8 Essential Strategies for Improving Your WordPress UX Design
Updated November 2022
Using WordPress to Provide a Better User Experience
WordPress is the world’s most popular CMS, and there are many reasons you should be using WordPress to build your online presence. And right out of the box, the WordPress user experience is perfectly acceptable. It provides an overall good experience for site visitors. But I want to share a few WordPress UX design tips to help you do even better.
In 2021 simply having a website is no longer good enough. Instead, you must meet the user expectations of your target audience, or they will look elsewhere. If your website usability is not aligned with your target audience, it does not matter what else your online presence has to offer.
Why WordPress User Experience Design
The success of any website is related to the user experience it provides and how visitors perceive it. I always tell our clients that they are not designing a website for themselves but for their intended end users. You know, the person who can and will spend money on your products or services if you present them the right way. In the ever more competitive online world, the user experience you provide is of critical importance.
If your website is to meet your short and long-term business objectives, you must focus on providing the best possible user experience. take that If the site must meet its mark and establish a robust online foothold, several key elements must be considered. This is where WordPress UX design comes in.
The Importance of WordPress UX Design
When visitors first arrive on your website, they want to quickly orient themselves to find the info, product, or service they are looking for. And since mobile consumers are becoming increasingly demanding and sophisticated, they will not spend much time figuring out your site. Usually, visitors decide in a few seconds whether to stay on the page or abandon the site.
However, if your site is designed to provide an optimized user experience, it encourages visitors to continue consuming your content and visiting additional pages. Mobile users are naturally attracted to sites that cater to their expectations on a personalized level and focus on their interests.
While spending additional time and resources on WordPress UX design may seem excessive for many website owners, this extra effort will provide lasting benefits.
Failure to deliver according to your target user expectations results in the visitor being unable to navigate the site effectively, ultimately leading to site or cart abandonment. WordPress provides a pretty fair user experience right out of the box.
But by adding a few basic WordPress user experience design elements, you can motivate your site visitors to spend more time exploring your site or online store.
What is a Fail-Proof User Interface?
Before improving your WordPress user experience design, you must first understand what creates a fail-proof user interface. Keep in mind that the following is only a broad outline. Your audience may have other user expectations that you need to keep in mind.
The first and most visible element that corresponds to WordPress UX design is the actual interface itself. Your site visitors will form an initial impression of your website from your user interface (UI) in less than 3 seconds. This crucial first impression will convince them to stay on your site or continue searching for another website.
Here are the most basic characteristics of a reliable WordPress UI designed to maximize the WordPress user experience:
- Self-Explanatory: The UI should not require a learning curve.
- Responsiveness: It should be designed to keep different devices under consideration.
- Efficient: It does not require extensive resources on the device.
- Uniform: Design should not vary extensively across the site.
- Attractive: The UI should be balanced between functionality and being attractive.
8 Simple Steps to Improving WordPress UX Design
I cannot stress the importance of providing the best mobile-first user experience enough. It is the most critical factor in your initial and continuing online success. Prioritizing the following WordPress UX design elements will ensure your site will meet your actual user expectations:
1. Keep it Simple
Your website or online store has one, and only one, primary purpose. And that is to attract, engage, and convert your site visitors. What exactly that conversion should differ from site to site. Maybe you want visitors to sign up for your email, request an estimate, buy a product, or reserve a table. Make that as easy as possible for them!
One of the most common WordPress UX design mistakes is to overload your home page and other critical pages with content and information. This will only confuse and frustrate site visitors, and you know what that leads to. (If you forgot already, go back and start reading again.)
Therefore, you must prioritize your WordPress user experience over everything else. A simple, uniform design that is both functional and easy to understand for visitors is much more effective than a flashy design and bloated functionality.
Focus on simple formatting, a uniform layout, and relevant content. Concisely present your content using bullet points and short paragraphs. Don’t overload your pages or site with content that is not required to meet your primary objective.
The next step in improving your WordPress user experience is to select the right navigation menu. The standard WordPress menu is not bad. But it does have certain limitations. If you want your website to stand out and get noticed, you may want to consider a different type of menu altogether. Here are some of the most common types of WordPress menus:
Fixed Position Menu
This is also called a sticky menu since it sticks to the top of a page when a user scrolls down. Unlike conventional menus, which remain in the header and move out of view, a sticky menu does not disappear from view when visitors scroll down the page. An additional benefit, especially for e-commerce sites, is that important links and CTAs are always in view.
Sliding Hamburger Menu
I am sure you are familiar with the three horizontal lines of the hamburger menu by now. This hidden navigation menu only appears when visitors hit the hamburger icon to find links to other content and pages.
The sliding hamburger is one of the commonly used menus for mobile apps as well. It is a little less common on e-commerce sites where prominent links to your shop and checkout pages are essential.
Card or Grid Menu
This type of menu is a more recent addition to WordPress UX design. A card or grid menu works equally well on websites and mobile apps. Relevant items are displayed in visually appealing grids. This greatly enhances the mobile user experience. For e-commerce stores, a card or grid menu is best for featuring product images instead of text links.
If you do have a lot of information and pages, you should consider secondary menu options instead of trying to cram everything into your main menu. Users widely accept sidebar or drop-down menus since they can easily link to more content and provide intuitive interaction. This also permits the compression of on-site features into a smaller area, which visitors can easily access.
Always remember that with the ever-increasing number of mobile consumers, mobile-first web design must be your primary focus. And that includes your website navigation menu.
The next step in improving your WordPress UX design is streamlining your navigation menu. The navigation menu of any website is essential for directing visitors to the content they are looking for. But this only works if your menus are simple, logical, and well-organized.
Vertical dropdowns work better than strictly horizontal menus, which can quickly become too cluttered. Dropdown menus compress the links together and reduce the overall space required. Best WordPress UX design practices include keeping your menus as simple as possible.
I recommend that you limit yourself to no more than two sub-levels and keep your menus focused on objects rather than tasks.
4. Simplify Your Sidebar
Next on my list of things you can do to improve your WordPress user experience design is your sidebar. Sidebars can be useful for directing viewers to other important information and resources by featuring your products, services, blogs, or promotional offers. But many site owners keep adding widgets, tools, and sliders. This means sidebars quickly become cluttered with needless information.
To avoid this, include only the most necessary and relevant information to keep visitors interested and facilitate their browsing. Make sure each bit of sidebar content is beneficial to your business or your end-users. Based on that, you can decide if it can stay or needs to be removed from the sidebar. Always keep your sidebar as simple and minimal as possible.
5. Use Negative Space
Another relatively simple way to improve your WordPress UX design is to add negative space to your pages. Negative space, also called white space, is simply space on your page without any content. Users quickly get overwhelmed if your page is filled with visuals, sliders, and content. And that provides a really bad user experience.
If you want to improve your WordPress user experience managing negative or white spacing is critical. Negative space is the distance that separates elements from each other. This space helps users focus on important content without disorienting when reading or interacting with elements. It also improves the visual structure of your website and enhances readability.
Negative or white space is also a strategy for making web pages more readable. Online consumers tend to scan web content in an F-shaped motion: from left to right, down a bit, and from left to right again. Negative space will help copywriters and marketers a more appealing message to ensure conversions.
6. Focus on Page Speed
Another key element of better WordPress user experience design is to ensure that your page loads fast. Studies have shown that site abandonment spikes exponentially if loading time exceeds 3 seconds. This makes page load speed an important factor in your overall user experience.
There are many ways to improve your WordPress page load speed. Here are a few ways to reduce page load speed and ensure visitors do not abandon your site in favor of one of your competitors:
- Include only necessary plugins: While plugins can improve website functionality and usability, too many plugins contribute to increased page load time. Enable only plugins and extensions that are relevant to site features.
- Image size matters: Choose image size and format carefully to ensure the quality is presentable, and the allocated size is optimized for loading. Be sure to use an image compression plugin such as SmushIt or ShortPixel.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN) Services: Your page speed can be significantly improved by using a Content Delivery Network (CDN) such as Cloudflare. This will expand site accessibility and reduce loading time. It even provides an additional safeguard against malicious attacks.
- Enable Caching: Caching enables saving specific website data, which can later be accessed directly instead of being loaded again. I highly recommend using a caching plugin such as W3 Total Cache, WP Super Cache, and WP Rocket. Or you can use a WordPress hosting platform that does that for you, such as WPEngine.
7. Create Effective Calls-To-Action (CTAs)
Next on my list of WordPress user experience design strategies are creating effective Calls-to-Action (CTAs). When website visitors arrive on your site, they most often are unsure of what to do next. Therefore, you need to tell them nicely. And motivating users to perform a certain action is challenging if your CTA is not properly placed.
Since CTAs contribute towards both design and functionality, their placement is critical. Site visitors are more likely to take action if they require little effort. Positioning CTAs near relevant content (but not overlapping) allows them to take action quickly. Plugins such as Monarch and OptinMonster provide you with even more options for managing your CTAs.
8. Allow Social Sharing
Website users expect to be able to share your website content on their social platforms and networks. This also helps improve your site visibility. Therefore, your WordPress UX design focus has to include at least some form of social sharing capabilities. I personally recommend plugins such as AddThis or Monarch.
Placing social sharing buttons in visible locations, such as the page header, or integrating them in your sidebar encourages user interaction. I don’t necessarily recommend using hovering sharing icons as they can sometimes block other content or get clicked by accident. Either one of those will negatively affect the overall user experience.
Improving Your WordPress UX Design
Integrating these 8 essential WordPress UX design elements on your WordPress website will greatly improve the overall user experience you provide. These design elements are common to many business websites. But as always, there are some exceptions as well.
Just like every business is different, so is every website. Every business differs from others in terms of scope, scale, niche, and market. This is directly related to the user expectations of the intended target audience. The users of a women’s fashion store will have different expectations from the audience of an industrial products company.
It would be best to consider your target audience’s understanding and familiarity. For example, users of a restaurant website will not expect the sophisticated search options expected by readers of a niche blog.
Any website’s user experience depends on the user experience you create for the user. You know, the people you expect to consume your content and exercise their credit card.
You can start with these WordPress UX design elements and gradually add features specific to your business or product brand. Technology is advancing rapidly. Soon, website users will be equipped with more knowledge and insights. This means they will expect more from your website design and functionality.
Continuously improving and enhancing your WordPress user experience design will take skill, time, and effort. We are here to help.
Need Help Improving Your WordPress UX Design?
Here at PixoLabo, we offer a full range of WordPress website consulting and design services for businesses and product brands, including custom web design and development, e-commerce solutions, search engine optimization, and WordPress optimization.
And if you are still not sure how you can benefit from using WordPress, don’t worry! Simply reach out and contact us. Our expert team will listen to you, answer your questions, and determine the best way to improve and enhance your WordPress user experience design. It is one of our specialties, after all!
Are You Using WordPress?
Are you using WordPress for your business or product brand? Are you providing an adequate user experience to meet your mobile user expectations? What is the biggest obstacle to improving your WordPress UX design if not? Do you have other problems with your business website?
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Thank you! We appreciate your help ending bad business websites, one pixel at a time!
By Gregor Saita
Co-Founder / CXO