Making all the difference with planning user experience for a WordPress theme. Here’s how we do it…
A step-by-step approach to planning user experience of your WordPress web theme content.
“Engineering a winning user experience within your WordPress theme development takes a granular approach to strategy…this is why we choose not to cut corners.” – Selmore
Delivering a useful informational service to ‘seekers’ (somebody seeking information) is the primary function of your website.
What kind of experience they have when interacting with your website content is really the determinant of whether or not your website was successful in bringing them closer to (or even to the destination of) a solution to their problem.
Therefore, planning in advance the user’s journeyings as they wade through your web content will grant you the ability to better layout presentation.
The following is our train of thought when handling the issue of user experience with WordPress theme building:
Identify the user segments
Users don’t belong being under one generic umbrella. Each user is of course unique – but there are meaningful rules by which you could cluster a group of users together.
An identifiable group of users, would be called a market segment by traditional marketing terms. The glue which would stick your user group members together is ‘common purpose‘. The purpose being the reason why they visited your site in the first place – i.e. what kind of information were they looking for and why?
This common rule will lead you to cluster your website communications according to user demand.
What are common themes of user interest and how will users relate them? This is where you can quickly and effectively compound relevance within your website to the benefit of all involved.
The more relevant the experience, the more engaged the users will be, the more engaged… the longer and deeper their visits and therefore the greater the value they will find in your website. Now you’re building your business online!
Developing WordPress themes which deepen this relationship with users by offering consistently valuable experiences over the long term is essential for succeeding in online business development.
Identify the user intention or purpose is the connection between the content offered on any given page/post and the checkpoint which the business owner wants to bring the user to.
Funnelling user interest into strategically stationed exchanges or pre-sales transactions sets landmarks, allows for qualifying and quantifying goal achievement.
This acts as a gauge for measuring or monitoring how effective your content publishing plans actually are.
Gated content is one such way of assessing the purpose of users as they engage with your website – this is when a content piece is placed beyond, for example, a contact form declaring email ID.
Establishing the purpose of users in visiting your website is essential to achieving business goals using web marketing. Knowing your customer (KYC) i.e. researching their needs 1st hand or 2nd hand is a prerequisite for any user experience plan.
If you are developing a WordPress theme for a specific industry or sector, ensure you take note of user purpose trends for optimizing results.
Users finding what information they need as simply as possible i.e. with as few clicks as possible and easily signposted, is how you will encourage what Google Analytics console calls, Behaviour Flow.
Having relevant pieces of the information puzzle within simple reach at any point of the learning journey for users will only encourage them to continue building up their understanding on each visit.
Whilst serving information should be contiguous, there is such a thing as driving a user to distraction with confusing interruptions. Establishing a balanced and steady online learning environment for users is key to growing your audiences.
WordPress themes which mimic the usability (not necessarily, design) of highly successful web presentation, such as – Wikipedia, for example, will have the legs to carry most businesses/organisations successfully on line.
Making sure the key messages are clearly arrayed within a WordPress theme is critical for reinforcement. Reinforcement of the main the theme and benefits of the content builds brand value and improves ongoing engagement with users.
The online marketplace is expanding. Newly created content washes into the Google index archives continually, each piece proposing to address the problems of users. With so much choice and at such little cost to the user other than sparing the reading time, content providers have increasing challenges to hold attention.
Where users don’t easily recognise the key messages of a website, they will move on and seek for an easier experience. WordPress themes which keep it minimal in arrangement and prioritise simplicity grant web owners greater long term investment value.
In any process of engaging an audience of users to trust a service or product, there are always objections. It’s a natural feature of learning.
These are the sticking points which users have during their journey with your content, which occur where users have questions or doubts.
These objections aren’t necessarily negative. But rather, when challenges are overcome this garners trust and ongoing engagement of users. Don’t avoid the objections, you’ll lose the trust of users. Tackle them head on and maintain engagement.
An FAQ page is a popular method of addressing objections by web developers. When planning your WordPress theme make the investment early on of thinking through how you will build in objection handling.
How to get talking with your users? This is the question which answers the important issue of engagement. The conversation you have with them online, is the starter for the conversation you want to have with them offline, or at least outside of your website.
To get talking with users of your service or product and to have them talk back is the fundamental purpose of a successful website.
What are the principals behind getting this right? Like with any relationship, it beings with having genuine care about the other party (being web user in this case) and then doing what comes naturally thereafter – giving them what you have, where it can help.
This is the way to think whilst building your WordPress theme for best engagement rates with users.
Users finding useful links to what they are looking for at any given time is key to prolonging the duration and frequency of engagement. A well oiled user experience is aided swiftly by well planned website navigation, regarding best practices.
Users getting lost who can’t find their way back home, is one way to lose engagement. Leaving an obvious and useful trail which leads back to major landmarks is reassuring for user experience.
Think carefully about primary and secondary navigation when building your WordPress theme.
Messages can be conveyed by a variety of media and a WordPress website is equipped to handle most (…the only exception that immediately comes to mind is, of course, offline media – it would be unfair to expect your WordPress theme to handle this!)
Websites which deliver learning well, offer healthy portions of a variety of media to grant users choice in how they wish to digest the information. Depending on the engagement habits of any particular user and any given time, there may be great value to gain as a content provider by offering a diverse range of choice.
Remembering simplicity and its merits – content providers would do well to practice delivering their messages across all popular media formats to optimize the user experience of their web visitors.
When developing a WordPress theme, detailed planning of use and layout of various media types will only add impact with engagement once LIVE.
Respect the wishes of users to take away and chew on their preferred content at home, rather than having to consume on-site.
Snapshot jPegs, downloadable recordings and PDF versions of posts and pages, are all examples of means by which take home value of content may be quickly achieved.
Think about where such options may be appropriate and how they ought best to be integrated into your WordPress theme.
Customising WordPress template files for optimal user experience takes your trusty A4 pad to the limits. Making sure you include all necessary engagement enhancing features within your templates gives the website owner a robust and future ready content presentation.
This additional thought and consideration will save much cost in the long run, saving on revisions and redevelopments.
This concludes our round-up on planning user experience for you WordPress website.
Do you have any questions about planning user experience?
Feel free to ask.