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User Experience is a science, an art, and an ever-evolving technology that’s more relevant today than ever. It is essentially the craft of making websites, apps, and software as accessible as possible and easy to use. User experience involves graphic design, usability, visitor engagement, information architecture, and much more.
As someone who first opens up an app or website, you’ll probably only notice the user experience aspect of it if it’s deficient. If the user experience design (or UX design) is lacking, you may find yourself clicking off pretty fast. Signs of improper UX designs include a website that’s hard to navigate, fonts that are hard to read, large chunks of texts, and difficulty in finding the information you’re looking for.
What Is User Experience (UX)?
User experience is commonly known as UX. It’s a process that allows apps or websites to create a pleasant, relevant, and seamless experience for users. Strictly speaking, user experience isn’t web design. It’s the process of thought that goes into a product before it is launched as a website or app.
A UX designer is a multi-talented professional that masters skills such as branding, design, and function. But more importantly, a UX designer is a great researcher who understands how people use apps and websites, and what they try to get out of them. UX designers know how to adapt websites to the response that they get, striving to improve them at all stages of development.
User Experience (UX) vs. User Interface (UI)
User Experience (UX) and User Interface (UI) are very similar concepts that often work closely together. User Interface is the science behind how people interact with software, systems, and applications. On the other hand, UX is a lot more all-encompassing. It’s not just about the direct way that users deal with a product, but about everything else that plays a role in the user’s experience. This includes things that UI doesn’t deal with, such as the “feel” of a website or extensive research based on users’ experience.
Key UX Design Principles
Peter Morville, a UX pioneer defined 7 principles that comprise the science of UX Design. These principles include usefulness, usability, findability, credibility, desirability, accessibility, and value. They’re all interconnected, and a good user experience needs to involve all of these aspects.
First of all, the product needs to be useful. UX designers start off any project by asking themselves “Why would users use this product?”, “What is the user looking for?”, “What need does this product fulfill?”.
To be successful, a product needs to be easy to use. UX designers need to make sure that websites are easy to navigate or that apps are easy to use. The dominant idea is that users shouldn’t have to work hard in order to use a product, everything should be simple, clear, and intuitive.
When you open a website to find the opening hour of a shop, you must be able to find it in a matter of seconds. If information isn’t “findable”, the UX design has failed. The idea here is that people have relatively low attention spans and that a more “findable” product will inevitably be more popular than one that’s not “findable”.
For any company, creating a sense of trust and authority is crucial. When using a product, users must feel safe, they must feel that the company whose product they’re using is legitimate. That’s also what we mean when we say that UX designers deal with the “feel” of a product. A key aspect of UX is to create a product that reflects positively on a company, making them look credible.
Going back to the feeling that a product creates, UX design posits that the product shouldn’t just create a feeling of credibility, but also one of excitement. It means that the product should be beautiful, innovative in some way, and feel special.
An increasingly greater part of UX design is making products accessible to people with disability. For example, this includes making sure that a website can be navigated even by someone who is colorblind. In many countries, making products accessible to people with disabilities is actually a legal requirement.
Finally, one of the most important aspects of UX is that the product must be valuable. From a competitive point of view, it also means being better than similar products. For example, your product may want to stand out from its competitor product by being easier to use and more desirable.
Why Is UX So Important?
As you may have been able to grasp from this article so far, UX covers a lot of very important aspects of a product. But incorporating UX design principles is not just beneficial, it is absolutely crucial. Here are some of the key benefits of improving your product or website’s UX.
Increases the Conversions
Make a poorly designed website, and users will click off in a matter of seconds. On the other hand, a user might be inclined to spend more time on your website if it’s well designed even if they had little interest in the product, to begin with!
Improves SEO Rankings
Having a sound UX design makes your website a lot more likely to rank high on search engine result pages. In fact, many people make the mistake of creating a very SEO-friendly website in terms of keywords, but completely neglect the UX of their site. If people click off as soon as they land on it, your SEO is sure to suffer.
Creates Trust and Credibility
The overall feeling that a visit to your website creates determines how many people will buy your product. If your website looks unprofessional, users will naturally jump to the conclusion that the products or services may be sub-par. Good UX design can make your product stand out by being seen as more trustworthy than your competitors.
Saves Cost and Time
When you’re launching a website, an app, or another type of product, you’ll have to keep on improving it constantly. But if you invest the time and money to give it great UX design from the get-go, you will save up on a lot of these “improvements”.
With more and more visitors coming to your site, you’re sure to increase your revenue in the long term. Great UX design also encourages users to recommend your product to their peers. It’s one of the best ways to benefit from the “word-of-mouth” strategy. You should never neglect UX design because it’s one of the surest ways to improve your revenue, both short and long-term.
Whether you’re launching an app, a website, a video game, or software, putting UX design front and center is one of the best strategies you can have. The ever-evolving art of UX design will help you create a product that’s more useful, more desirable, and reflects more positively on your brand’s image. In other words, what’s not to like about UX design?!