If you’ve ever stood in front of a door hopelessly pulling the handle to no avail, only to find that you should’ve been trying to push it open the entire time, you’ve experienced firsthand how a bad design can make you feel.
The same thing rings true with a website user experience design. While a good UX design may not be as memorable to the average visitor (do you remember every door you easily opened?), a bad user experience sticks out like a sore thumb. A poor UX leaves visitors irritated and maybe even leaping at the opportunity to write a scathing one-star review about the experience.
So what exactly is UX design, and what makes it so important?
What is UX Design?
Product design isn’t just limited to the digital space—it‘s a part of just about everything, from a Keurig Coffee maker to the handle of your coffee cup. User experience design is simply the process of how a user interacts with a product. And while UX design typically applies to products existing in the digital space (software, apps, websites, etc.), its principles can still be applied to products outside the digital realm.
UX defines how a user interacts and experiences a product, including their perception of its utility, ease of use, and efficiency.
Have you ever had an off-brand car console that was impossible to navigate? Or perhaps you’ve downloaded an app, only to find that you can’t even find a button to navigate back to the home screen. Both of these things are components of UX.
What is UI Design, and How Does it Affect UX?
UX design is often used in conjunction with user interface design (UI). However, while cut from the same cloth, the two fields serve different purposes.
UI design utilizes graphic design principles and applies visual flourishes to enhance the aesthetic appeal of digital media. User interface designers are responsible for creating a digital product’s look, feel, and interactive elements.
UX designers, however, are responsible for creating a usable product that provides a positive experience for users. While UX designers can and often do create UI design as well, they are primarily concerned with the overarching function of a product, from branding to functionality and everything in between.
What Can Good UX Design Do?
Good UX design should be seamless. Unnoticeable even. Because good UX makes it easy for people to navigate your website easily, find what they need, and move on. Good UX should always provide a positive experience for the user and keep them coming back for more.
While good UX often goes unnoticed, the same cannot be said for bad UX. A poor UX design can turn a customer away from an entire brand and incite anger, rage, or frustration. Bad UX never goes unnoticed.
For instance, have you ever tried to find a new release movie on Amazon Prime Video before? Not easy, is it? Instead of listing it near the top, for whatever reason, Amazon decided to bury their New Releases about 8 rows down. Not only is this a clear failing of the app to recognize what most users seek when they use Prime Video, but it’s a great example of what bad UX can look and feel like.
How Does UX Design Affect Your Business?
Having good UX design is absolutely vital for your business to succeed. If your website doesn’t have clear calls to action or simple user pathways, it will always affect your bottom line.
It’s important to make sure every single step, from the moment a user lands on your homepage down to when they make a purchase, flows logically and is easy to understand.
It’s pretty simple—if a user can’t easily find how to book a service or purchase a product, you will most likely lose that customer and with them, potential income.
The better the understanding you have of your customers, the higher your business’s ROI, customer growth, brand loyalty, and overall user satisfaction.
How is Good UX Design Created?
Good UX design results from an intensive research process that stresses empathizing with a user’s journey, creating a prototype, and then going back to the drawing board as often as needed based on further research and testing.
1. Research – The UX design process typically begins with extensive market research of the industry and target audience. Once sufficient data is collected, user flow diagrams are created to compare how people are actually navigating the product versus how they are expected to navigate it. Furthermore, brainstorming and whiteboarding potential solutions to specific user problems and pain points help fabricate a clearer picture for the final product.
2. Sitemaps – Once the research and whiteboarding phases are completed, the process of constructing sitemaps can begin. Sitemaps are used to show an outline of the various pages and subpages contained within a digital product. A bare-bones outline of what the product will look like, a wireframe, is drawn from this framework. These initial, low-fidelity wireframes are often sketched in pen and paper, utilizing boxes and lines to represent elements of a webpage.
3. Storyboards & Wireframes – Later, software programs such as Figma or Adobe Spark are used to create more detailed, high-fidelity storyboards and wireframes. High-fidelity wireframes look identical to what the actual product will look like (minus the functionality of a finished prototype).
4. User Feedback – Once an actual product is coded for and created, a good UX designer’s job is never quite done. Further testing and user research help improve the product’s functionality and design with future updates.
UX design can alter a user’s emotional state, whether for better or worse.
Understanding why users are visiting your website, knowing what information they’re specifically seeking, and defining a clear path to conversion are all vital to creating a good website user experience.
By using empathy, human psychology, research, and innovation, UX design seeks to promote positive change in the world by using more functional, user-friendly, and adaptable technology.
Want to learn how we help our clients design good user experiences or talk about your project idea? Get in touch.