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Friday, June 22, 2012

10 Tips to Improve User Experience of your site

Hi. My name is Ben, and I plan to visit your website a lot! I’m a casual user that likes to browse the Internet, and like everyone else I know, I hate to wait. Although your website is really cool, and I love your products and services, the Internet is full of interesting places and I’m easily distracted. Oh, and did I mention that I love using my Android smartphone and iPad to play, connect, shop, bank and book travel when I’m not at work? All I want for the holidays is a speedy web and mobile site.
Here are top 10 wishes of a user for you and your site in 2012:
  1. Please test your code/site on IE and not just Firefox before you launch it. I am one of the 50% that will continue using IE, even after they start auto-upgrades!
  2. Understand the difference between browser execution and network/back-end performance. Most pages have both and you need to know which is which to optimize the page/site. One way is to monitor using a real browser.
  3. Understand how your page renders. Focus on reducing upfront (pre-render) delay. It’s the one me and your other users feel the most!
  4. Please make sure your third party tags (analytics and others) are below your visual content. (Did I mention rendering delays and blocks are aggravating?)
  5. Please combine your external JS and CSS files. I’ve been saying this for years, but very few sites seem to follow this recommendation. Do it, and I’ll see a major improvement in the speed of your site.
  6. Understand the quality your Content Delivery Network is providing. Every website is unique, and not all CDN providers are created equal.
  7. Don’t worry so much about overall page size but instead focus on individual file/resource sizes. Keep them under 100K and you will limit the impact of slower connections. (Did I mention I love my smartphone?)
  8. Don’t just push your desktop website to mobile. You will fail.
  9. Test your mobile web site… please!
  10. Read Keynote’s Page Construction Guidelines. They’re chocked full of goodies to help you optimize the performance your Web pages and keep visitors like me happily clicking through them, instead of away to your competitor’s site.
What’s on your wish list for better web and mobile performance in 2012? Let us know in comments!

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1 comment:

  1. If a user is browsing from a mobile phone, they generally don’t have a lot of screen to work with. Phones today will typically zoom out automatically, so that the entire website can be seen onscreen. This can be good, as it gives the reader access to the entire sight, but it can also be frustrating when trying to find information that is located in a tiny part of the upper right of the screen. If you could move some things around, make some things bigger and not have as many columns you’ll give your mobile reader a much better experience.