In the world of web design, there’s no better indication of success or failure than the behavior of your users. Your site may look pretty, function sufficiently, and meet all your personal expectations-but if it doesn’t deliver on the user experience side, all those improvements will have been for nothing.
Still, user experience isn’t exactly a straightforward measurement; unlike metrics like “site visitors” or “social media followers,” you can’t always reduce it to a single number. Instead, you have to look at general user behaviors, and infer the effectiveness of your site from them.
To start, be on the lookout for these troublesome user behaviors, and make corrections as soon as you can to avoid them:
Your bounce rate refers to the number of people who left a page of your site without entering further or engaging. It’s a natural part of user behavior, so it’s only troubling if your bounce rate is excessive or if it’s specific to a few pages on your site. If either of these are the case, you owe it to your site to make improvements that allow users to stay onsite longer. For example, you could include more internal links to other pages of your site, include more relevant or engaging content on every page, or-perhaps most criticall-test to ensure your pages are functioning the way you’ve intended.
2. Failures to Convert
Conversions are how your site makes money, so if you’re suffering from a low conversion rate, you’ll need to do something about it. There are a number of reasons why someone wouldn’t convert (not seeing the value of your product, being too rushed or annoyed at your conversion process, not knowing the opportunity is there, etc.), but the most common is a lack of initial trust. You can increase this trust by including things like third party reviews, testimonials, and even trust factors like badges and affiliations with outside authorities.
Inconsistency is a worrying user behavior trend because it’s an ambiguous indication that either your website is polarizing, or your site is attracting mixed audiences. For example, if you see big spikes in engagement followed by low valleys in unpredictable, variable-independent fluctuations, it means your traffic is wildly inconsistent in quality. This is usually an indication of a flawed inbound marketing strategy (such as targeting the wrong audience), but could indicate that your site uses an inconsistent tone, design, or layout. Use this to comb through your site and ensure your users are getting a consistent experience, no matter where they enter.
4. Lack of Engagement
Engagement is always a good thing, and you likely have ample engagement opportunities on your site such as blog comments, forum submissions, or user reviews. So what does it mean when people don’t take these opportunities, or take them regularly? It could be a number of demotivating factors, but the most common is a lack of user interest. Your topics might be unoriginal or uninteresting, or there might not be an incentive to post a review-do what you can to add value to the user side of engagement.
5. Slow Feature Adoption
During the course of your site’s operation, you’ll undoubtedly release a bevy of new features, such as an online calculator, an integration with an outside system, or even a payment network for your services. If you notice these features are being adopted slowly or aren’t being adopted at all, it could spell a number of problems with your presentation of the feature. For example, people might not understand the value of your offer, or they might want to use it and simply don’t understand how. To solve this one, you may have to do some additional qualitative research, such as implementing user surveys.
These user behaviors aren’t indications that your site is ruined, nor are they anything to be concerned about if they happen occasionally-only when they unfold in consistent patterns are they something to worry about, and even then, the proper counteraction can easily set things right. Pay close attention to how your users interact with your brand, and don’t be afraid to make adjustments to maximize your engagement rates.