What is UX Design
UX (User Experience ) Design is the process of analysing, anticipating and implementing how a user or customer will interact with your website.
From the initial design phase, right through to production and post-production launch of the site, it is essential you understand your customers’ needs, how they will interact with your site and also how you intend them to interact with your website.
Through a thorough understanding of relevant markets, market research specific to your industry, customer habits and the needs of your direct customer base, you can better focus website design to produce a better user experience, grow traffic and increase leads and product sales.
What UX Design isn't...
It's not just the pretty stuff!
UX Design is the type of cake, the layers, the number of tiers and the shape. UI design is the decorative icing.
Generally, when people think of website design they think of the look and style of a website; the colours used, the spacing, the animations.
Elements such as the styling of content areas, their text, interactive sections, images and buttons all fall under what is known as UI (User Interface) Design.
While UX and UI Design are intrinsically linked, UX design is more the foundations on which UI design is built.
UX Design ultimately determines the content that should appear and how it should displayed to create a smooth user experience, whereas UI design is the layer on top of this which conveys the UX design to the customer.
Why UX Design is important
As mentioned previously, UX Design is important as it not only creates a better experience for customers visiting your site but also gives you a greater understanding of your customers, why they are interacting with your site / service and can lead to increased sales.
The research is conclusive; if a customer has a positive experience on your site and can quickly navigate to what they’re looking for to easily fulfil their needs, they are more likely to revisit the website and also recommend it to others.
UX Design Approach
There are numerous steps which should be followed when building your UX Design, which we’ll cover in a later blog post. However, it also important to highlight the the core considerations that must go into all UX Design which form the foundation for all future conceptual work.
Click through the different tabs to read about the different principles
Accessibility covers a wide range of different website features but they key concept is that the website is accessible to all users where possible.
According to SCOPE, 1 in 5 people in the UK have a long term illness, impairment or disability. Ensuring these members of the public are able to easily and effectively use your website is an extremely important consideration during the design process.
Key considerations include (but are not limited to):
– Including high contrast text and colour palettes which are detrimental to colour blind website visitors; this may also necessitate the inclusion of colour filters or overlays.
– Ensuring content and text is easily readable and arranges itself correctly under different magnifications, for visitors who may be using a screen magnifier or have eyesight problems. Easy to read text is also important so that it can be picked up by screen reading text-to-voice software.
– Implementing clear and simple navigation with correctly labelled elements, to assist those with motor difficulties or that may be using speech recongition software, specially adapted user inputs or an on-screen keyboard emulator.
There are other considerations that aren’t just about usability for visitors with impairments or disabilities. For example, marketing your product abroad might require the use of a language filters applied to the website.
Ultimately, website accessibility is about making your website easy to use and navigate for everyone.
At Ground Up Digital, we work closely with partner company Kreative INC who are WordPress accessibility specialists.
Credibility is the core of every brand and it is important a website instills a sense of trust in all those who visit it.
A professional website build will convey this intuitively but fundamental elements such as a security certificate (SSL), contact information and accreditations can also build trust with a visitor to your website.
Furthermore, including your company’s actual product or service imagery is a visual way of demonstrating the quality of what you offer.
Website copy is important here as well, ensuring all content is up to date, honest and not misleading leads to increased trust with users.
Finally, the inclusion of reviews from a trusted website demonstrates to visitors you are an established brand which has generated historically positive user experiences.
Desirability is driven by a multitude of factors, including layout of the site, colour schemes, branding and brand identity.
Most brands have a carefully created identity which invokes specific emotion in their customers and makes their product desirable to a targeted customer base.
Identifying the intention you have for your brand’s identity (e.g. premium, cost-effective, budget) and also what a customer’s preconceptions of your brand may be, is key in developing the core layout and styling of the website.
Colour plays a huge part in this and understanding how colours can have effects on customers is an important consideration in the design.
Intuitively we recognise this without even realising; McDonalds colours of bright red and yellow give us a sense of urgency and certainly don’t convey a premium quality and I don’t think anyone could imagine using the same colour scheme for a Spa or Health Food shop.
What’s the point of having information or services which cannot be located?
At the initial design phase, it is essential that key consideration is given to the navigational design of the website.
Ensuring all relevant content can easily be found or discovered is imperative in ensuring visitors remain on your website. A visitor will quickly abandon your website if they cannot very quickly find the information, product or service they require.
In addition, many sites can have such a wealth of information that it can be overwhelming for a user of the site; for example, you may stock 500 different styles of shoes but very few customers would happily sift through them all one by one until they find the ones they are looking for.
To solve this, easy to use filtering options which reduce the content available on demand can also improve the findability of your products and drive customers more directly to the information or product they require.
While many websites can look incredibly stylish and have amazingly curated elements, are they useful? Will they help in the customers’ journey through the website?
It is important to understand exactly why an element on a page is included and that it is not included just for its own sake.
Through a deep knowledge of the product or service you are offering, you can ensure all content on your website is relevant and serves a purpose.
Furthermore, a website’s usability dictates how smooth the journey is to the person visiting the website. Ensuring there is no functionality which unnecessarily disrupts the expected experience and even better, correctly anticipates the expected experience without the need for user interaction (e.g. being automatically logged in without having to log in upon each visit) creates a more efficient user journey.
Usefulness demonstrates how fully understanding your product or service leads to an overall better User Experience.
Establishing a product’s usefulness or its effectiveness is key in understanding how to market your product successfully.
Once you understand its core purpose and why this appeals to customers or users, this can then be used as a key focus for the UX design strategy, helping to better market your product and guiding your audience to the information they want to see and also the information that is most relevant to them.
This ensures that information implemented on a website is useful and relevant, reducing content bloat and creating a better overall, more streamlined user experience.
Underpinning each design decision should be ‘What is its value?’
As mentioned previously, how useful something is determines what content should be displayed and ultimately how it should be displayed.
If the content is adding nothing of value to the website, either through unnecessary bloat or redundancy, it creates a website with a less streamlined flow.
This is a key consideration not only for a designer but also for the client as this ensures that costs are driven down by only including content which is relevant and not spending time on unnecessary or negligible elements.
In a nutshell....
UX Design is the key design approach that underpins all decisions which go into a website build (and other products and services).
It forms the foundation for the UI designer to work their magic and make beautiful and functional websites.
Through the use of the core UX Design principles, you can better understand your product / service, your customers and ultimately create a much smoother experience for them through intelligent and deliberate design choices.
At Ground Up Digital we are constantly adapting our approach and analysing past builds, monitoring industry leaders in design and marketing and also reading the latest science behind User Experience and Interaction. This helps us evolve and improve and constantly strive for an improved service.