The Applecado blog

The Importance of User Experience (UX)

TAGS TECHNICAL, USER EXPERIENCE, DESIGN

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UX or User Experience Design is the process of designing with a user-orientated perspective, it encompasses many concepts including accessibility, usability and even system performance, or server speed. Web designers should always have this at forefront of any decisions affecting the wants and needs of the visitor.

UX or User Experience Design is the process of designing with a user-orientated perspective, it encompasses many concepts including accessibility, usability and even system performance, or server speed. Web designers should always have this at forefront of any decisions affecting the wants and needs of the visitor.

Common Behaviour

Often you can’t predict what an individual will do, but if you consider the behaviour of the majority you can give yourself a competitive edge. There is a logic to web design and layout, and people will generally follow a certain procedure on your website with little thought, you should encourage this and introduce as few interruptions or opportunities to confuse as possible.

Various results of the design process consider the user experience, ranging from shop layout and aesthetics, to the way car parking ticket machines or cash points work.

Online, whether comparing a luxury brand’s online shop, or a small unique online toy store, the best websites have also considered the users experience.

How Does it Apply to Me?

Your company’s website will benefit from a positive user experience, whether you’re aiming to make sales, appointments or give out information. Even the most beautiful online shop will suffer if potential customers can’t understand the process.

Creating contact forms that are too long and interrogative, asking users to complete repetitive steps, or making buyers register before seeing a shipping price or making a purchase can put up an unnecessary barrier - you won’t always get a second chance. Sometimes it’s accessibility; badly contrasting font and background colours, white or unclear text over busy images, or buttons that all look too similar to each other. Even seasoned web users have limited patience when it comes to finding what they need - Jakob Nielsen suggests the average user is interrupted when a website takes just 1 second to load, although that may not be enough to frustrate; anything up to 10 seconds may cause the visitor to look elsewhere.

Another study by the same author suggests that the first ten seconds are crucial to determining whether the user decides to stay or leave.

Testing and Evolution

The job is not finished when the website launches. The best way to find out how to improve your site is to test it; experiment with images or positioning of text to see which drive the most sales, or retain users for longer and through more content. You may be able to do this yourself using a Content Management System (CMS) and Google Analytics.

There are a few companies who will offer easy access to real live participants who will use and give feedback on your website for a small charge. You may be able to achieve the same feedback by asking your friends - be sure to ask for honest opinions, and probably not from people who are likely to tell you what they think you want to hear.

If you have any questions about User Experience Design or anything else raised in this article, please drop us a line.

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