Top 10 UX optimization tips

By UserTesting | January 16, 2024
Two women looking at a website on their tablet.

With the digital landscape continually evolving, organizations recognize the need to prioritize the users' needs. The user experience (UX) and optimization are central to satisfying customers. However, the path to effective user experience optimization can often seem complex and daunting. This is where practical tips come into play.

By offering a structured approach and best practices, these tips can significantly improve the process of UX optimization to help your team enhance user engagement and boost conversion rates.

How does UX optimization work?

User experience optimization focuses on improving users' interactions with your site, app, or product. Using a combination of customer feedback, analytics, and design principles, you can enhance the UX to make your product more intuitive and engaging for your users.

The process of UX design optimization is a collective effort involving various team members such as UX researchers, UX/UI designers, product managers, and developers. Together, the team analyzes the customer feedback to optimize the UX to satisfy customers and improve functionality.

10 tips for UX optimization

Use industry-proven tips to shorten the iteration cycle of your UX optimization process and start making an immediate impact on your customers.

1. Decrease loading times

In today's fast-paced digital world, users expect websites and apps to load quickly. Almost 50% of people refuse to wait longer than two seconds for a site to load. Slow loading times frustrate users, who abandon your site quickly before ever getting to experience the rest of it, leading to high bounce rates, poor user experience UX, and poor ranking in search engines.

Start compressing all your images when improving your website’s loading time. High-resolution photos take up a lot of space and slow down loading times. Consider using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) to deliver website content quickly by caching your website's static assets on multiple servers across various geographic locations. Once a person loads your site in a geographic area, all other people in that area can pull it up quickly.

2. Create engaging content

Engaging content keeps users on your product or site longer. Aim to create a sense of curiosity and guide them to other pages of your site. Your time-on-page metrics will improve, and you'll experience much higher engagement rates. The more you get users hooked on your content, the more likely they'll convert to your offers.

Create engaging content by understanding your audience and their main pain points. You want each piece of content to resonate with your audience and make them feel you understand their problems and have something to offer that may help solve their problem. Interweave storytelling techniques into your content to bring out a user's emotions and capture their interest.

Related reading: CTAs that convert

3. Make it responsive

Mobile device use continues increasing, and your app or site needs to adapt seamlessly to different screen sizes and orientations. A responsive design is not only mobile-friendly but functions well on all devices. Making sure readers can easily see and access all aspects of the page regardless of screen size will improve the user experience and expand your reach to a larger audience.

Most modern apps and site builders have built-in tools that automatically adjust your site's layout, image, and function for different devices. A team of developers will likely already have a set of best practices, including a responsive design. Customer data can help you understand which devices your users use most and ensure flawless designs that meet them where they are.

Related reading: Testing mobile app experiences

4. Improve navigation

Good navigation should be intuitive, easy to understand, and consistent across all pages of your site or app. A simple-to-use menu should enable users to find what they're looking for quickly and effortlessly. They're more likely to stay if they can get where they’re going with minimal effort and friction.

CTAs, menus, search bars, and links should be easily identifiable and accessible. Use breadcrumbs to help users understand where they are on a site or app and how to navigate back to previous pages.

Related research: What is tree testing? 

5. Improve search bars

A robust search function allows users to find exactly what they’re looking for quickly and easily. Ideally, when a user types something into the search field, the site immediately pulls up relevant content and shows it to the user without requiring them to navigate several pages to find suitable material.

Ensure your search bar is easily visible on your site, ideally in the header, so it's accessible from every page. Also, add autocomplete features into your search function to offer real-time suggestions, helping users quickly construct better searches and find their desired results.

Related reading: 10 ways to test internal search

6. Encourage interaction

Interactive elements can make a website or app more engaging, memorable, and user-friendly. Consider using interactive design elements such as buttons, forms, and sliders. These can make your site or app feel more dynamic and engaging. They can also provide valuable feedback for the user, helping them understand how they're supposed to interact.

Also, consider implementing interactive tutorials or walkthroughs for complex features. Proactive guidance that anticipates their questions and needs can reduce any potential frustration and encourage continued use.

Related reading: UI vs UX: What’s the difference?

7. Implement dynamic content

Dynamic content refers to website or app content that changes based on the user's behavior, preferences, and data. It personalizes a site or app user interface in real time. One of the most common ways this is employed is when visitors return to a site they’d previously visited where they left items in their shopping cart and receive a reminder.

Another approach is to use demographic data to tailor content. For instance, if you know a user's location, you could display content or relevant offers for their region. Or, if you know a user's age or shopping history, you could adjust your content to better suit their interests and needs. Dynamic content helps increase conversions at the point of sale and throughout the customer journey.

8. Use chatbots

Only a few years ago, when a customer needed support, organizations needed to have an employee available to answer their call. Now, chatbots—automated assistants responding to customer inquiries immediately—can respond around the clock to help answer basic queries or appropriately escalate more complex ones, saving time and resources for your team.

Chatbots use artificial intelligence to deliver a human-like conversation with customers, making them feel like they're interacting with real people. You can integrate them into your website or app to assist with answering FAQs, providing product recommendations, or referencing resource materials. A few simple lines of code are all you need to integrate a chatbot into your app or site.

9. Make privacy transparent

Users are increasingly concerned about their personal data and how it's being used. Transparency about your privacy practices builds trust with your users to establish a better overall customer experience. Users are more likely to engage with your site or app if they feel their data is safe and their privacy is respected.

Your policy should be clear and easy for any user to find. It should explain in plain language what data is collected, how it's used, and who it's shared with. The policy should also detail the user's rights regarding their data, such as the right to access, correct, or delete their data.

10. Add social proof

Social proof correlates with more trust and a good user experience. Adding customer testimonials, reviews, case studies, and social media shares are all methods of building credibility among your users and increasing the likelihood of a user continuing through your sales cycle.

Be strategic in where and how you share your social proof, integrating it at key touchpoints to increase the impact. Customer testimonials on product pages reinforce a purchasing decision, as would ratings from reputable sources or reviews from popular sites.

Steps for optimizing UX

Optimizing UX is crucial for streamlining workflows and enhancing productivity. The steps outlined below are practical measures that, when effectively implemented, can significantly enhance the user experience.

Identify current issues

Identifying your current issues lays the groundwork for the following optimization process. It creates your first goals and directs all future resources toward achieving them. When determining what optimization you need, you'll use customer data to uncover problems that will become your current focus.

One of the most effective methods to collect data is usability testing, where users interact with your website or app while observers watch, listen, and take notes. Combine usability testing with quantitative research methods like analytics tools to give a better look into your current issues.

Prioritize UX changes

Collecting heaps of customer data will present your team with numerous UX problems. The job is to prioritize solving problems that significantly impact the user experience. This means grouping your issues into three categories: high priority, medium priority, and low priority.

For example, issues that directly affect the usability of your site or app should be classified as high priority. These things can significantly impact a user's ability to accomplish their goal on your site. Say the language on the checkout page is unclear, and users can’t figure out how to complete a transaction. That’s a top concern. You might decide other issues, such as design aesthetics, are lower priority and can be addressed later.

Related reading: Prioritizing UX testing according to your risk tolerance

Implement and test

Implementing and testing UX changes is a critical stage in the UX optimization process. This is where all the planning and prioritizing comes to fruition. However, more than merely implementing changes is required. Testing these changes to ensure they bring about the desired improvements is essential.

It's often beneficial to start with minor changes that can significantly impact, as they can deliver quick wins and provide insights for further optimizations. 

Get feedback from your audience

This step provides firsthand information about how users perceive and interact with your product, what they like or dislike, and where they encounter issues or difficulties. This feedback can uncover insights that might not be apparent from analytics data alone. This qualitative data will complement the quantitative data you gathered in the testing step.

One of the most straightforward ways to collect this data is through interviews and feedback. Ensure your questions are clear, concise, and focused on understanding the user's experience.

Measure your efforts

As you go through UX optimization, your team must measure its efforts using specific metrics. Data provides tangible evidence of the impact of your changes and allows you to track progress over time. With measurement, it's easier to determine whether the changes have positively influenced user behavior and experience or achieved the intended goals.

Establish Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) at the outset of any UX project. These KPIs could include metrics like conversion rates, bounce rates, time spent on a page, user retention rates, or task completion rates, depending on the specific goals of the optimization effort.

What's next

Learn how to prioritize UX testing according to your organization's risk tolerance.

About the author(s)

With UserTesting’s on-demand platform, you uncover ‘the why’ behind customer interactions. In just a few hours, you can capture the critical human insights you need to confidently deliver what your customers want and expect.