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Written by Finn Ruijter, 27 August 2020

Why combination of User Experience (UX) and Performance will be increasingly important in 2020

The user experience of visitors largely determines how they perceive your organization. It directly affects your conversion rates and is indirectly responsible for the rankings that Google assigns. The user experience is closely related to the performance of your website.

What is user experience (UX)?

User experience, abbreviated UX, can be translated into Dutch as user experience. When talking about websites, the simplest definition is: how a visitor feels when using a website.

Now a feeling is difficult to measure, but with “exit polls,” for example, you can still get a rating and possible feedback from visitors. And what does it show? There are certain factors that, if you get them right, guarantee a positive user experience.

UX design is the philosophy in which the web designer takes into account users’ needs and expectations. He or she designs based more on research than on feeling. The web design matches the target audience and the content answers the question the visitor has.

Why is UX important?

Several surveys have shown that customers are far from automatically choosing the cheapest provider. This applies to both consumers and business customers. Quality is just as important, but in recent years another characteristic has been gaining ground: user experience.

For example, it appears that customers will pay up to 17% more for a product or service where the user experience is better. And even if visitors are satisfied with your offer, 50% of them will not visit your mobile site again if it is not mobile-friendly.

Those who apply UX design find that the knife cuts both ways: a pleasant user experience also generates more leads. In an era when users are no longer as generous with their personal data, UX design is an important marketing weapon.

A pleasant online user experience, for example thanks to a clear structure and a short loading time, translates into visitors staying longer on your website. Google detects that and assigns higher rankings to user-friendly websites. User experience and performance must therefore work together for best results.

What does performance have to do with UX?

To answer this question right away, user experience and performance have a lot to do with each other. Loading speed can make or break a user experience. For example, 53% of visitors leave a page if it loads longer than 3 seconds. And 47% of users simply expect a page to be on their screen within 2 seconds.

Now you would say that those numbers are easily achievable, but that is not necessarily so. Large companies and institutions, which have links to their internal software, soon find themselves above this desired load time. Add to that extensions or plugins, or the fact that some of the users load the site from another country, and it is difficult to achieve optimal performance.

Measure the performance of your site

Curious about the loading speed of various pages on your site? An easy way to measure them is through a Google tool: PageSpeed Insights. Shows how long it takes for a page to fully appear on the screen. The statistics are for mobile users as well as desktop visitors.

You also get point-by-point tips that you can use to improve performance. Often these are fairly technical comments: “Consider providing critical JS/css inline” or “Use the ‘font-display’ feature to make text visible while web fonts are loaded.” A specialist like 2manydots translates this jargon into action items and solves them one by one.

Ways to reduce load time

More and more marketing managers are realizing that performance can give them a competitive advantage. As specialists in WordPress sites for large SMEs and semi-government, we are often asked to ensure optimal performance in 2020. A challenge we gladly accept. The following elements of a Web site often come to mind.

  • Professional hosting
    A hosting package where you share a server with other websites can be disastrous for load time. You depend on traffic to those other sites, and if they experience visitor spikes, your site may become slow or even unreachable.

    The solution is a professional, dedicated server. We at 2manydots work with a hosting provider that specializes in WordPress sites. This offers some additional benefits, such as easy duplication of a Web site, automatic backups and updates, and fast technical service.

  • Optimized images
    Images in particular eat up a lot of server space – and thus bandwidth. You may not notice much of this if you’re using a fiber connection to load your website, but for someone with an ADSL connection or a 3G connection, this can create a negative user experience.

    We work with clients to find the perfect balance between compression, which makes images load faster, and quality, so your visitors have the best user experience.

  • Content Delivery Network (CDN)
    A CDN is especially attractive for websites with international visitors. If your site resides on a server in the Netherlands and is loaded by someone in Australia, it could easily take several seconds longer than a good user experience requires. With a CDN, your website’s files reside on servers around the world and the nearest server is tapped.
  • Limited code and asynchronous loading
    2manydots creates fully customized WordPress websites with minimal code (CSS, HTML and JavaScript). That means no features are loaded that your site does not need. We load scripts last (asynchronously), so a page works even if a script struggles for a moment.