User Experience (UX) is when you use a website, web application, or any other type of human/device interaction, and how easily it is for you to use and how it makes you feel when using it. Ideally, you shouldn’t remember too much about using a website or an app, because that means it has been well-designed. If you do remember using it, it’s probably for all the wrong reasons which means you had an overall bad user experience.
If a website or app is designed well, it shouldn’t be noticeable and should easily blend in the background. With a rapid increase in interfaces, UX design is more important than ever before. As technology strives to make things easier for everyone, it’s becoming extremely important for websites and apps to stand out from their competitors.
Why is user experience so important?
While the majority of these apps will aim to do the same thing, it’s the one that has the best UX that is going to stand out and make people want to use it, therefore making it the most successful. The main aim of good UX is to allow the user to interact with your website or app in any way that they want.
This is why UX is so important because it has to fulfill the need of the user by providing an overall positive experience. In doing this, it means that users will stay loyal to the brand or product. When you provide a positive experience for the user, it can help guide them through your website or app and result in success for your business.
One important thing you need to remember when it comes to UX is that you can’t assume you know what your user needs as it’s completely different for everyone. So when you’re looking to design your website or app you won’t know what it is your users will want or need until you start paying close attention.
If you are wondering how you can create a great user experience, there are various things you need to factor in. You need to consider things like if you are confusing your users or if you are hurrying them along the process. Here we look at some steps you need to consider when designing a strong user experience.
Steps required to design a strong user experience
Develop user personas
You need to get to know your audience and have a good understanding of their wants and needs, which will enable you to develop an experience relating to the user’s voice and emotions. By using data analysis and market research on your existing audience you will have a profile(s) of who your site is engaging with. These personas will take a long time to develop and get right as you will need to conduct interviews and surveys internally and externally. They will also change over time as your business and customer base grows and adapts.
Start thinking like your users
To provide a strong UX you need to think the way your users do, and not the way you think they should. This will help you realize the necessary actions that the user would take when on your website or app and allow you to arrange these actions in order. So things like finding out information, commenting, looking into your products or services, and potentially making a purchase. By putting these actions into order, you’ll get a good understanding of how your user thinks and be able to design the website or app around this.
Evoke a range of emotions
You can and should try to evoke a range of emotions within your users feel when they complete an action on your website or app. You want users to feel welcome when they land on your homepage, satisfied when they find information about one of your products, and happy when they make a purchase. To do this, you should use a mixture of content and sound, and think about colors and shapes. You should also consider the layout of your app or website. When trying to evoke these different emotions, think about your brand identity, as well as the voice and style you portray, and think about who your audience is exactly.
Start creating designs
Once you have an idea of how you want your app or website to look you can start creating the designs. By sketching out a couple of ideas you will start to understand what actions need to be taken on each page. You will also get a better idea of which elements need to be used, like the color, sound, etc that will make users complete certain actions. To help you with this, you can use Indigo.Design from Infragistics that has components and design patterns that will help it all come to life. These design patterns help find a design that will be the most effective.
Test the usability
Be sure to test the usability of the site or app early and often so you will know if you have created a good UX. When you run prelaunch user experience research and test its usability early before it goes to coding, it allows you to receive feedback and make any changes should you need to. Users can test on any device and you will be able to see how they engage. If you want to, you can run two different versions of UX at the same time. This is known as A/B testing and can help you determine which version is best in getting customers to interact and complete actions. A great tool for this is Google’s Optimize platform, which allows you to see which version is outperforming the other and make any necessary adjustments once you have gotten a decent sample size of data.
Conduct user surveys
To find out which is the most effective design you may need to conduct surveys and interviews with current and potential users of the app or site. By studying and engaging with your users, you can gain insight and understand what works best. For example, you may think that a particular element on the design was working fine but could have been completely missed by the user. Try to ask questions that will allow the users to give constructive feedback; such as:
- How did the website make you feel when using it?
- Did you become confused at any point?
- Was the language engaging?
Start creating sitemaps
A sitemap is a list of all pages and subpages on your website that are typically listed in order. To make it easier to visualize how a user will get from one page to another, you will need to create a sitemap. This will also tell you how many clicks it takes to get there. A sitemap will show you all the pages that will need designing and content adding to it. It’s an essential tool to use during the website or app building process.
Develop wireframes and prototypes
You will need to put time and effort into creating wireframes as these act as visual guides that provide you with a preview of how your site or app is going to look and feel. Having wireframes in place makes it easier to spot usability problems before a page is even on a computer and allows your team to get rid of any issues. This can help save your company time and effort. Brainstorm design and content ideas before making an interactive prototype which will show you how it will all look on your site once it’s live.
Create detailed style guides
Writers and designers need to be given as much information as possible to create content for the site and to develop a design, which is why it’s important to create detailed style guides. When you have detailed style guides, it helps ensure product consistency across the different teams and this is vital when trying to achieve a memorable user experience. A style guide can also help designers and developers communicate better. The style guide should include things like essential user interface components so typography, layouts, fonts, logos, etc. It should also include design instructions like file formats, spacing and positioning instructions amongst other things.
All of these steps which we have outlined above are important when it comes to designing a strong user experience. If you want your website or app to stand out from the rest, you need to ensure that the user can navigate through it with ease.
Any issues that the user may run into on your site or app can cause them to exit and go elsewhere because of the frustration caused by bad UX. This is why you need to make sure that overall it’s a strong, positive experience so the user remains loyal to your brand, and in turn, your business will continue to succeed.
If you are attempting to design your website or app alone and are struggling with it, there are UX agencies who specialize in this area who will be able to develop it for you.