Want to improve your eCommerce user interface?
You’ve come to the right place. The user interface, or UI, is one of the most overlooked parts of eCommerce.
Today, we’ll cover:
- What parts of your UI affect buying psychology
- How to quickly pinpoint key UI barriers yourself
- Which UI fixes will bring the quickest wins for your store
Let’s get started.
The psychological effect of eCommerce UI (and why a bad UI can kill sales)
In The Design of Everyday Things, cognitive scientist Don Norman writes that bad UI affects how we view ourselves.
And he knows what he’s talking about—he headed the user experience division at Apple.
When a product or website doesn’t work the way we think it should, our automatic thought process is to blame ourselves. And so we avoid using the object, visiting the website, or buying the product.
I know I avoid hard-to-use sites. And you probably do, too. Is that how you want customers to view your eCommerce store?
Tiny changes in how users interact with your site can have an outsized influence on how—and what—users buy.
A sleeker and easier-to-use UI will meet user needs better, encourage more interaction, and make for a pleasant experience that visitors will want to discover again and again.
UI also impacts how well your site performs on search engines like Google. In the past few years, features like site speed and pop-ups have become important factors in SEO, especially for mobile devices. UI will only become more important in the future.
(UI is so important, I believe it’s one of the three pillars of effective eCommerce SEO.)
The experience of the user while on your eCommerce site impacts sales. Now let’s see some of the main principles for a great UI.
3 principles for building a UI that works
Focus on these keys as you improve your UI:
1. Function first, then fanciness. Great UIs work. When prioritizing what UI element to work on first, always choose function. Once your UI works well, you can improve the visuals. But not before.
2. Listen to your users. Learn from how users currently interact to see what to improve. There’s plenty of software for this. Basic tools like Google Analytics can show the user flow through your site (more prominent internal links can help guide this journey). Tools like Hotjar, Contentsquare, and Crazy Egg can share heatmaps and session replays to see problems.
3. Test it yourself. You are your own best UI tester. Make a point to use your website often, ideally once a day. What problems do you find? What gets in your way? What doesn’t behave as you would expect? Create a Chrome browsing profile with throttled bandwidth to see how users with slow internet see your site. What should you change?
With these principles in place, let’s look at some of the easiest UI improvements you can make.
5 quick wins for eCommerce UI
You don’t need an infinite list of UI fixes. Instead, let’s focus on what works best. These tweaks offer quick wins. I’ve ranked them by how big a result you’ll get.
1. Improve the buying flow. Place an order on your site. Count how many steps it takes from clicking the “add to cart” button to getting a confirmed order. And not just pages, but the information you need to enter, the buttons to click, and the rest. Eliminate everything you can.
2. Speed up your site. Speed makes up for a lot of UI issues. Go to Google PageSpeed Insights and run an analysis on your URL. If your score is below 90, review the recommendations. If you’re not technical, you may need to hire a developer to make some changes. It’ll be well worth it.
3. Simplify. Google supposedly has a person whose exclusive job is eliminating items from the search page. Every department wants to add links—and this person’s role is to push back. Who’s doing that for your site? Review every aspect, and ask yourself what you can remove or simplify. A simple UI is easier to use and probably a lot faster as well.
4. Reduce clicks to finding products. The faster a visitor can find the product, the more likely they are to buy. Pick a random product. Then go to the home page and count the clicks (and amount of scrolling) it takes to get to the product page. Set a goal of two clicks and as little scrolling as possible.
5. Remove interruptions. The more that distracts the visitor, the more you’ll hurt engagement. Strip away pop-ups, chat boxes, announcements, and the rest—or at least test an optimization that removes them. The fewer distractions, the better.
Get an immediate eCommerce UI boost
UI can play a major role in better conversions, more SEO traffic, and better engagement.
I’ve seen firsthand how much UI can impact your eCommerce store’s results. Which is why we start every client relationship by looking at the user experience and the UI adjustments mentioned above.
If you’re looking for an experienced team to help you boost traffic, conversions, and engagement, talk to us.