What is UX?
To understand user experience (UX), you will have to know what user interface (UI) is and what it does. User Interface (UI) is a medium through which users interact with your website. Conventionally, it means action buttons, text, visuals or any tool that triggers interaction.
Now, UX in web design is something how the user feels, on interacting with the UI elements of your website or simply when onboarding your website. UX maintains the flow and engages the customer throughout their journey on your website. A well designed UX will have the power to influence the mood or behaviour of the user interacting with your website.
Though designing UX for websites in a different niche like a blog, e-commerce, portfolio or a business website is entirely a different process, there are a few important factors which applies to all in common. Let’s explore these factors and get to know how to design a better UX altogether, one topic at a time.
“UI is focused on the product, a series of snapshots in time. UX focuses on the user and their journey through the product”
– Scott Jenson – Product Strategist at Google
UX – Doing it the right way.
Structure & Navigation – KISS: Keep it Simple, Stupid.
Your site’s structure should let users get what they are looking for without any confusion or unnecessary clicks. Keep it as simple as possible. Overwhelming the user with choices and crowding the site with content is a bad idea, and will seriously hamper your website’s overall usability.
Navigation is one of the most important aspects of any website. Without good navigation, a site becomes useless to its visitors. Using easy and familiar ways for users to get around your site will prevent quick drop out rate of users from your landing page. Use some widely used & easily recognizable navigation styles like breadcrumbs, tabbed navigation, header navigation or footer navigation.
If you are creating a unique design rich custom website, don’t go blindfolded with all your design & coding skills, analyse the need of the user before coming up with a new interaction pattern and ease of understanding it from a user’s perspective.
Facebook & Orkut had many similar features, but the triumph of Facebook over Orkut was mainly because of its clear-cut user interface, quick navigation and faster response time. Orkut was there much before the launch of Facebook, but it was just matter of days for its users to notice that the latter was better.
Reducing visual noise for a better user experience
Don’t overpopulate your website with content. Use white spaces wisely to ensure readability, to make menus & content standout from the rest of your website.
Users don’t read your entire content. They skim it. Try putting information in unordered list / bulleted list.
Use attractive image tile and image galleries to retain user attention. Adding a stunning video to the landing page about your brand/business will be a great experience for users and also increase their “Time on site” which is used as a metric in determining search engine ranking of your website.
Incorporating your brand identity in visual elements of the webpage will make your website look more professional and appealing.
Transition & animation as a user experience
Animation and transition effects that are displayed when you interact with user interface elements are a part of UX design. These micro interactions give websites a speck of life, making devices more human-like when used by a customer. They give a glimpse of joy & curiosity, thus making the encounter with your website a memorable event.
If UX is more about what users ‘feel’ while interacting with your website then these little transitions & animation will help you strike that chord.
Incorporating brand voice in content & context
The personality of your brand is determined by the words you use and the sentences you write. This is known as brand voice.
Brand voice is a crucial part of your business identity. It keeps you distinct from your competitors in the eyes of your customers.
As described by Joanna Ngai, UX Designer at Microsoft, There are three steps in establishing the brand voice.
Find a brand personality.
Define a brand voice.
Translate it into a user experience.
Speaking of context, don’t you ever dare to put up a full page pop-up subscription or signup form as soon as a user lands on your page, no one really bats an eye on that thing. The user will go straight to the close button even before the form loads completely. Don’t use such annoying notifications & pop-up forms unless there is real relevance or urgency.
It’s not about demanding attention, It’s all about earning it.
Some technical aspects
Here are some technical factors which highly tend to influence the user experience:
Page load time – the time it takes to download and display the entire content of a web page in the browser window.
Server response time – the amount of time it takes for a web server to respond to a request from a browser.
Responsive design – Ability of web pages to detect the visitor’s screen size and orientation and change the layout accordingly.
Browser speed & limitations.
Even the user’s mobile phone performance, speed and user’s internet connection play a vital role in defining one’s experience.
Impact of doing it right
Better conversion/task accomplishment.
Better ranking on Google search result as a good UX positively influence several ranking factors used by Google such as Time on site, Click through rate, Bounce rate and more.
Better user satisfaction greatly increases the chance of user retention.
Building trustworthiness, brand value & reputation.
More than anything, a chance to make a memory. As a millennial you would have already realized, making an impression in this highly competitive, attention seeking world is not an easy task. Trust us when we say your UX will get you there.
“The chance to make a memory is the essence of brand marketing.”
– Steve Jobs