Welcome to our blog, covering the different elements of UX, also known as User Experience. UX design holds huge importance within the digital world, with Google placing an increased amount of ranking value behind it. We have more information on how UX fits into SEO and how UX can improve SEO in our other articles. For more information on how we can help you with your UX strategy please visit our User Experience sector page.
What is UX Design, and Why Should We Learn it?
So, what is User Experience? UX design is simply keeping the user at the heart of everything you design. Not to be confused with UI, which is how the user interacts with your screen. UX involves constant research into your users, obtaining user feedback and implementing necessary changes to put your users wants and needs first.
But why does UX Design in websites matter? 79% of users that dislike what they see on a website will go back and search for a different site, abandon rates and drop off rates highlight bad UX. Good user experience directly impacts your businesses profits and engagements.
The Foundations of user experience
· Keep users at the centre of every decision
· Try and understand your user
· Base decisions around real users and real data
· Approach UX with empathy and get rid of any preconceptions
· Consider all areas of user experience: delivery, store visits, websites
UX Design Key Stages:
1. Discover more about your users and products
2. Describe and define your concept
3. Design the Behaviour
4. Develop your design
5. Release your product/site
6. Continually improve your design
What is good website usability?
Firstly, a website needs to be simple, easy to understand and intuitive for all users. If a website has good usability, then it’s engaging and efficient. Customers should come away feeling as though they’ve had a really good experience from start to finish.
Another important element to good usability is ensuring your user feels supported, whether that be with live chats, FAQ’s, advice, and help. From a design aspect there should be consistency across all pages from where the buttons are located, fonts chosen and branding.
Learn more about how UX design changes mobile usability.
When it comes to choosing the best research method for user feedback, first you need to decide what you’re looking to find out from it. Here’s a few questions to ask yourself prior:
· Who are your users?
· What needs are you fulfilling for them?
· What are their pain points?
· Is it a familiar or brand-new concept to them?
User Experience Research Methods
· Focus Groups
· Surveys and Questionnaires
· Market Research / Report Statistics
· Site and App Usage
· Formal Lab Based Usability Studies
The User Journey
Before you can even begin to think about building your website you will need to create and online and offline user journey. The offline journey may include the returns process and delivery processes whereas the online journey would involve how the user navigates the site, adds to basket, and pays for products.
It’s important to create alternative paths around the happy path. The happy path is also known as the ‘desired path’ which is the one we hope our users take. However, it’s important to prepare for all possibilities that might occur, such as spelling errors, payment fails, low stock and many more scenarios.
What is Visual Design?
Visual design is the process of adding aesthetics to your design which in this case means ‘how it looks and feels’.
Typography: describes what you use for writing text: body text, headlines, and buttons. This includes things such as font, text sizes, and colours
Colours: are something you can use to draw attention or categorise items. Colour schemes are also important for your branding
Image styles: are important for the look and feel of your page. Are you using, for example, photography or a cartoon image?
Spaces, shapes, and lines: are ways to construct and visually divide your page and can help add clarity or emphasis
Symbols: are icons you can use for menus, user actions, or content categories – these should be familiar visual cues to help a user
Branding: what is the message that you’re trying to convey? You may be creating a brand from scratch, updating one or working within existing ‘brand guidelines’; each of which are different challenges in how you approach the above.
When to do Visual Design
Visual design can be done at three different stages throughout the UX Design process depending on your product or service.
Visual design may begin in the early stages for you to demonstrate your ideas to others and build enthusiasm. You may also use this to gather feedback while still in the early concepts.
Interactive prototyping is also encouraging during the analysis stage as it provides a visual way of defining how your site or app would work.
Finally, as expected, visual design takes place within the design process. Once confident with functionality and technical design you can build more visual aspects into prototype this is called making it higher fidelity.
Information Architecture UX
Information architecture is done to help organise the content on a site so that users can easily adjust to the functionality.
Organise your content: Use sticky notes and take time arranging different journeys.
Labelling: Are icons, downloads, next steps clear? Are you using words your persona will understand/engage with?
Navigation: How your user interacts and moves around on the site. They need to know where they are, how they get back and navigate to another part. How do they search? How easy are pages to find? Personalisation is key.
Test and refine: This is done in case of mis translation in cultures, generations, something’s clear to you but not others.
Card sorting: add variations of subtitles, description words and ask test group what these words mean to them and how they make them feel.
Interactive Design Prototyping
It’s important to have interactive design prototypes to eliminate any risk of mistakes and to keep your project in line with the user’s needs, and any objectives and goals.
A wireframe is a very basic and simple drawing of a digital screen showing where things are placed and how they link together. It’s a great way to visibly see your user’s journey. With a wire frame you can visually plan the navigation and menus, screen area and responsive design.
What is User Experience Testing?
People are bad at knowing what they want, explaining their needs and thinking of everything/situation and exception. User testing lets people mimic what will happen on the site.
By doing user testing in the design phase you can save time, effort and money. Investing 10% of the budget in UX can improve sales by double.
User testing is crucial for nailing and enhancing your design to suit users. You need to take into consideration, some comments may conflict or be based on misunderstanding, or not be possible. Therefore you should weigh up the impact of the issue, how many times it occurred and the value of solving the issue before prioritising what should be resolved.
Different Types of User Experience Testing
Task based user testing tests user journey and alternate journeys. Providing simple, detail free instructions, to see how easily they can navigate the site. It’s crucial you don’t provide any leading information. Closely watch for areas they hesitate or struggle on and alter your design accordingly.
Real world testing
With real world testing you need to consider testing the different devices users have and the different environments such as home alone, out shopping, stressful situations, and relaxed ones.
Gorilla testing involved going out into the wild with your prototypes and asking questions, there and then, relating to your project.
With diary testing, you would give your tester the protype to go home with and ask them to record their experience within a diary.
With A/B testing you can directly test how different images, sized Call to Actions, text variation and navigational changes impact user experience.
The Importance of Analysing Data
Finally, we will talk about the importance of analysing data. Data holds huge value when it comes to improving your user experience. You should always keep analysing your UX Design, even once launched, so you can see how real people interact with it.
The only way to stay ahead of the everchanging market is through combining data with real world insights. Such as, how people get to your page, conversions, where users drop off, how much time they spent on your site, how many users bounce and how they move around your site.
If you’re looking to widen your UX knowledge even further then make sure to read our 10 Principle Laws of UX and Laws of UX Part Two. Or maybe you’re interested in finding out more about the different Digital Marketing Services we can offer alongside our UX Service?At Fifteen, we take time to carefully understand your organisation and your market. We adopt a user and goal-centric design approach – taking both the user’s needs and business goals into consideration at every stage of your users’ journey through the website. Contact us today to see how we can improve your websites user experience to generate more profit.