Website design and development is in a stage of transition where the aesthetic value and usability of a website is becoming more and more important to the success of your site. Where people have previously adored content; mostly for SEO & marketing purposes, it is now shifting slightly to look toward visuals and user experience as the key communicator.
What exactly is UX design?
A common misconception is that User Experience (UX) in terms of web design and development relies on the look of a website, but it’s much more than that. Although it does rely on the appearance and layout of a website, it’s more focussed on the experience that a user has when they visit a website.
Creating a unique design and experience
Successful UX design involves intricate design and planning to provide a positive user experience on any device; whether it’s on a desktop, laptop or smartphone. The key is to ensure that a user has to manoeuvre around and across the website, rather than just looking straight at the top of a page and then moving down to the bottom in a straight eye line.
Why is UX Important?
The main aim of UX design is to increase user enjoyment and interaction through the design of a website. The stats from above are just one of the many stats that represent the importance of UX design. Effective user experiences will always attract and retain customers to enquire for more information, and even encourage them to take further action and utilise your service or product.
Clever design leads to effective conversion
There’s a great deal of information online and people consume a lot of data on a daily basis. The key though is whether a user remembers that data they have consumed say three days later. If it’s a bulk of content that they have read, then it’s very unlikely that they will retain the information longer than a few hours. But combine wording with images and infographics, you are more likely to benefit from users having a positive experience on your website. If your information isn’t being retained, then neither will your business or website name.
According to Veopix Design’s Slideshare, 94% of a website user’s first impressions are design-related (source: https://www.slideshare.net/Veopix/less-is-more-veopix-pres), which just goes to show you the importance of web design as a whole. However, it reinforces the reality that you need a great website which looks great and functions seamlessly, especially when you consider the competition out there.
It’s not all about the visuals
Although the visual elements in web design are significant, for user experience itself, you need to produce a strategic process to help define a relevant structure for your users. The stages of UX design include customer insight & research, interaction design, wireframing, prototyping, visual & graphic design, animation, site content and user testing. The combination of these all play a huge role in creating a user experience that is engaging and effective for retaining or converting a site user.
Key Factors to Consider for UX Design
Research your audience
UX design always starts with your audience – there isn’t any point in attempting to design a website without knowing your users’ typical habits. People don’t always behave as you would expect, so defining their requirements through user personas and behavioural analysis is key.
No website is the same, so the UX design for your website in your industry will be different to another.
Simple usability is key
By saying ‘simple usability’, we mean clean, clear-cut and concise usability on your website. No one likes anything complicated; too much complexity can often force people to move on quickly, especially if something is difficult to use or understand. When someone is browsing a website or even a catalogue, they require simple and clear information. People want to feel confident and comfortable in what they are reading, especially if they are thinking about using your services or purchasing your product.
Interactive design through imagery and wording
With the combination of messaging and imagery you can create a positive user experience, but formatting it in a way that is aesthetically beautiful is more important. You don’t want to overload anyone with content, but you will still require content throughout your website. Do you have content on the main pages of your website or do you include messages in the style of infographics or animations? You can be as creative as you wish, but ensure that it sits right with your target market.
Encourage user engagement
Driving user engagement can be one of the hardest aspects to master when it comes to UX design. By user engagement, we are referring to the encouragement of a user taking action on your website; whether it’s getting in touch with you or purchasing a product from you. Offering prompts and call-to-actions is a good way, but you ideally want the design of your website to amaze them enough that they don’t require any prompting to get in touch with you.
The most fundamental point of all…
Your UX design approach to structuring your website should be completed by putting your users’ needs first. The combination of everything we have mentioned previously will produce effective results for your website. However, you will always have to view it from the point of view of your common user.
You’re a user yourself, so imagine yourself going onto various websites to either complete research or purchase a product; how important is the design, structure and look of a website? Would you stay on a website that is clearly dated or offers very little in terms of its design?
Just a blatant EC self-promo!
As a Digital Marketing & User Experience Agency ourselves, we would be more than happy to answer any questions that you have about website and UX design for your own website. Do not hesitate to pick up the phone and give us a call on 01483 779746. Alternatively, we’re available over email too, so drop us a line to firstname.lastname@example.org.