Importance of UX Design for your Website
UX design is key to running an effective website, converting leads, and satisfying customers. But most people aren’t clear on what exactly UX is or how they can start implementing strong UX.
What is UX?
UX stands for User Experience. It encompasses a user’s interactions with a system. That system can be anything from a website to a physical product to a platform. When we talk about UX, we think of how users feel about using a system? Was it easy to use? Or difficult to navigate? Is the layout natural? Or does it get confusing? And finally, does the system look nice or is it fun to use?
What is UX Design?
Many people see the word “design” and assume UX design is all about appearance. But the main purpose of UX design is not to create an aesthetically-pleasing product. Instead, UX design is the process of crafting a product that is user-friendly.
UX design ensures the appearance of a website is functional. It draws from what we know about human behavior to craft sites that not only work but run without user friction. If a site has good UX design, you probably won’t notice it at all. It’s only when we run into poorly done UX design that we begin to think of functionality (or rather, the lack of it).
5 Key Components of UX Design
The widest level of UX design is information architecture. It deals with overall structure and navigation. At this stage, you’ll organize all content into a hierarchy. Once everything is placed in context, arrange it in your system so that each aspect is easy to find. At this global level of UX design, you need to consider the big questions of your project, including business goals, business strategy, and customer needs. The information architecture phase is where the story of the site is crafted for the user.
Go one level down and you’ll find yourself at interaction design. This component deals with how features look on an individual page. As the name implies, you’ll be considering the interactions customers have on specific pages, as well as specific design aspects like color scheme, fonts, icons, and button placement. Interaction design involves delving into the conceptual design with features. At this stage, you decide how to draw attention to the most important information on a page.
The most easily understood component is usability: how easily can visitors use your interface? This is the time to address any difficulties or challenges consumers have when using your product. Usability is more focused on what’s going wrong rather than right. Consider the gap between your expectations and the user’s actual experiences. How can you close that gap? Testing, conducting research such as surveys or focus groups and gathering feedback are the primary activities involved in usability.
In prototyping, UX designers create models of their intended designs and interfaces to ensure they work as planned. Prototypes give you a testing ground to play with ideas before going live. They also allow you to experience advanced animations and interaction which cannot be achieved through a flat concept. Using a small-scale test keeps your UX design process efficient and saves you time and resources. Before releasing a new or updated product, establish confidence in your design by testing with a prototype.
Many people immediately equate any type of design to visual design. While visual design has a place in the UX design process, as you now know, it’s far from the only component. But you shouldn’t overlook the visual components. A strong UX design is both usable and pleasing to the eye, although it may take some trial and error to find this sweet spot. Be wary of focusing too much or exclusively on one or the other. Visual design gets a bad name from the designer stereotype–artsy types who focus on aesthetics at the expense of functionality & usability. But usability and aesthetics are not mutually exclusive. Having a design that looks good increases the chance that customers will enjoy using your product and continue to come back.
For more information on applying strong UX design principles to your website, developing personas, or conducting field research contact our team of experts.