UX has kind of become a buzzword in web design recently — but if it’s working, then that isn’t a bad thing. UX Design is User Experience Design. It’s all about designing an experience for the user… if that wasn’t obvious. Working UX Design into how we design websites is invaluable for our clients and for the people of the internet. It means everything to the customers who’ll be using the website too.
What is UX Design?
In case you’re just skimming this… UX Design is, put simply, User Experience Design or, designing with the user in mind. A UX Designer will study user behaviour and work to understand a user’s motivations so they can design better digital experiences. UX Design is about taking the user, the business you’re designing for, and the technology all into consideration. It’s weighing the company’s wants and needs as well as the user’s assumptions and familiarities. Then, finding a happy and healthy middle ground for them to coexist on. Using UX in web design essentially, is considering the features on a website, how users will use, or interact with them, and how products or content should be organised for the user to find them.
Why use UX Concepts in Web Design?
We’ve talked about it a lot, but first impressions on websites are really important. It takes 0.05 seconds for users to decide how they feel about your website and usually, they’re judging you and your credibility from the design. There are obvious no-nos in web design:
- providing a list of links to your pages instead of a designed menu
- entirely left aligned content or justified text [shudder]
- yucky fonts
The thing you need to remember is that people hate thinking. If someone lands on your website to buy a product and they can’t work out how to find that product or even the category for that product — they’re probably going to give up. While we’re on the topic of laziness, people do do research but it’s not always that extensive. Sometimes, the product a user is going to buy really does come down to: what was easy to find, was reasonably priced, and of course, didn’t look scammy. So, implementing UX principles into your website means that you can communicate your brand’s tone and who you are to your user visually (UI), while the content on your website is organised in an easily digestible way — and the user can navigate through your website without thinking or putting in a massive effort.
How does it work?
The philosophies, principles, and techniques are based off of product and user research. This research is conducted by observing user behaviour, interviewing users, and analysing their feedback. The data is collected and continuously updated. So, we can always have a good idea of how users are using and interacting with websites or online platforms.
Let’s use a website from 2005 as an example.
You would’ve had the one page for your services, no matter how many services you offered. So, say you had 20 services. You’d have those 20 services listed down the page, kind of like in a word document. There’d be no pictures, it’d be close to full screen width, honestly it’d be so tacky. That’s where UX Design comes in! We now know users are less likely to read huge blocks of text, they don’t like scrolling to find what they’re looking for, they don’t like not having images between chunks of text. We’d design a page for each different service, or group them together so that four services were together on a page (at the maximum). There’d be a dropdown menu. There’d be text in paragraphs of 150 words or less, there’d be broken-up copy with lots of images. Designing for User Experience all about catering to both what your user wants to see, and what they expect to see.
The end result?
The end result of working UX into web design is creating a fully functioning website that works as if it’s built for a purpose. Because it is. You’ll have a website that follows a structure and flows in a natural pattern. The design is relevant to the industry and the target audience. It’s simple to navigate through the website and all of the content is accessible and organised. It’s a web design utopia and it’s glorious.