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Why an Accessibility-First Approach To Web Design Is The Key To Increasing Engagement
Did you know that a whopping 88% of online browsers refuse to return to a website if they endure a bad user experience?
In a digital age, where brands and businesses rely on their online presence for success, user experience has become a key factor to consider when designing a site and planning consumer campaigns.
From a spike in smartphone users to new demands for hyper-personalisation, the criteria for successful UX design continue to grow. Stick with us as we navigate what the future holds for UX trends in 2023, and why we think an accessibility-first approach could be the key to keeping those engagement levels spiking.
Is the competition for demographic engagement increasing?
It’s no secret that the competition for demographic engagement is on the rise. On the back of a global e-commerce boom in 2020, the internet has seen an influx of startups and small businesses competing against each other for consumer conversions.
As you can see above, the e-commerce sector has continued to grow exponentially on the back of the pandemic’s digital shift. Expected to reach over $7,391 billion in online sales by just 2025, the industry remains popular among Gen Z and Millennial generations.
With a rise in e-commerce activity comes a new set of challenges for online businesses and B2C brands. While an online playing field provides a brand with more opportunity to outsource link building, niche edits, and guest posting to target a wider audience, mass competition within each industry has left consumer demands high and return on investments low for smaller startups.
Could an accessibility-first approach be the key to success?
The key to boosting conversions on a site is to make it accessible to all target consumers. Whether they are browsing on a mobile or tablet device, your site must provide users with a fast-loading, feedback-focused experience that aims to keep them engaged and interested in your content.
In fact, over half of all online users now demand a personalised user experience when interacting with a branded website. This consists of AI-infused communication and customised content that adapts to their devices.
Not only are consumers more likely to convert on a site that offers them a personalised user experience, but in the wake of a social media boom, they are also more likely to share site links, products and services on their own platforms. This improves brand awareness and credibility in the fight for engagement.
How to improve your accessible design strategy
For modern-day UX designers, improving your accessibility design is just as important as creating innovative aesthetics and immersive experiences. Without prioritising accessibility, your users will not stay on the page long enough to discover what you have to offer.
From simplifying your navigation systems to cutting down a crowded landing page, there are numerous small steps you can take to improve UX accessibility at little to no cost.
Simplify your navigation system
Accessible UX design starts with your navigation system. In order to see your site conversions rise, your consumer must have an accessible, fuss-free route to the checkout page.
In fact, 70% of potential sales leads abandon their shopping carts if they are struggling to navigate a website.
Your navigation system must be equipped with a simplistic flow, that guides the user from the landing page to their product/service destination with ease. The key here is to make sure all call-to-action copy is clear and that your drop-down menu provides the answer to a browser’s search intention.
Designing your flow in a pyramid style is a great way to prioritise accessible navigation and not overwhelm your site user. Instead of allowing all site destinations to drop down in a single menu, group your product/service pages into keyworded categories that consumers can quickly navigate through.
Invest in a high-speed web host
Did you know that slow-loading content is the leading cause of website bounce? Quickly followed by non-responsive content and bad navigation, experts at Good Firms have reported that poor accessibility optimisation is not tolerated by digital native consumers.
In fact, a whopping $2.6 billion is lost in revenue each year on the grounds of a slow-loading website.
As traffic volumes increase in a busy e-commerce landscape, many site designs struggle to manage large numbers of browsers in one period. This causes site content to lag and page loading times to increase. In an online arena full of competitors, it’s no surprise users get bored and therefore bounce to an alternative brand.
In order to keep your content loading times sharp and snappy, you must make sure your web hosting platform is up to scratch.
We’re not talking about Google or Bing, but instead investing in a personalised hosting platform, dedicated to managing large influxes of traffic, storage-heavy content, and, of course, data security.
There are a number of web hosting services to pick from, ranging from security-driven cloud hosting to shared hosting, which is perfect for smaller businesses that want to share a server for a more affordable price. Many cloud providers offer SSL certificates for data security. However, it is good to purchase SSL Certificate from a third-party SSL provider for enhanced features
Web hosting platforms are a great addition to an accessible UX strategy and a must-have in a busy online environment.
Prioritise device-friendly design
An accessibility-first approach is all about making your site accessible for all users, no matter how they access it or consumer content. From smartphone users to voice searching, your site should be optimised to serve all online browsers.
On the back of a smartphone boom, over half of all mobile users will now bounce off of a website if it isn’t mobile-friendly. In fact, a whopping 85% of people believe that a mobile version of a site design should be better than its desktop equivalent.
Moving forward, UX designers must pour focus into their device-based design strategy. For a mobile or tablet screen, content should be cut down, and buttons, haptic feedback and navigation systems should be adapted to suit thumb taps and a small screen structure.
Voice-based searching is also on the rise thanks to the success of Amazon Alexa and Google Echo. According to Search Engine Land, over 50% of all searches were voice based in 2020.
In order to remain high up within a Google search string, site developers must make sure that their content is optimised to provide an audible response to consumers. This includes using searchable keywords within site copywriting and making sure that site copy uses simplistic, fast-paced language that provides a quick call to action for audible consumers.
Cut down your content
Last but not least, one of the easiest approaches to accessible design is an optimised content strategy.
75% of consumers currently judge a site based on its aesthetics and landing page structure. Sites that are crowded with copy or bombarded with images, videos, and clever animation may overwhelm consumers and deter them from exploring further.
As you can see above, 84% of marketers believe that one of the most common web design mistakes is crowded design.
A tip here is to keep your landing page minimalistic. Opting for a more simplistic approach will allow users to identify your navigation quickly, which is key if you want them to reach the checkout. Also, make sure your copywriting is on point. Keep your copy simplistic and snappy, quickly answering consumer questions and providing a clear call-to-action to keep the site flow moving.
As we step into a new era of UX design trends, accessibility will play a large role in site success. The more effort you feed into improving your user experience, the higher your ROI will be.
Looking forward, designers should expect to see a greater focus on mobile and device-based design, especially as demographics change and move away from desktop browsing.
Staying on top of UX trends is key if you want your site to start appearing at the top of that engagement-hungry search string. From content to copy, your site design has never been more important.