Chances are, you’re probably familiar with the term UX or User Experience, however, how well you know what it means for your business’s success, is another question. Maybe you are aware that a well-designed UX for your online store can significantly improve your conversion rates, sales volumes, and profit. Not to mention that it will also boost your customer retention and brand awareness. Since users tend to share their good experiences with others, your clients will probably recommend your website to their friends and family if they had an enjoyable experience with it. Furthermore, according to intechnic.com, on average, every $1 invested in UX brings $100 in return. This means that the return on investment adds up to the incredible 9,900%. So if you’ve never thought about improving your UX design, we suggest you do now.
What is UX?
The term itself was invented by Donald Norman in 1995, who became the first person to work under the title “UX Architect”. The cognitive scientist, who joined Apple in the early 90s says:
“I invented the term because I wanted to cover all aspects of the person’s experience with a system, including industrial design, graphics, the interface, the physical interaction, and the manual.”
Therefore, UX has to do not only with a given product’s usability, effectiveness, and visual appearance but also with other aspects of user experience, such as pleasure, efficiency, and satisfaction. It’s not easy to define what a good UX design means, however, it is generally one, which meets particular users’ needs and expectations in the context of your business, its products, and its goals.
When thinking about your website’s UX design, you need to determine why your clients want to acquire your products, what can they do with the items you offer, as well as how can you design your products (and your business’s website) so that they are optimized in terms of functionality, accessibility, and aesthetics. It’s important to differentiate UI from UX.
- UI stands for user interface and refers to the appearance of your product’s interface and its physical characteristics. So, when talking about your online store, the UI will stand for the number of pages on it, as well as their background color, images, design, the readability of your content, and the convenience of your navigational menu.
- UX, on the other hand, is about the way your clients interact with your user interface and the quality of their experience while doing so. For example, are they able to find the product they were looking for on your website, and how difficult it was for them, were they happy or irritated after they left your online store?
In other words, UX design should be a part of each step of the user’s journey, and most importantly it has to be user-centered. Therefore, all of your design and development efforts need to be done with the user’s needs in mind.
Main elements of UX design
As we already mentioned, there isn’t a set and stone formula for creating an enticing UX design. That being said, there are some elements, which are of most importance for creating a better experience for your clients. Read on to find out which are they.
Information architecture, or IA in short, is connected to the processes of organizing, structuring, and labeling content so that it is easily understandable and/or navigable. Said plainly, it is simply a practice through which you can help the users find the information they need and do certain tasks on your website. Therefore, to construct a good IA, you need to have an understanding of how all of the small pieces of content paint the big picture that is your website and how you can make them work together as one big engine.
There are four main components of IA:
- Organization Structures: The way your content and information is categorized
- Labeling System: The way you name and represent the categories
- Navigation Systems: The way your audience browses or moves through information
- Search Systems: How users look for information
When creating an information architecture, you need to first and foremost think about your target audience, your content, and the context in which you are communicating your message. Try to pinpoint your target audience’s needs and intents connected to your business. Make sure to provide clear and relevant texts, images, and designs, which should blend and work in unison to engage your clients in every step of their journey.
The most important aspect that you need to think about when it comes to interaction design is how users and technology communicate with each other. If you have that knowledge, then you can easily create engaging interfaces, which are based on your audience’s behavior and aim to elevate any hardships or problems there might be. For example, if you know that your audience needs to copy a certain text and paste it into another box, to proceed with placing an order, you may add a ‘copy’ button, instead of forcing the user to either enter the information twice or use the shortcuts “C+Ctrl” “V+Ctrl”.
Interaction design should make it easy, intuitive, and simple for your audience to engage with your webpage. Pay attention to your wording and try to include CTA’s, which are big enough, so that the user can click on them. They need to contain easy-to-understand text, which provokes action. Additionally, you can Implement the usage of images, icons, and symbols, which are communicating your message in an obvious way, so that the user knows exactly what they can expect to happen. It’s important to follow the same guidelines and be consistent with your interaction design on all communication platforms that your business uses. Think mobile-first when you create your interaction design! Mobile rules the world in 2021, so you should always test and see how your designs perform on different brands of smartphones and tablets Furthermore, it’s a good idea to also perform tests on diverse browsers, because your designs may look differently when accessed through them. Last, but not least, make sure to optimize the speed of your website. As usability.gov shares, responsiveness can be characterized at four levels: immediate (less than 0.1 seconds), stammer (0.1-1 second), interruption (1-10 seconds), and disruption (more than 10 seconds).
Usability enabling design
When it comes to UX, one of the most important tasks is to make your webpage easily usable. Therefore, you need to think about effectiveness, satisfaction, and efficiency when creating your design. This means that you have to enable your audience to complete their desired action (order a product, read a blog post, etc.) without creating any confusion along the way. As the cliche goes:
“A user interface is like a joke. If you have to explain it, it’s not that good”
Therefore, you might find the KISS (Keep it simple, stupid!) design principle useful. Its main motive is to make a design so simple, that even a child can understand it. Try to avoid the overuse of overly complicated images or unclear CTA buttons.
Visually appealing design
Of course, visual design is one of the most important aspects of UX, because it is what creates users’ first impressions of your website and we all acknowledge the great importance of that. This is where you create a true emotion in your target audience and it’s also the factor, which draws the line between good UX and great UX. You can unleash your creativity and play with different layouts, images, graphics, and colors. You just need to follow your brand’s style and be consistent with your designs. Keep in mind that when it comes to UX, less is often more. As Joe Sparano said:
“Good design is obvious. Great design is transparent”
Тo provide a seamless experience to your users, you need to have a complete understanding of the most common problems which your target audience faces when using your website. Therefore, you need to regularly research and examine users’ behavior. You can do that by listening/reading what your target audience thinks or does (attitudinal approach), or you can monitor the users and see how they interact with your webpage (behavioral approach). Generally speaking, there are two main types of research:
- Qualitative – Use this method when you need to understand why users do what they do when interacting with your website. Why do they click on a given button, why do they spend more time on some pages of your website and ignore others, etc. You can use diverse research methods to gather qualitative data such as interviews, ethnographic field studies, focus groups, and others. Keep in mind that this type of research will mostly result in gathering non-numerical data, such as personal opinions. Therefore, you need to acknowledge the possibility of your own opinion getting in the way, which may lead to biased reports.
- Quantitative – Use this when you need to understand what users do when interacting with your website. In that way, you can understand the behavioral patterns of your target audience. Quantitative research methods such as surveys, polls, questionnaires, are structured and provide measurable data. The bigger your research segment is, the more reliable the data is going to be. And since this approach results in numerical data, it is less likely that the outcome will be influenced by your own opinion.
If you use all of the above-mentioned research methods (attitudinal, behavioral, qualitative, quantitative), you will get a complete understanding of your UX problems (and strong sides). Therefore, you will have the power to implement changes and improvements.
Need some help with your UX?
This is nearly the end of our article, thank you for making it so far! We hope you now have a better understanding of UX. However, keep in mind that there is so much more to UX than we were able to share in this article, but the points covered here are truly the essentials. Therefore, if you want to have a successful online store, with a good UX design, then you need to think about implementing them.
Although creating a good UX design for your business’s website doesn’t sound too easy, it’s still harder than you might think. Furthermore, any experiments and poorly done UX optimizations can hinder your business and you may lose valuable leads. Consequently, we advise you not to DIY your UX design, especially if you have no experience in that field. Give us a call, instead! Interval is always ready to help. We believe in creativity and personalized customer experiences. Contact us for a free consultation now.