How do you create winning digital content that fully engages your audience? It’s all about empathy. You need to put yourself in their position, and try to see your digital content through their eyes. Closely aligned with the concept of the member and donor journey is UX – the user experience.
How do you define UX? In simple terms, it is the experience of the user on your digital property e.g., website, web application, mobile application, etc. When a visitor walks into your office, every touchpoint defines their experience. In the same way, when a user visits your website, how easily they can perform various functions (finding information, interacting, etc.) also defines their experience. The big difference between offline vs online interactions is that you are not physically present to assist the user in the online world. Therefore, your systems need to be designed with the user in mind. Otherwise, your approachable and caring brand won’t appear that way in the online world.
How can non-profits and associations improve the user experience (UX) in 2022-2023? Here are our top 5 five tips to ensure your UX is top notch, and that your online property reflects your offline brand.
#1: Design Content for Long Scrolling
There was a time when content above the fold (what you see on a webpage before you scroll down) was everything. But now, long scrolling is the norm. Whether on desktop, laptop, tablet or mobile, users are scrolling more than ever before.
This doesn’t mean that your text above the fold isn’t important. It just means that the text below the fold should be given more attention. What does this mean for the user experience?
Why Screen Resolution Matters in UX
Screen resolution means the number of pixels that a screen can display, measured in width and height. This isn’t the same as the size of a computer monitor, which is the size of the screen measured diagonally.
As technology evolves, people are now using a wider variety of screen resolutions. But your web designer can only design for one. Which one do you choose?
In June 2022, the most popular screen resolution sizes in North America were:
- Desktop: 1920 x 1808 pixels
- Tablet: 768 x 1024 pixels
- Mobile: 414 x 896 pixels.
Ultimately, you should focus on the screen resolution most used by your audience. Google Analytics can give you this data – but you can’t stop there. Look at the behaviour and conversion metrics for website visitors using your audience’s most popular screen resolution:
- How long do they stay on your website overall?
- How many website pages do they visit
- What pages do they stay on for the longest and shortest time
- How many convert – take the action that you want them to take such as sign up for your newsletter?
This research will tell you where your audience is least engaged and why. Best of all, you will have a wealth of information on how to improve UX for your users’ ideal screen resolution.
Getting Users to the Next Section
Try ending each section with a question, phrase or surprising statistic that foreshadows the next section. For good UX, readers must conclude that the rest of the content matters to them, and that it’s worth their time to finish it. Keep up the content momentum by making sure that the first sentence or two of the next section addresses the issues raised at the end of the last section.
Another strategy is to use descriptive subheadings that tell the reader exactly what they will find in that section. This is great for SEO – Google loves keywords in subheadings. Plus, it makes it easy for readers to quickly scan, and jump right to the content that matters to them most.
#2: Web Accessibility is Key for UX
If making website content accessible for all users is at the bottom of your to-do list, it’s time to make it a priority. As the inventor of the World Wide Web (and founder of the World Wide Web Consortium, W3C) Sir Tim Berner-Lee notes, “The power of the web is in its universality. Access by everyone regardless of disability is an essential impact.”
Web accessibility means that people with disabilities can effectively navigate your website and use associated tools and technologies. This includes a wide range of disabilities including:
Keep in mind that these considerations also improve the UX for people without disabilities.
The international guideline (WCAG 2.1, Level AA) includes four main principles.
Here are some simple ways to boost web accessibility:
- Add text descriptions (alt text) to all images and non-text elements.
- Add captions and transcriptions to audio and video.
- Differentiate hierarchy, content or functionality in more than one way, e.g., use color, shape, and text.
- Ensure your site is browsable with a keyboard, i.e., without a mouse or a trackpad.
- Add easy to navigate options like Skip to Content, Skip to Top, etc.
- Choose the right color and contrast.
- Minimize automated motion and auto-plays (audio or video that starts to play without the user requesting it).
Bonus Tip: Keep Up with Web Accessibility Law Updates in Your Jurisdiction
International guidelines apply across the globe. But federal laws can vary widely, as can state or provincial laws. To further confuse matters, the rules may also depend on the size of your organization, and whether you are part of the public or private sector.
For example, websites in Ontario, Canada must follow the AODA (Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act). But in 2022, the provincial government announced that they will undertake an independent review of the Act. Companies operating in Ontario would be wise to take note of any recommendations that come out of this review, and associated changes to legal requirements.
When More Than One Web Accessibility Law Applies
In California, web accessibility is more complex. In addition to complying with the federal ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act), California websites must also comply with the state level Unruh Act, which prohibits discrimination from all businesses. The fact that California’s online privacy laws are the strictest in the United States must also be taken into consideration.
#3: Design for the Content
There are some design strategies that always apply, like using full width, bigger font sizes, a maximum of three main colours, and no more than two distinct font families. But your ideal web design is the one that best suits your content. Putting all your content in a cookie-cutter format may save time. But design that doesn’t match your content will reduce your website’s readability, and ultimately worsen the UX.
Digital content must be easy to scan. In 2022-2023, readers rarely set aside time to curl up with your website content. They are more likely to browse your website during short periods of downtime. This is what Google calls micro-moments. Waiting for a Zoom meeting to start, an Uber pick-up to arrive – our lives are full of micro-moments. This means that multiple times per day, you have the chance to capture your audience’s attention. The catch? You only have mere seconds to do it.
Improve UX with Easy to Scan Content
- Present information in order of importance to the user.
- Create short paragraphs. Big blocks of text can be overwhelming (especially on mobile), and readers may quickly lose interest.
- Include a mix of short and long sentences for variety.
- Use design elements like quotations to avoid monotony and highlight key takeaways.
- Use bullet points for content best presented in list format (see what we did there?)
- Use appropriate calls to action to guide the user.
- Use workflows when describing steps.
#4: Make Content Responsive for Mobile Users
Smartphones have been around for a decade. Over 80% of internet users now use mobile devices to surf the web. Yet, many websites still lack key features that would improve the mobile UX. We often see websites that are viewed more on mobile than desktop or tablet. That just speaks to how user behavior is changing. As 61% of mobile users will never return to a website if it is not mobile responsive,all design must be done with the mobile view of web pages in mind.
Mobile responsive means that your website will automatically adjust for viewing on different screen sizes and devices. While most website themes and templates are already mobile responsive, we also suggest avoiding:
- Tables and other images that may not scale down properly
- Sliding images
- Hover actions instead of clicks
- Links placed close together
- Small buttons
#5 Write Content with Your Audience in Mind
Writing for your audience seems obvious. Yet, we often see unnecessarily complex website content. Have you ever been to a website only to get lost in tons of acronyms and information that can only be understood if you have a science degree? Unless your audience is all PhDs, there is no reason to get too technical in your content. Use plain, clear and simple language.
Make Your Calls to Action Count
When users get to the end of your website page or blog article, what do you want them to do next? Sign up for your mailing list? Register for a course? Your CTA (Call to Action) should make their next step clear and easy.
One verb is all you need to tell users what to do next: Register, Sign Up, Submit, etc. Buttons get users to your CTA faster than hyperlinked text. You can also use both together for a value-packed CTA that matters to your audience.
Let’s say that your webpage is about a new course for your members. Your CTA could include a Register Now button (the most important action) and a link to the course instructor’s most recent article (a less important action, but one that may convince the user to come back and register). Whether you use buttons and/or links, your CTA must be clearly labeled and appear clickable.
Content that resonates with your audience + design that suits the content = effective UX. Feeling overwhelmed about how to implement UX trends for 2022-2023? We’ll make sure your association or non-profit website looks great on every device, giving your visitors a tip-top user experience that keeps them on your site longer. If you are planning a new website, web application OR if you would like us to audit your existing website, get in touch with us at [email protected] or 1-888-802-1147 x102.