If you want your website to succeed you’ve got to put your users first. But when it comes to design, how is this possible? It’s simple: By focussing on your users. Website user experience, or UX as it is better known, has become an integral part of the design and development process of any quality websites.
UX covers a wide range of different elements that make your website easy to use and explore, which ensures a great experience for every visitor to your site. Let’s have a closer look at what makes a great website user experience.
What is User Experience Design?
UX can be defined as how a person reacts and feels when they interact with a digital product, such as a website. This user-centred design ethic covers many factors, some of which can be controlled by designers and developers, but also individual user preferences. The essential guiding principles of ensuring an attention-grabbing website user experience are:
- Aesthetic design
You should bear in mind that UX design principles apply to both website and mobile user experiences.
Why Your Website User Experience Matters
Great UX design is as important as any other design element on your website. After all, your site may look great, but if it is difficult or confusing to navigate then any visitors will quickly click away. Intuitive UX design ensures that customers quickly understand your site, can use it with ease and have a great time doing so.
Online content should always be focused on the end user. After all, they’re the ones visiting and reading your website, so by designing for the user rather than your own preferences, your content is far more likely to be successful.
For large websites or those with many intricate parts, like eCommerce sites, UX design is a valuable tool that can streamline user journeys and simplify navigation. IT not only makes products or services easier to find, but also helps to increase conversions as users buy into the implicit trustworthiness of a site designed with their needs in mind.
You may think keyword stuffing and click-bait worthy calls-to-action are the way to drive sales, but users are becoming savvier and expect an online experience tailored specifically to them. This is why UX is vital for larger brands.
Without careful planning, complex websites can quickly become cluttered, chaotic and confusing, leading to users clicking off.
Small & Medium Businesses
Arguably even more important than for larger brands who can leverage their name and search page rankings, great UX design is essential for start-ups and small businesses.
Smaller scale companies don’t have a strong reputation to rely upon and need to provide their service or product in such a way that it makes a long-lasting first impression. A website created according to UX design principles can help growing companies expand more quickly and gain a great reputation.
Without the limitations applied to established brands – e.g. is it on brand? Can we really do this? – Smaller companies have a great opportunity to experiment and find the best way to entice, connect to and retain customers.
Responsive UX Design
As we move into a more mobile world, so UX design should be incorporated into responsive web design. Users are increasingly using a mobile or tablet to access the web and they expect just as fluid an experience as they would on a desktop or laptop computer. Whether this means taking advantage of the new Accelerated Mobile Page (AMP) platform or embracing simplified design elements, mobile is at the forefront of the UX battle.
Always do your research and ensure you give users the best experience possible whatever they device they visit your website from.
The Benefits of Good UX Design
Great UX design is key to the success of many leading businesses and online companies. Without an engaging user experience potential customers simply won’t return to your site. The key benefits of UX-focused design include:
- Improve website performance
- Improve brand credibility and exposure
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Increased conversions and click-throughs
- More return customers
- Increased sales
- Reduce resource costs (e.g. maintenance & design costs)
The more people appreciate and enjoy your site, the more it will be shared socially and soon you will reap the rewards.
UX and the Design Process
Incorporating UX into the design process is all about changing the way you think.
Your customers should always be at the forefront of your mind, even before you begin any design work. Consider the goals for your website and then think about how you want to connect these to the target user.
Knowing your target market inside out is essential for creating their ideal online experience. Creating buyer or user personas can help flesh out design and content decisions. It may even flag up issues you hadn’t previously considered. Always try and carry out the relevant research so you know exactly why your product or service solves a problem in your target user’s life. With this in mind you can deliver a thoughtful website user experience that helps visitors find (and hopefully buy into!) your product or service.
It is also essential to get feedback throughout the design process to ensure that a great website user experience has remained at the core of your work. Testing every single change to the user interface will give you the chance to see what is going to be most effective and engaging for your target user.
Great UX design is all about securing the right emotional reaction from users as they browse your site. It is about ensuring that they have a fantastic experience but also react in the way you were hoping for. Websites with fantastic aesthetics or a lots of quality content but that offer a poor overall website user experience will simply not have the same success as ones that are tailored towards the people viewing your site.
It is your users who make or break the success of your business and so they really do need to be positioned at the centre of all you do. With a UX-focused design approach, you can be sure your website puts the user first.