navigate or reach certain objectives or destinations on the site easily. When done wrong however, it can put off users. It generally helps as it means less scrolling for them (so you are making the website do the work for them).
6. Remove carousels if you have them.
Generally, carousels are ineffective, they have a Click Rate of around 1% as it contains multiple information which can be perplexing for users. It’s best to keep it static with a single message. When thinking about the banner or above the fold design and message think about what is the main message which will resonate users who have landing on this page. If you have an engaging, well thought out design. It is likely to attract clicks.
7. Implement breadcrumb trails
They are an important navigational elements which assists wayfinding (the ways in which people orient themselves and navigate from place to place). When done well, users know where they are in their current location in comparison to the rest of the structure of the website. They are not a navigation bar and are not useful for websites that have a flat hierarchy (i.e. 1-2 levels deep). They can be in the form of links which show parent and child pages or even a trail of links. For example: Product category > Product niche > product type. It can also supplement main navigation bars, which stretches information to include local navigation. All of this is designed to help users know where they are on the site web.
8. Page speed is so important
This has a massive impact on how users perceive you and their satisfaction. I’m sure you had that experience, where you are looking for information online and as soon you click or tap the link, the page is taking forever to load. You grow frustrated and leave the page. You don’t want the same for your users. A general rule of thumb; a minimum of 10 second delay will put off users, a 1 second user keeps a good user flow (even they notice a slight delay) and a 0.1 seconds is perfect, it feels instantaneous. Ensure your page speed is good using sites such as Pingdom to check how fast the page loads. This also contributes to your Google ranking factor, so it’s necessary to ensure you check and correct what’s slowing down your site if anything is.
9. Make important information stand out
Your users usually scan the page and read in detail what resonates, what’s salient or what’s relevant. Therefore, using prominent elements, contrasting effects or bold colours or typefaces will help attract attention and draw the user to pause and read or watch. Ensure what you make prominent is useful, valuable information or information that is highly relevant to your users.
10. Create appealing CTA’s.
Pages with strong CTA;s generate more conversions that weak ones. So, think about how to make the CTA’s appealing. Are they simple, prominent and personal – it needs to relate to the users at a glance and then can instantly click on it and perform a desired action without much thinking. It can be designed in such a way to attract clicks even if it’s not completely natural or intuitive to their next step in their journey. For example it could create urgency such as “Limited time offer”, “15% discount today only”. It could also offer solutions to any pain points i.e. “The best way to beat insomnia” or “The best selling fragrances”. These will trigger the urge to click on the CTA. We also advise to keep to one important CTA per page.
11. Don’t overload your website with images and graphics.
This can be a detriment to your website, as often it overuses bandwidth and therefore, means the graphics loads very slowly for people with poorer connections or download speeds. Plus, sometimes the graphics fail to load at all looking like a lacklustre website. Plus, the search engine spiders don’t always index sites that use Flash especially where users may not be using Flash compatible software and very unlikely they will download a new plugin just to see the website. And lastly, it makes for poor UX due to poor navigation. When there are too many graphics or designs, it can confuse the users and this is why simplicity is key to help users navigate.
The impact of UX on your design is the determiner of how successful your affiliate business will be. You may have an amazing campaign from developing attractive display ads, to interesting carousels on your Instagram, however if the landing pages and the rest of the website is designed poorly it leaves negative sentiments and worse, no returning visitors. Therefore, our advice is to reflect on whether you have the right skills and abilities to develop a create UX with appealing UI for your users which will aid conversions or do you need to hire someone?
UX takes time and usually involves a series of iterative steps, to find our what is working and what isn’t to see who things can be enhanced or improved. We hope the above tips are useful and by implementing some of these, you will see a boost in your conversions or returning visitors!