Good UX Is Not the Sole Responsibility of Website OwnersSeptember 24, 2020 No Comments
Featured article by Donovan Lepold, Independent Technology Author
Site owners often get the blame whenever visitors encounter bad experiences in using websites. This would appear logical, but it isn’t always the case. While it is true that site owners bear most of the responsibility, fingers can’t always point to them when looking for someone to hold accountable.
What visitors expect from a website:
Websites are expected to possess the following qualities at minimum.
* Free from bugs and errors, with good error handling
* User-friendly or intuitive
* Fast page loading time and reliability
* Compatible with all browsers, platforms, and systems
* Quality content
To deliver good user experience, a site should not be riddled with dead links, problematic image rendering, layout problems, and other technical difficulties. As much as possible, it should be free from glitches and errors. No website can be completely error-free, though, so the next best thing is to provide good error handling. This means presenting error details or notifications whenever they are encountered to facilitate remediation.
When it comes to user-friendliness, the site owner should also ensure that the site has good navigation and information structure. If the site makes it difficult to find or differentiate links and buttons, the owners should order a review and tweaking of the site. Additionally, a user-friendly site is expected to be mobile-friendly, well-formatted, neutral and minimalistic in design, and easy-to-scan.
Fast page loading time, on the other hand, is a must. A study of 5.2 million desktop and mobile pages reveals that the average page loading time is 10.3 seconds on desktops and 27.3 seconds on mobile devices. Anything lower than these numbers is considered inferior and potentially disastrous for the user experience.
Sites should also have no issues running on different web browsers and platforms. Some sites tend to have faulty rendering in different browsers. Others become unintuitive when viewed on mobile devices.
Moreover, it is necessary to offer quality content. All the ease of navigation, error-free browsing, lightning-fast page loading, and platform compatibility do not make any sense if a site does not offer anything of value.
Site owner responsibilities
The term site owner here represents everyone responsible for putting up a website. These include the web designers, web developers, content creators, and those responsible for administering the website since they all work under the direction of the owner of the site.
The qualities listed above are almost entirely the responsibility of site owners. For a site to be free from errors, the owner must ascertain that the web developers have undertaken all quality analysis steps necessary to address technical defects and faults in the site’s code. They have the prerogative to lower quality control measures but doing so adversely impacts the overall user experience.
Also, owners can make sure that they get the best possible page loading time by ascertaining that their sites are fully optimized and by choosing the best web hosting plan. Not following the best practices in page optimization and sticking with mediocre hosting solutions will certainly have a negative effect on page loading speed. If the resources exist, it will be wise to opt for a strong VPS host to guarantee the highest uptimes and lowest allowable downtimes while providing sensible disaster recovery plans.
Similarly, it is the site owner, who should see to it that there are no compatibility problems between platforms, browsers, and systems. Again, they have the option to ignore the potential threats attributable to compatibility issues. However, it would be as if they are saying that thy do not care about providing the best user experiences.
The role of site visitors
If website owners are not exclusively responsible, who do they share the responsibility with? The answer: the site visitors themselves. There are instances when end users of sites or web applications lay the blame on a website even though the problem is actually on their end.
Sometimes when visitors complain that they have slow internet connection speeds or faulty access to a website, the solutions are simple and straightforward. Practical tips for speeding up Internet connection such as rebooting the router and DNS record cleaning can help resolve some issues.
Some sites appear problematic because the browser used to access them is overwhelmed by the large cache or other information collected by the browser over time. There are also cases when the problem is in the channel used by the Wi-Fi router. To address this, tech specialists usually suggest switching to channels 1, 6, or 11. If this does not work, another solution is to switch to the 5GHz band.
Additionally, visitors can help site owners by reporting the issues they encounter. Their feedback is useful to inform those responsible for managing the websites about possible problems, so the necessary corrections are made.
Admins and web development teams cannot be expected to know everything. They could use some help from visitors to identify the problem and learn about the specific situations when the issue emerged.
Again, the bulk of the responsibility in ensuring a good web user experiences is on the side of the site owner. However, there could be instances when the problem is in the device used to access websites. The solution may not require advanced tech skills but a simple router reset. Visitors can help site administrators determine the problems, spot weaknesses in their designs, and improve their sites.