My favourite ideas for improving website user experience

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The Internet is the busiest marketplace in the world.

People are buying online every second, minute, hour of the day.

And they’re looking to buy products that are worth every penny.

But buying valuable product takes time and research.

So that’s why they read landing page copy to dig out the feature and benefits before buying that product management software.

And that’s also why we flip through Cosmopolitan reviews and compare prices before grabbing that handbag. 

From the moment they land on your website to the second they hit the ‘Add to Cart’ button, your users are interacting with your website in dozens of different ways.

These interactions form a part of what we call user experience.

Let’s start from the beginning: what is user experience?

What is user experience?

Website user experience is the overall feel and satisfaction you get while interacting with a website.

It’s about how easily your user can navigate, find information, and accomplish tasks on the site.

A positive website user experience should provide a smooth, fun interaction.

I whittled down a few ideas to help you brush up your website’s user experience:

Limit choice overload when possible

It’s tough to make a decision when you’re bombarded with too many options. 

Psychologists invented a name for this phenomenon. They call it choice overload. 

Perhaps bestselling author of Paradox of Choice Barry Schwartz puts it best:

“Learning to choose is hard. Learning to choose well is harder. And learning to choose well in a world of unlimited possibilities is harder still, perhaps too hard.”

Don’t make choosing hard for your users.

Limit choice overload with these straightforward design fixes:

Divide products by purpose

Category-based navigation works like a charm for many websites, but not all.

People don’t always see products in discrete categories, but rather in terms of end-goal.

Let me give an example:

When looking for a camera, your average customer might not know how to differentiate between mirrorless and DSLR cameras.

They’ll probably be more concerned about choosing a camera that suits their needs – for e.g. vlogging, filmmaking, landscape photography.

In a scenario like this, we could create two navigation sections: one where users can shop by category and another where they can shop by purpose. 

Let’s look at another example for good luck.

Texas-based retailer Spy Guy uses the same navigation style quite well on their website:

Spy Guy are well aware that people tend to buy surveillance equipment to deal with the concerns they have – concerns like preventing theft, recording instances of workplace harassment or watching the babysitter.

So they went ahead and added a convenient Shop by Concern feature.

This feature allows users to narrow down their product choices based on the specific concerns they have.

But they’ve also included a Shop by Category section for those users who have a better idea about what they want:

Sweet! Saves the user time and makes it easier for them to find what they’re looking for. 

Two birds, one stone.

Tag products with personalised recommendations

You’re the expert. You know your products and services inside and out, every nook and cranny, every pro and con. 

If anyone can lead your customers to greener pastures, it’s you. 

Help your customers make the best purchase decisions by giving your personalised product recommendations. 

Let’s create a scenario. Let’s say a customer strolls into a shop looking for cameras.

We’d need to consider many factors before we can recommend the perfect match for them. 

Are they a beginner or a veteran photographer? What’s their budget range? Do they want to use the camera for a specific purpose?

Certain products suit certain customers better.

And this is where personalised recommendations shine. 

Label your products according to your recommendations.

In this scenario, we could tag our cameras with labels.

Like the ones below:

  • Perfect for beginners
  • Perfect for landscape photography
  • Perfect for filmmaking

Show your value with a product comparison page

Product comparison pages are another way to guide purchase decisions.

The idea is simple:

Compare your product or service to similar ones from your competitors.

This works especially well if you’re selling expensive, feature-heavy products. 

Comparison pages slot in perfectly at the consideration stage of the sales cycle. 

Plus they help shoppers identify the best-fit product from a quick glance.

The main ingredients to a product comparison page include:

  • Show off products: display images of the products/services you’re comparing. Add high-quality visuals and hook reader attention with stunning graphics.
  • Consider shopper interests: highlight the most important features at the top of the chart.
  • Include social proof: add customer reviews and ratings to your charts – for e.g. compare overall customer satisfaction rate.

If you’re on a tight budget and don’t have much experience in design, use free online graphic design tools. 

Here are some free-to-use tools that provide customisable comparison charts:

If you want a more professional look, hire a pro designer to create a custom design.

For example, HelpCrunch created a custom-designed comparison page to show how their customer service software stacked up against their competitor Intercom:


HelpCrunch’s comparison page also adds testimonials from real customers who jumped ship and switched from Intercom to HelpCrunch:

Use an interactive quiz to guide buyers

Brands are using quizzes to provide a more personalised experience across the board. 

Quizzes add a unique but delightful twist to the user experience.

Online eyewear retailer Warby Parker use a short quiz to prepare customers for their home try-on experience. 

With only eight questions, the simple quiz focuses mostly on the user’s style preferences and face shape.

The quiz helps users narrow down suitable frame options one question at a time.

Then it builds an idea of which frames would suit the user the most:

Next, the quiz asks the user about their face width:

Afterwards, the quiz asks the user which colours they like and what materials they prefer and a few more straightforward questions.

Five questions later, the user arrives at a product page that displays frame recommendations based on the their answers. 

Warby Parker even grants the user the power to select a colour or favourite style:

It’s interactive, simple and engaging. 

No pressure. 

If a user is uncertain about the answer or has no preference, they can skip the question. 

The user can also choose multiple answers on some questions, such as “Which colour glasses do you prefer?”

The flexibility of user response makes the quiz more accessible for indecisive users that would otherwise get stuck.

Anticipate roadblocks

Mistakes are inevitable; they’re just part and parcel of life. 

While it may feel like the apocalypse is looming, there’s no need for it to be that dramatic.

In an ideal world, the user experience would be flawless. 

However, if errors manage to slip through the cracks, preparation becomes your greatest ally.

As the saying goes, be prepared for the worst. 

A good starting point is refining your 404 error pages.

Make the most of your 404 error pages

A user may end up on the 404 page for several reasons, including:

  • The URL is broken
  • The page moved and wasn’t redirected
  • The server is down
  • The user typed in an incorrect URL
  • The page never existed

Long story short, if a user tries to visit a page that cannot be found, they’ll be sent to the doomed 404 page.

It pays to put a little extra thought into your error pages.

A clever or engaging error page reinforces your brand message. 

Plus it also increases visitors’ chances of staying on your site rather than bouncing off.

A customised 404 page:

  • Improves user experience – Default error pages can confuse users or give them the impression that something serious has gone wrong. Adding clarity to your error pages can lower the user’s concern from “broken website” to “minor inconvenience”
  • Keeps users on the website – A custom 404 error page gives the user a clear path to a new destination on your website, keeping them on your site.

HelpScout's cute 404 page

HelpScout adds links on their 404 page leading to their homepage and customer support documents.

And for the cherry on top, they dropped in some cute dog illustrations to brighten your day.

Because, why not?


And that’s all he wrote. 

Hope you found these ideas useful✌🏿.


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