Poor web design choices make it harder for readers to engage with online content. That’s why we put together this guide with the best user experience upgrades for magazine publishers.
Content will always be king in the publishing world, but the way that content is displayed online plays a big role in how visitors will respond. For the publishers of online magazines, minor adjustments to a website’s design can actually speed up page load times. That has the cascading effect of causing readers to stay on those websites for longer and engage with content more deeply.
If you’re making plans to expand your own digital publication, then you should carve out time to talk to your developer about upgrading the user experience while you’re at it. After all, what use is it to invest in a sleek website design if the user experience isn’t up to par?
What Is User Experience?
User experience is a broad term that we use to describe the value that a website brings to its visitors. When most people think about user experience, they imagine beautiful interfaces and sleek designs. But in the world of online magazine publishing, a high quality user experience involves more than just front-end web design.
The best user experience upgrades for magazine publishers are ones that enhance reader satisfaction and improve the website’s usability and accessibility. Visiting a magazine publisher’s website should be a pleasurable experience. It’s up to the publisher’s web developers to come up with strategies to make website interactions more positive, keeping user interfaces beautiful and simple, whenever possible.
User experience involves processes, as well. Is the design of the website usable for the publisher’s community of online readers? We can test this in a number of ways, although prototyping and A/B testing are most common.
In recent years, magazine publishers have started investing more heavily in improving the user experience on their websites. Magazines like The Atlantic and Mic have hired dedicated user experience managers. It’s not uncommon now for digital publishers to test products and features with selected users before releasing them more widely to the public. Publishers are upgrading the user experience on their websites in the hopes of differentiating themselves, and they recognize that readers aren’t going to pay for subscriptions if they don’t enjoy being on their websites.
Let’s take a look at a few of the best user experience upgrades for magazine publishers.
Top 3 User Experience Upgrades for Magazine Publishers
Forms that encourage readers to sign-up for email newsletters or paid subscriptions should be short and to the point. The more questions a visitor is required to answer, the higher the chances that he will leave before completing the sign-up process.
Go through your existing sign-up forms and look for questions you can remove without losing too much value. Do you really need to ask readers their gender? How about their phone numbers? For each question you remove, you increase the number of people who will complete your sign-up forms.
2. Reconsider Video Auto-Play Features
Do the videos on your website start playing automatically as readers scroll down the page? If so, you might want to think about the value that auto-play videos provide and whether that value is enough to offset the potential downsides. Surveys show that most readers dislike auto-play videos. Consider whether your videos are the exception, or whether your user experience would be improved by eliminating the auto-play feature.
3. Offer up “suggested” search terms
Do readers frequently search your website archives for content? If your search bar is getting regular use, consider upgrading to a suggested search terms feature. Search suggestions, also known as auto-complete or auto-suggest, are recommended queries that appear in a dropdown box as website visitors type keywords into your search bar. Search suggestions help readers find the results they’re looking for more quickly. They also show readers which keywords will generate the best results, and they decrease the chances that readers will miss out on content because of accidental typos.
Web Publisher PRO works with top digital publishers to develop goal-oriented strategies that focus on increasing audience engagement and establishing new revenue channels. Learn more about how we can apply these strategies to your publication by scheduling a consultation with our industry-leading experts.