Key points on this page:
- UX focuses on creating a satisfying and usable experience for the end user by considering the bigger picture, beyond just graphics and content.
- Visual appeal is important, but it should not be the sole focus. A website needs to be easy to navigate and functional to encourage user interaction.
- Being mobile-friendly and responsive is crucial, considering the increasing use of smartphones for internet access.
It’s vital that we consider user experience throughout the website design process, including visual appeal, website structure, understanding the target audience, and mobile responsiveness.
User Experience (UX) is not just another buzzword. It’s a method of design that works. It could be the deciding factor in whether your visitors stay or go.
The concept is relatively simple. Instead of focusing on one or two areas such as graphics and content, look at the bigger picture and create a space with the satisfaction and usability of the end user in mind. So, what should you consider when it comes to User Experience?
The way things look
Everyone wants a visually appealing website, as it can often be the first point of call for potential customers. The way things look is important, but cannot be the only factor at play. A website needs to be easy to navigate and functional to encourage interaction.
Some things just work. Take the Google blue, for example. While it might not be the most appealing colour, everyone on the internet understands it is a clickable link and it encourages engagement. Back in 2010 competitor, Bing experimented with link colour choices for their advertising network, and ended back at a Google blue.
The decision to go #0044CC was said to be financial as it contributed to a massive 80 million dollar per year revenue increase. UX is about knowing your user, and following their basic expectations. 39% of people will close a website due to slow loading images as poor load times detract from the user experience.
How the website is structured
Consider how you browse the internet and what you would personally expect from a website. For example, you would likely expect the navigation to be clear, easy to read and featured near the top of the page. At the very least a user would expect to be easily able to find contact information and a site free from broken links.
Often UX designers will use wireframes to determine the potential experience of website visitors. This could be similar to a sitemap, but will give a visual representation of how things will flow. There are a range of different programs which will help you map out your progress, or you can go old school and stick to a pencil and paper.
Knowing your audience
To design a website with user experience and customer satisfaction in mind, it is essential that you understand your target audience. This can be done by studying your analytics, as well as surveying current customers and stakeholders.
This may be time consuming but this type of data is invaluable in determining the form and functionality of your website. It isn’t always as easy as asking users what they want, as your customer Jenny may love cats, but that doesn’t mean a homepage full of furry feline friends is going to suit a website for a mechanic. Research, research, research and take a little bit of logic, a bit of observation and a bit of user interaction.
Be mobile-friendly and responsive
According to data from Sensis (June 2017), smartphone usage is on the rise. 81% of Australians use a smartphone to access the internet, compared to 59% who use a laptop.
Once again, the importance of a mobile friendly and responsive design is significant and this is one factor which falls under the UX umbrella.
The same process should apply to both desktop and mobile versions, to ensure the navigation, layout and design is user friendly and creates an enjoyable experience instead of a frustrating one.