Five top tips for a smooth user journey

March 15, 2024 | by

User experience (or UX) is about making your site or app easy to use. Great UX design is barely noticeable, allowing your users to intuitively navigate your site and easily achieve what they set out to do.

For charities and not-for-profits, a site with good UX design will:

  • Attract new donors and supporters, making it easy for them to make a donation, or sign up for events. Having a simple process and clear steps can help to build confidence and trust with your supporters
  •  Make it easy for volunteers to sign-up. A smooth user journey will engage new volunteers and, through the way you design and write the content, demonstrate your brand
  • Help to tell your story and impact. Having a defined hierarchy and intuitive layout will help you to communicate your mission and impact clearly

Here are our tips to create a smooth user journey, whether you’re starting from scratch or updating an existing site or app.   

Find out what your users need

Always start with what your users need and want from the site. You might want to carry out some user research to help understand what motivates people to come to your site, any pain points, and how they behave while they’re using it.

Streamline navigation in the user experience

It’s crucial that your site is easy for people to navigate – whether that’s a supporter wanting to quickly sign up for an event, or someone in crisis needing to urgently access information.

Having a clear content plan will help you to map out user journeys and make sure you don’t duplicate content across the site. This can overload people with similar information and confuse them about where they are on your site.

Make sure your main navigation menu is well-designed as it’s often the first step in helping users find what they’re looking for. Attention spans are limited – in fact, website users spend on average 6.44 seconds looking at the main navigation menu.

Structuring your content well includes having a clear hierarchy of headings. Don’t try and make these headings too clever – clarity is everything. Similarly, make sure any calls to action or buttons stand out. This will help to make it obvious where people need to click to access more information, sign up to your newsletter, or make a donation.

Show your microcopy some love

Microcopy is the name for all the odds and ends of copy that help users to navigate your site. That could be prompts, error messages, search bars or confirmation messages.

Microcopy might be small, but it is also mighty. Simply changing a few words on your donation page could increase your conversion rates. Pay attention to how well your copy is working, and experiment with phrasing to see if any changes make the user journey smoother, or increase click-through rates.

Those little phrases of copy can also be a brilliant opportunity to emphasise your tone of voice. But don’t overwrite – ultimately your copy needs to be clear, concise and make life easy for the user.  

Test what works for your user experience

Understanding how people use your site will give you invaluable information about how easy it is to navigate and where you can make improvements.  

Use analytics tools to discover email open rates, how often users visit your site, bounce rates and more. We explain how to effectively analyse your user journeys and how these findings can be used to improve your site.

Testing your site is crucial. As a first step, you might want to do that in-house, asking colleagues to work their way through a task to see how intuitive it is. Or you could involve a group of service users or supporters to give you feedback. These people should ideally represent your target audience.

It can also be helpful to look at any questions that users often ask. That might be where to find specific information on your site, or if they can easily cancel a Direct Debit. Pay attention to those sticking points and tweak your site if need be.

Make the user experience accessible     

Accessibility is a core part of UX design. By designing the site that addresses the needs of all users, you’ll not only be making it available to the widest possible audience, but you’ll also be actively demonstrating your commitment to inclusivity.

Making your site accessible could include:

  • Using accessibility features, like alt text for images
  • Making sure the contrast is appropriate for readability
  • Using plain English and accessible language
  • Being mobile-responsive, so that anyone can navigate it regardless of whether they’re on a laptop, tablet or phone
  • Ensuring that any videos have closed captions or transcripts

We share some ways to make your digital comms accessible and a simple accessibility audit checklist.


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