Most Common User Journey Pain Points and Resolutions

I know this topic is very comprehensive, but I wanted to start somewhere. Here are the most common pain points in the user journey and their solutions with examples.

User journey represents the route a website visitor follows, beginning from their initial arrival to the ultimate conversion. Ideally, this path should be seamless, intuitive, and satisfying, though this isn’t always the case. Within this article, we will explore common issues experienced along the user journey and discuss how these challenges can be effectively addressed through the application of web design best practices.

Issue 1: Unclear Value Proposition

One of the initial elements that captures a user’s attention on your website is your value proposition: it must communicate what you provide, how you address their needs, and why you stand out among competitors. When your value proposition is unclear, vague, or hidden, it puts at risk both the user’s engagement and trust. To alleviate this issue, your task is to craft a clear and compelling value proposition that answers the user’s fundamental query: “What’s in it for me?” Furthermore, you should prominently display it on your homepage, above the initial screen view, and reinforce it with visual aids like images, icons, or videos.

  • Provide a clear statement of your product or service’s functionality and the benefits it offers to users.
    • Slack says “Slack is a new way to communicate with your team. It’s faster, better organized, and more secure than email.”
  • Offer a comparison with competitors or alternatives to demonstrate what sets you apart and why you are superior.
    • Uber says “The smartest way to get around. One tap and a car comes directly to you. Your driver knows exactly where to go. And payment is completely cashless.”
  • Present a testimonial or social proof from a satisfied customer or a reputable source to validate your value proposition.
    • Shopify says “Trusted by over 1,000,000 businesses worldwide. No design skills needed. You have complete control over the look and feel of your website, from its layout, to content and colors.”
  • Incorporate a visual element that effectively communicates your value proposition or showcases your product or service in practical use.
    • Evernote says “Remember everything. Organize your life with Evernote.” And it shows a screenshot of its app with different notes and tasks.”

Issue 2: Complex Navigation

Another frequently encountered challenge is complex navigation, which arises when users struggle to locate the information they need or become disoriented and frustrated due to the website’s structure. Confusing navigation often results in elevated bounce rates, reduced user engagement, and an overall subpar user experience. To address this issue, it is essential to develop a straightforward and user-friendly navigation system that facilitates easy and efficient website traversal. This involves employing transparent and consistent labels, categories, and breadcrumbs, as well as offering features such as a search function, a sitemap, and a footer containing helpful links.

  • Implement a clear hierarchy of your website’s content and features, utilizing headings, subheadings, and dropdown menus.
    • HubSpot uses a multilevel menu that organizes its offerings into software, pricing, resources, partners, and company.
  • Employ a visual indicator to show the user’s current location and progress, through the use of breadcrumbs, highlights, or progress bars.
    • Amazon uses breadcrumbs to show the user the path they took to reach a product page.
  • Integrate a search function that enables users to input keywords for finding relevant results, with the inclusion of features like autocomplete, filters, or suggestions.
    • Google uses autocomplete to predict the user’s query and show related searches.
  • Create a sitemap that offers an overview of your website’s structure and links to all the main pages, in the form of a tree diagram or a list.
    • BBC uses a sitemap that lists its categories, subcategories, and pages.
  • Include a footer containing useful links to your website’s policies, contact information, social media accounts, or other resources.
    • Netflix uses a footer that links to its help center, privacy statement, cookie preferences, corporate information, and social media accounts.

Issue 3: Slow Page Load Times

A third frequently encountered challenge pertains to slow page load times. This occurs when users experience extended waiting periods for your website to load, or when they encounter errors or glitches. Sluggish loading speed can negatively impact a user’s perception of your website’s quality, dependability, and professionalism. Furthermore, it can have adverse effects on your SEO ranking, as Google considers page loading speed as a ranking factor. To address this issue, it is imperative to enhance your website’s performance by optimizing various aspects, such as reducing the size and quantity of images, videos, and other media files, implementing a caching plugin, minimizing your code, and selecting a fast and dependable hosting service.

  • Utilize a tool capable of measuring your website’s loading speed and identifying areas for improvement.
    • Google PageSpeed Insights is a free tool that analyzes your website’s performance and provides suggestions on how to make it faster.
  • Incorporate a plugin that caches your website’s static files and serves them from a CDN (content delivery network).
    • WP Rocket is a premium caching plugin for WordPress that improves your website’s speed and performance by creating cached copies of your pages, minifying your files, and integrating with popular CDNs.
  • Employ a service to compress and optimize your media files, such as images and videos, without compromising their quality.
    • TinyPNG is a free online service that reduces the file size of your PNG and JPEG images by up to 80%.
    • HandBrake is a free open-source video transcoder that compresses your videos and converts them to a variety of formats.
    • Cloudinary is a cloud-based media management platform that optimizes your images and videos, as well as offers a variety of other features.

Issue 4: Poor Readability

A fourth commonly encountered challenge relates to inadequate readability: when users struggle to read or comprehend your website’s content, or when they become disinterested or overwhelmed by it. Poor readability can diminish a user’s engagement, understanding, and retention of your website’s message and value. It also has the potential to impact your credibility, authority, and trustworthiness. To address this issue, it is essential to enhance your website’s readability. This can be achieved by employing clear and succinct language, segmenting your text into brief paragraphs and sentences, incorporating headings, subheadings, and bullet points, opting for a readable font size and color, and introducing white space and contrast.

  • Utilize a tool for measuring your website’s readability level and receiving suggestions on improvement.
    • Hemingway Editor is a free online tool that highlights long, complex, or passive sentences, and suggests simpler alternatives.
  • Implement a technique for writing clear and concise language by eliminating unnecessary words and utilizing active voice.
    • The Paramedic Method is a seven-step process that helps you revise your sentences for clarity and brevity.
  • Follow a guideline for breaking up your text into short paragraphs and sentences, and use headings, subheadings, and bullet points.
    • The Inverted Pyramid is a writing style that places the most important information at the beginning of your text, and then follows with less important details in descending order of importance.
  • Refer to a list of legible font size and color combinations to select the best contrast and visibility for your website’s text.
    • WebAIM provides a color contrast checker that allows you to test different foreground and background colors for compliance with accessibility standards.
  • Apply the principle of adding white space and contrast to your website’s layout and design.
    • The Gestalt Principles are a set of rules that describe how humans perceive visual elements as groups or patterns, and how white space and contrast can create balance, harmony, and emphasis.

Issue 5: Lack of Social Proof

A fifth frequently encountered challenge is the insufficiency of social proof: when users do not encounter any indications or feedback from other users or customers who have previously engaged with your website or product. The absence of social validation can lead to user skepticism regarding your website’s value, quality, and reputation, potentially reducing your conversion rate, as users often rely on the actions and opinions of their peers. To mitigate this issue, you should incorporate social validation elements into your website, such as showcasing testimonials, reviews, ratings, case studies, awards, badges, or mentions on social media platforms. These elements serve to highlight your website’s benefits, features, and successful outcomes.

  • Present a testimonial from a satisfied customer or a credible source that extols your website or product and elucidates how it addressed their issues or fulfilled their requirements.
    • Mailchimp features testimonials from different types of customers, such as small businesses, e-commerce, and non-profits, on its homepage.
  • Display a review or rating from a third-party website or platform that assesses your website or product across various criteria, such as features, usability, pricing, or customer support.
    • Shopify shows reviews and ratings from Trustpilot, a leading review platform, on its website.
  • Highlight a case study that illustrates a successful outcome or achievement facilitated by your website or product, such as increased sales, traffic, conversions, or engagement.
    • HubSpot features case studies from different industries and regions on its website.
  • Exhibit an award or badge acknowledging your website or product as a leader, innovator, or expert in your field or niche.
    • Grammarly displays awards and badges from various organizations and publications, such as Fast Company, Forbes, and PCMag, on its website.
  • Showcase a social media mention that demonstrates how your website or product is being utilized, recommended, or endorsed by users or influencers on popular social networks like Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, or YouTube.
    • Airbnb embeds social media posts from its hosts and guests on its website.

Issue 6: No Clear Call to Action

The sixth frequently encountered challenge is the absence of a clear call to action: when users are uncertain about their next steps or lack the motivation or persuasion to take action. This absence can result in missed opportunities, lost sales, and unutilized traffic. To address this challenge, it is essential to design a distinct and compelling call to action that explicitly guides users on what to do, how to do it, and why they should act. Your call to action should be readily visible, easily accessible, and clickable, employing language, colors, and shapes that elicit a sense of urgency, emotional connection, and value.

  • Implement a verb that signifies the desired action, like buy, subscribe, download, register, contact, or donate.
    • Netflix, for example, says: “Watch anywhere. Cancel anytime. Join free for a month.”
  • Convey a benefit or value proposition explaining why the user should take the action, whether it’s about saving money, time, or hassle, offering a free trial or a bonus, or solving a problem or fulfilling a need.
    • Spotify, for instance, says: “Music for everyone. Millions of songs. No credit card needed. Get Spotify Free.”
  • Create a sense of urgency or scarcity to induce a fear of missing out (FOMO) and motivate users to act swiftly. Employ words like now, today, or limited, or use visual elements like a countdown timer or a stock indicator.
    • Booking.com, for example, says: “We have 1 left at 20% off. Reserve now.”
  • Utilize a color or shape that captures the user’s attention and stands out from the rest of the website’s design. This can involve employing vibrant colors like red, orange, or green, or incorporating buttons, arrows, or icons.
    • Dropbox uses a blue button with an arrow icon that says: “Sign up for free.”

In this comprehensive exploration of the user journey, we’ve examined numerous common challenges that can impede a visitor’s seamless transition from their initial arrival to the ultimate conversion. From an unclear value proposition to complex navigation, slow page load times, poor readability, and a lack of social proof, each obstacle presents its unique set of hurdles for website designers and owners.

However, the journey doesn’t end here. With a strategic approach and the implementation of web design best practices, these pain points can be effectively addressed. Craft a value proposition that shines, create a straightforward navigation system, optimize loading speed, enhance readability, incorporate social validation, and establish clear calls to action.

Remember, a well-designed user journey is like a carefully orchestrated symphony, where every note must work together to create a truly memorable experience. By applying these principles and overcoming the challenges, you can transform your user journey into a delightful and rewarding adventure that keeps visitors engaged, satisfied, and coming back for more.

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