User Experience (UX) is everything. Good UX Design will make the ugliest website succeed and bad UX Design will make the most beautiful fail. User experience design goes beyond traditional web design principles; it is all about the ease at which a user can achieve their goals.
User Experience is about humanising the interaction your customer has with your website or digital presence. It is about making everything logical and easy-to-use and having your website, app or software respond to the requests your customer is making. It is about relevance and content, design and usability, it is about speed and trustworthiness. It is about everything.
User Experience is about effectively addressing the needs and circumstances of your users, to produce a design that is comfortable and pleasant to use. To make matters worse the needs and circumstances of your users is constantly changing, as people’s expectations and technologies evolve.
Designing for the user
To effectively meet the needs of your user you need to ensure your website ‘talks’ to as many people as possible – irrespective of the device, platform, location or time of day. The customer will demand a navigation that is easy to follow and understand, language that is easy to read, clear layouts and logical paths to task completion – be that processing and order or submitting a request for a service.
The key for all of this: simplicity. Removing unnecessary barriers to goal completion and optimising the website to logically respond to a customer’s enquiry will aid the customer to have a positive experience and a positive experience leads to long-lasting relationships.
Learning what the user wants
It is important to understand the needs of customer and then create a pathway that helps them achieve their goals. User Experience Designers use interactive wire-frames, focus groups and testing, user interviews, and customer analytics to learn about the needs of their users.
Regularly checking your analytics will give you good understanding of where your website or app is meeting the needs of your user or letting them down. You can check bounce rates, visitation patterns, user flows and goal tracking to see where you can improve your website.
Good UX design is not exclusive to those businesses with the deepest pockets. There are many good ways you can improve the user experience on your website without a significant outlay. You can simplify your navigation structure, introduce breadcrumbs, optimise your layout, and put as much relevant information ‘above-the-fold’ as possible. Of course, you can engage professionals to do this for you who will be able to make recommendations on ways to best optimise your website for your user.
Google cares about UX Design
Google is constantly changing its algorithms and recently made changes to include the UX design of a website as a ranking factor. Search engines now analyse a site to make sure users will find it relevant to their searches and that the website will facilitate the user achieving their goals. If a customer searches for a florist in Newcastle that delivers, Google will make sure the number 1 result is for a Florist in Newcastle that makes it easy for a user to order flowers for delivery. It is vital that the user experience is included as part of your Search Engine Optimisation strategy.