User experience guidelines

4. Tailor your experience to your users’ situation

Keep these user experience principles in mind when optimizing your site

Your site needs to provide a great experience to users whenever and wherever they need it. It’s important to put some thought into how your users use your site differently in different situations. Be sure to consider their time constraints and whether they are on a mobile device or a computer.

Tips:
Use these tips to help you think about the use cases your users might experience:
  • Situation: What situation is the user in that caused them to seek out information on your site?
  • Limit features: The mobile version of your site should only include the core features of your site that will help your users find the information they’re looking for. Save the other advanced features for your desktop site where your users have a little bit more time.
  • Speed: Users only have a couple of seconds so make sure your site loads lightning fast. Google’s Page Speed tool can help you optimize your load time.
  • Forgiveness: Users make mistakes, especially on mobile. Let them easily undo and return to where they were, without having to use the back button.

Example:
Suppose you’re a restaurant review site. How does a mobile user’s behavior differ from that of a desktop user? First off, mobile users are probably on the move; they could even be walking down the street as they browse your site. They won’t have time to navigate through several pages of restaurants like they do on the desktop site. They expect your site to use the phone’s GPS to locate them and show them popular restaurants nearby based on their search. Your site can even optimize the review experience for mobile by showing the most popular short reviews since users don’t have time to read long reviews.

Remember, it’s all about thinking about the situation that the user is in when they reach your site and tailoring the user experience to match.

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