Giving Your Site the UX Factor

    500 230 Cheryl Myers


    While the tools we use to create and measure the success of digital media continue to evolve, the success of your site or application still hinges on just one thing: the value it brings to your customers. How users experience your site—and how they feel about it when they leave—will determine whether you win their repeat business or lose them to the competition. This is known as user experience (UX).

    At smart panda labs, we know that the success of your business depends on the satisfaction of your customers. If your paid search efforts are not paying off, or your visitors appear to be checking out before they even check in, maybe it’s time to optimize the experience your site provides. Our UX experts are here to help you make design decisions that are informed by the needs and wants of users.

    test before you leap

    Many of our clients come to us with an existing site, frustrated by the way it looks and its lack of ROI (return on investment). Their impulse may be to rebrand and redesign, but to start from scratch is costly and time-consuming—and may not be necessary. Our solution? Test.

    smart panda labs recently evaluated the website experience offered by a luxury hotelier client. We discovered that their digital marketing efforts were sending all their leads to their home page—a page that was primarily illustrative and did not have any specific calls to action. Before implementing any changes, we:

    1. Created a landing page that pulled in some of the best assets of their site, including guest testimonials, a Trip Advisor widget, photo-gallery and their booking tool
    2. Provided dynamic copy on the landing page. This means what the content users saw on the landing page directly related to the specific ad they had clicked on. This allowed our client to continue customizing their message for different markets.
    3. Ran a test, sending a portion of web traffic to the existing home page and the rest to the dynamic landing page

    The results? The new landing page created an experience that resulted in significantly more bookings. In lieu of a costly overhaul of their site or heavily revised digital advertising strategy, the dynamic landing page became the new entry point for visitors.a/b testingYou can learn more about tests like this in the lab report or by downloading our white paper, Put Your Digital Marketing to the Test: Data-Driven Decision Making with A/B Testing.

    small changes for big impact

    While the landing page above was a modest task compared to a site redesign, there are even smaller site changes that can create a notable lift in conversions. These include:

    • Adding calls to action. For many of our clients, the first change we test is adding a new, persistent call to action—like a button—that appears throughout the site. This can provide users with a quick way to request an appointment or to start a free trial, for example. We also encourage the addition of text links in body copy that can send visitors where you want them to go next.
    • Changing content layout. FYI, your customers don’t read—they scan. Breaking up blocks of copy with headlines and bulleted lists can help users find what they are looking for more successfully.
    • Building responsive landing pages. While you may not have the budget to optimize your entire site for every imaginable mobile device, responsive landing pages can give users the experience they need on their phone or tablet, without requiring a complete website overhaul.
    • Embracing page length. Thanks to mobile devices, scrolling is cool again. It also works—users prefer scrolling for the information they need over hunting for it click by click. Don’t hesitate to add calls to action, promotions, form fields and other assets to the valuable real estate on the bottom of each page.

    slow and steady wins the user

    Ever wonder why Amazon or Google rarely change their sites? Because people hate change. None of us like visiting a site that we frequent only to find it’s become unfamiliar territory overnight. Our pandas approach change from a user’s perspective, helping clients implement necessary improvements incrementally and over time. And with each change comes a test, so that each improvement informs the next one.UXgraphSuccessful UX design means limiting frustration and supplying value to your customers and to you.


    Cheryl Myers

    Cheryl oversees all of the firm’s information architecture and user experience (UX) design efforts. She has substantial experience designing online experiences for Fortune 500 companies, for both domestic and international markets, as well as implementing and testing UX/UI best practices, developing brand standards and building creative teams. Over the course of her career, Cheryl has led digital design projects and teams within The Walt Disney Company, Marriott International and The Ritz-Carlton.

    All stories by: Cheryl Myers

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