Story-powered UX Design Drives Conversions and Reduces Bounce Rates
What does your web design have in common with the Velociraptor roller coaster at Universal Studios? UX design.
The roller coaster, or Velocicoaster as the branding geniuses have dubbed it, takes visitors on a thrilling journey through a fantastical interactive world and then drops them off at a gift shop. It’s the magic of storytelling, user experience, and commerce all packaged into one.
Your website can do that, too.
You have to invite your visitors into a broader narrative if you want them to stick around.
The hard sell on your homepage may work fine. But if you expect deeper engagement from your visitors, you must start with a well-designed, story-driven website.
Why you need a well-designed website
Your website is the first interaction many potential customers will have with your brand, especially if your brand relies on SEO or e-commerce to drive business.
A well-designed website creates a positive first impression on visitors. It instantly communicates professionalism, credibility, and attention to detail, which can influence how users perceive your brand or organization.
Whether you mean for it to or not, once a visitor has seen your website, it immediately becomes a part of the sales equation.
User flow and UX design drive conversion
User flow is the click-path that a typical user will take when they visit your website. Think of it like a roadmap.
Like road maps, some user flows are easier to navigate than others. That’s where user experience (UX) comes in. User experience is web design jargon for: How it feels to use a website.
Many experiential factors, from mundane input forms to exciting augmented reality experiences, define UX. But, regardless of complexity, all websites should consider the following UX design elements:
- User-friendly interface
- You must make it easy for your visitors to do what you’re asking them to do. The first mission of a website is not to “look cool” or to satisfy the board of directors. The mission is to convert.
- Intuitive navigation
- Will a first-time user take the desired next steps or find the information they’re looking for without assistance? Using CTAs, forms, and intuitive e-commerce leads to higher conversion rates.
- Seamless interactions
- Each stage of your user flow should lead to the next without roadblocks or errors. Have you ever left a website because it was too difficult to process a payment or complete a form?
Analyzing your website’s bounce rate is one great way to see if your web flow and UX are engaging users or leaving them confused. Good UX design and user flow can turn your website roadmap into a treasure map.
What’s a bounce rate?
Your website’s bounce rate is a comparison between the number of users who leave your site after arriving and the number of users who click further. If someone clicks a link to your website and then closes the browsing window or navigates away, it’s considered a bounce. Search engine algorithms favor sites with lower bounce rates because a low bounce rate indicates a helpful or entertaining website.
How do I determine my website’s bounce rate?
You can determine your bounce rate by dividing the number of bounces by the number of total visitors:
Bounces / Visits = Bounce rate
Or, if you’re not into math, you can look at your Google Analytics.
Average bounce rates are hard to pin down because they vary from industry to industry, but if you can keep your bounce rate 40% or below, you’re on the right track.
How do you decrease your bounce rate?
Tell a better story and make it easier to navigate.
Humans are wired for storytelling. Your website should be, too.
Storytelling is one of the key differentiators between humans and other mammals. We use language to connect, express emotion, and entertain, but we also use stories to organize, strategize, and conduct commerce.
Here’s how Content Workshop Founder David Ebner broke it down on the “Breaking Through in Cybersecurity” podcast:
“Great storytelling has to do with, in my mind, connection. That’s what makes it a piece of art. Suppose you can build that shared emotional connection. If you can have a target audience and have an emotion you want them to feel after consuming your story, that is truly the art form of storytelling.”
Since storytelling is wired into the human brain, we should use stories to organize an effective user experience. A good story, especially in the marketing context, starts with what you know and follows the Three Es:
- You can’t expect visitors to be interested in your organization or website. Make it worth their while. Give them something to talk about.
- Most website visits start with the user asking Google a question. Answer your audience’s questions to earn more traffic.
- Once visitors hit your website, you must ensure they continue interacting until they’ve taken the desired action. Engage them and invite them deeper into your story.
Convert Your Narrative Arc into a User Flow
When your brand narrative informs your user flow and UX design, your website invites visitors to engage deeper with your brand story. Your narrative serves as a natural guide through your predetermined user flow.
Pick a story to tell.
What is the story you want your average visitor to see?
We’re not talking about Shelia from the board of directors or Hank from HR. What is the story you want your primary audience to see? That’s your story. Your UX design and user flow should emanate from there.
The best web design is optimized for a primary user experience, beginning at the home page and ending with a desired action. The best UX design serves as a flag for your organization’s best customers — letting them know you’re there and inviting them into your sales funnel.
Lemonade lets users tell the story.
Lemonade Insurance gets straight to the point with a bold headline and consistent call to action. The headline “Forget Everything You Know About Insurance” invites visitors into the story, and the immediate call to action, “Check our prices,” invites them into deeper engagement.
With each scroll down the homepage, visitors to Lemonade.com are shown short combinations of text and imagery that reinforce the original headline, each accompanied by another call to action.
Every piece of content tells one consistent story: Lemonade is trying to create a better insurance experience, and they want to prove it to you. From the homepage, seamless input fields and interactive steps guide the user through the quote process until ultimately offering a personalized insurance plan.
It’s a choose-your-own-adventure book, but for insurance.
The Content Workshop Web Journey
Not every organization needs such a complex user experience. For instance, Content Workshop offers highly customized services that an algorithm can’t fulfill, so our user flow needs to follow a broader story.
The Content Workshop website is based on the story of how a partner most successfully moves through our service offerings to leverage their brand storytelling fully. Each numbered step represents a service Content Workshop offers while seeding the idea that the services yield the best results when completed in order.
We also gave each service its own micro-story in the form of a tagline so that visitors unfamiliar with marketing jargon can visualize how their brand fits into the Content Workshop story:
- Strategy: “Deliver Your Story to the Right Audience”
- Brand: “Bring Your Brand Story to Life”
- Web Design: “Unveil your Story to the World”
- Content: “Put Your Story to Work”
Storytelling is SEO.
Everyone is worried about their website’s SEO rankings. And it’s understandable since most of the internet’s traffic is funneled through a search engine.
Websites that employ story-driven web design, your site is already optimized for SEO.
If your website tells a compelling story about plumbing services in Lubbock, Texas, it will probably show up on the first page of results when someone googles “best plumbers near me” from their broken kitchen in Lubbock.
Need help mapping your story onto your user flow?
At Content Workshop, we know that a good website is a powerful and even profitable tool. Our team of web developers, strategists, and storytellers work with organizations every day to build better websites that tell better stories.