Considering the user’s point of view is essential for a well performing website, but the concept is not widely understood outside of the design and tech world, so we’ve asked one of our web designers to answer some of the internet’s most frequently asked questions about User Experience Design.
With the world of technology constantly changing and evolving, it can be hard to keep up with all of the new terminology and methods companies are using to provide their service. This gap in understanding can lead to frustrated customers and businesses being less capable of meeting their buyers’ needs.
When we’re talking about website design, User Interface and User Experience are two terms that are now finally getting the recognition and attention they deserve. Considering the user’s point of view is essential for a well performing website, but the concept is not widely understood outside of the design and tech world, so we’ve asked one of our web designers to answer some of the internet’s most frequently asked questions about User Experience Design.
Not exactly, but they do work together. UX stands for User Experience and UI stands for User Interface- they are connected fields and work together, but they are not interchangeable. The Experience you have when using a product or service encompasses how you feel, how the product works, how you expect it to work, any problems you might have and so much more – whereas the Interface is what you’re interacting with i.e. The website or product itself and how it looks.
Improved User Experience and User Interfaces can boost your business in lots of ways – it could increase your sales, drive customers to a new part of your website, or save your employees time! Giving your customers a positive experience when they visit your website encourages repeat business.
UX designers are really like an advocate for a customer or user of the product – our job is making things easy to use and effective, so that everyone’s experience of a product or service is as smooth as possible. Businesses that invest in UX show their customers that they care about them beyond a sale. It shows that they value their time and their input and want to do better. By designing your product/service/website around customer input, you’re making something more efficient and most importantly, easier for your customers to use to ensure that they continue to be your customers.
Firstly, we like to start by chatting through the goals or vision our client has for their website – is it a whole new site, are we improving something existing or is there an issue we need to get to the bottom of? We need to understand the problem and the users in order to improve our client’s product or website.
Then we move onto the Discovery phase – this really varies from project to project. This can include competitive benchmarking, surveys, user testing sessions and card sorting. It’s important to pick your research methods carefully to ensure you’re gaining insights that will inform the user journey, not just creating data for the sake of it.
Once we’ve gathered all these insights from our own users, and/or other competitor products, we Analyse our data. This helps us identify how our users are using the product and where the “pain points” are with the current product or competitors' products. Pain Points are points in the user's journey where they run into issues that interrupt the flow of the journey. Depending on the severity of the issues, some pain points can cause a user to abandon a product altogether – so it’s incredibly important to identify these kinds of issues before we move on to building a new journey.
When we’ve gathered all possible insights from our analysis, we can move on to our Design phase. Here we use the insights we’ve gained to design a journey with the least amount of friction for our users. This involves generating the first steps in our new/improved product or website, beginning with some low-fi pieces such as sketching out the journey and making low-fi wireframes of the UI to evaluate an idea before we progress.
When we have some basic visuals of how the site/app might look we can take the opportunity to build a Prototype. A prototype is a mock-up of a site/app/product that helps you test your idea without going through all the time and expense of developing a fully finished product. Prototypes help us catch any issues at an early stage and see how users will understand and interact with our product.
Once the Prototype has been rigorously tested with users from the target demographic, and any structural and design changes have been made, it’s time to push into the final stage – Development. Here we hand over our prototype and detailed wireframes to our developers, who build the site to our specifications. Detailed wireframes are essential for a smooth build process, as we define everything from how the site will look visually, to the types of transitions we’d like and how long they should last. After a few checks and tests with a dummy site, we’re now ready to Launch our brand-new, user-friendly website to the world!
No matter what the purpose of your site is, the same thing determines how effective it is. From e-commerce sites to blogs or portfolios, a website is only used if it’s easy to use. The user needs to be able to find what they’re searching for, in the place they would expect to find it. If a user has to work hard to carry out an action on your site, they’re likely to log off and look elsewhere – intuition is key here, knowing where to click and what will happen makes a good user experience. As one of UX’s pioneers Steve Krug says:
“Don’t make me think.”
One survey found that 70% of consumers abandon the online purchase process because of a bad user experience. Through user testing, we can really understand your customers, why they’re using your site and how they move around the website when they’re looking for something. We then optimise the site to match their behaviour and make their experience as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
As UX designer Curt Collinsworth says:
“The way to earn consumer loyalty and competitive advantage is to deliver the most satisfying experience.”
Still have questions? Our web design team are here to help.
Get in touch to chat about how we can optimise your website so that it works well for your customers and your business.