Implementing user experience design into websites
There are a lot of acronyms used in the world of web design. SEO, SERP, SEM, UI and many more, and it might feel like UX is just one more piece of web-based terminology to add onto the stack, so the team here at JezNorthWeb are here to help you through. So, let’s take a deep dive into user experience design and the most commonly asked questions that relate to it in terms of websites.
What is UX?
UX stands for ‘User Experience”, but what is User Experience (UX) and what does it mean for your website and your business?
Why is UX important?
We’re often told that these days that a website is the virtual equivalent of a bricks and mortar storefront – even more so in these times of global pandemic.
Your business website is usually the first point of call when your prospective customers are looking for an answer to their product or service needs, but it’s not enough to just have the bare minimum on your web page anymore. 88% of consumers state they are less likely to return to a website after a bad experience and this is where UX design comes in.
At JezNorthWeb, we know that user experience design is one of the most important aspects of web design. A site needs to be easy to use, understand, and navigate. Having a great user experience can help you generate more traffic, drive more conversions, increase brand loyalty and keep your customers coming back for more.
What is UX about?
Consider, for example, your favourite coffee mug; you probably find the colour or pattern appealing, it fits nicely into your hand and keeps your drink warm without becoming too hot to hold. The mug provides a good user experience through its ergonomic design.
Now think of something that you don’t like to use; it could even be another mug. Maybe you find the colour garish or displeasing. Perhaps the handle is too small or moulded incorrectly so that it feels wrong and awkward in your hand. It might allow your coffee to cool too quickly or stain easily. This is an example of a poor user experience through badly designed ergonomics.
With this in mind, UX is like ergonomics for the way humans use a website. I’m sure there has been a time where you have attempted to load a webpage or app and the loading wheel kept spinning and spinning. You probably would have closed the app or site and tried another. This is another example of poor user experience that relates to web design.
What do UX designers do?
The role of a UX designer such as JezNorthWeb is to design and create websites that are effective and simple to use, that are centred around the needs of a particular audience. This includes technical tasks such as understanding prospective user pathways around the site or implementing appropriate information architecture, as well as creative elements such as typography, visual hierarchy and page layout.
The UX designer is also responsible for the continual optimisation of the site, using data acquired from customer feedback and industry tools to improve the customer experience over time.
Why is UX important for business?
Research has shown many times that if customers do not enjoy the experience of utilising a particular product or service, they will simply look elsewhere for their solutions. If your website is putting up obstacles for the user such as long loading times, poor navigation or copy (writing that appears on the website) that is hard to scan, they will simply ‘bounce’ off of your website and most likely end up on a competitors webpage. That’s a lot of revenue that your business could be missing out on, all because of poor user experience on your website.
Why does UX design matter?
User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with your company’s services and processes. It builds a bridge to the customer, helping a company to better understand and fulfil their needs and expectations. Your customers are coming to your website with a purpose – they have a problem and have come to you to find a solution. If what they find is a site that is confusing to navigate and they can’t find the information they need, they will either simply leave or they will persevere, potentially becoming more and more frustrated.
Mary Angelou once stated that people will forget what you did but they won’t forget how you made them feel. Frustrated customers may potentially associate negativity with a brand and business after using a poorly designed website, whilst delighted customers will long recall the ease and simplicity with which they navigated a well-designed website and were able to solve their problem simply and efficiently.
A good reputation is hard-won and easily lost, so you don’t want to be throwing away the hard work you have put into building your business by offering customers a website with a poor user experience.
How do UX and UI work together?
If you’ve heard of UX, you’ve most likely heard of UI as well. UI or User Interface design is concerned with how a product looks or functions, while UX is focused on the user’s journey to solve a problem.
The two are similar and understandably conflated, but they serve two different purposes in design. For example, UI design includes all the visual and interactive elements of a product interface such as a website, covering everything from typography and colour palettes to animation and navigation touchpoints such as buttons and scroll bars. You might notice some overlap between the two areas and each role does incorporate some of the tasks of the other.
Depending on the job description, a UX or UI might even complete some or all the tasks of the other role. This would depend on factors such as employee capability and experience, budget and staffing requirements.
Ultimately, UX and UI design come together in the creation of a website that ticks all the boxes of a simple and effective site. The two complement each other greatly and can almost be described as being co-dependent. Both design aspects, once joined, create a website that is easy to navigate, enabling users to locate the information they need quickly and efficiently that is also pleasing to the eye and is perfectly aligned with the business or brand.
How does UX Impact SEO?
Did you know that UX can have a direct impact on your website SEO? Thankfully, poor UX will not detract from your potential rankings, but positive metrics, resulting from quality web pages, can boost your rankings quite significantly.
Search engines such as Google are now considering data-driven factors when determining the relevance of your site to a specific search query. From a data and analytics standpoint, the quality of a site can be largely determined by user metrics.
A site with a high bounce rate, for example, indicates that something is wrong; users are coming to the webpage but then leaving quickly. Google will most likely use this data to assume the website is not solving its user’s problems. Google may then be less likely to recommend that site to its users, without ranking the site any lower than it already is.
Conversely, websites that have long session durations indicate to Google that users are enjoying the site and finding the answers they need, and so the search engine will increase the organic ranking of your webpage on the search results page.
How can I improve my website’s UX?
If you’re wanting to get an idea of whether your site might be considered ‘good’ or ‘bad’, you can use this tool to identify any problem areas. It’s important to understand that it is not a negative outcome if you find more than a few items to address. Instead, consider it an opportunity to optimise your organic SEO strategy as well as delight your customers.
Some ways that you can improve the UX design of your website include (click on each one to learn more):
- Enrich your website content.
- Acknowledge and mirror your site’s visitors
- Simplify your website’s navigation.
- Optimise your site’s loading speed.
Make time to take an objective look at the content on your website. Consider the images and copy that have been used: Could these be made simpler? Could you use infographics to better communicate complex ideas to your customers? Are your images in need of an update? These don’t have to be drastic changes so that your website ends up unrecognisable but instead simple optimisations that keep your site visitors engaged and able to find the information they came looking for.
Your site visitors are the driving force behind your website. Without them, your site would serve no purpose. As a business, you should be acknowledging your site visitors and understand what they are coming to you for and what their needs are. Knowing and delivering on the requirements of your audience will result in a more enjoyable experience for site visitors.
In the past, good SEO practice involved implementing as many levels of sub-navigation as possible, creating pages and pages of content to be scanned and indexed by web crawlers. These days, many experts argue that simpler information architecture with minimal sub-navigation is optimal for user experience, as it reduces the chances of a visitor becoming confused and frustrated by your site navigation and leaving without the information they came from. You can also make use of user search data to inform the navigational layout for your website, helping your customers to find the information they need most, with ease.
No one likes a slow website. Your site might look great with lots of hi-res images and HD video, but if the visitor bounces off your site before they see it due to long loading times, it might as well not be there. Make sure your site is optimised for loading speed. There are many tools out there to assist, or we can help you optimise your site and content for you.
What Does UX and UI mean for my website?
Well, not all of this article may be applicable, but it might be – it pays dividends to take the time to look at your site as objectively as possible by putting yourself in the shoes of your customers and trying to see things from their perspectives.
You could potentially take this one step further and complete a website audit or have someone else complete one for you. This will give you a list of areas that could be improved and could span across areas such as content, imagery, navigation and more.
Why choose JezNorthWeb for your UX and UI needs?
There’s certainly more to good website design than first meets the eye. It is no longer enough to build standard web pages devoid of visual interest, as these kinds of pages simply do not hold consumer interest and your prospects will bounce off before they’ve done very much at all. And yet there are so many factors, including appropriate UX design that make a website a “good” one.
Many business owners can become quickly overwhelmed by the amount of effort and expertise is required to design a website and it is for exactly this reason that web agencies exist.
An agency like JezNorthWeb can make the web design process a breeze, allowing you to focus on what you do best. Whether it be a brand- new website, a quick refresh or a total rebuild, the Jezweb team can create a site that delights your customers and keeps them coming back for more!
Contact JezNorthWeb and optimise your website, today
For more information about how JezNorthWeb can help you to translate your design concepts into a cracking website that you and your target audience will love, contact us on 0455 029 199 or click here to fill out our online contact form so that one of our friendly, helpful staff members contact you as soon as possible.