Why you should care about UX
by Joey van Sommeren.
A good user experience (UX) has become an important factor in deciding whether we use a service or not. Factors that affect good UX include quick loading times, engaging interface and iconography, usage of whitespace, and appropriate colour schemes. Rewarding users with moments of delight is a factor that I feel is often overlooked but can make a huge difference to UX.
There is tons of research that has been done on why certain designs are successful and bad designs are not. There are also many philosophies and theories that can be used to improve UX design, such as the hamburger principle, utility theory, Heuristics, Gestalt principles, and more.
But what is this mysterious UX? UX is short for User Experience. It’s a term used to describe the experience a user has when interacting with a company or brand through their website or app. As Josh Porter, the VP of Design at Facebook says, “The experience is everything.” It is the combination of every aspect of a company that allows users to have a great experience.
UI, UX, U?
Before we delve deeper into the ramifications of good (and bad) user experience, let’s take a moment to define the terms UI and UX. UI stands for User Interface or user environment. Is the screen arrangement intuitive and straightforward? Are buttons where the user expects them to be? Also think of menus, navigation, and performing actions.
If the first impression isn’t a positive one, trying to get them back might be hard. This could be detrimental for possible future purchases; after all, a dissatisfied customer is less likely to purchase a product.
What is UX design?
UX stands for User Experience. The User Interface mentioned above is part of the User Experience. A UX designer actively puts himself in the mind of the users. What does a user want, and what are they searching for? When a user presses a button, does that button do what is expected? In short, UX design is a discovery to find suitable solutions to accommodate the specific wishes of users.
By exploring and answering these kinds of questions, based on expertise and talking/testing with users, a designer gets closer to a design that perfectly matches the wishes of the end-user. This process is not limited to just app design – UX also applies to websites, physical stores, cars, and the supermarket.
The relationship between UX and UI
User Experience and User Interface are inextricably linked. We’ve all experienced what it’s like to install an app or visit a website that turns out to be full of errors, complicated constructions, frustrating interactions, and unexpected behavior. Today’s users don’t have a high tolerance for poorly developed apps and nothing drives them away faster than a bad first impression. Let’s consider some benefits that can be achieved with a good user experience.
1. Increased customer satisfaction
Customer satisfaction is one of the drivers for a successful company. Success is often measured by the number of satisfied customers: the better the experience, the happier your customers. High customer satisfaction = more money in your pocket.
If you have a website that performs poorly and frustrates or annoys users, there is a good chance that it will receive bad reviews, higher bounce rates, or fewer purchases and visits. Bad UX is the main reason users delete an app or never visit a website again. But why is that? Causes can be:
Hard to navigate;
Slow response time;
Too many ads or interruptions;
2. Better service
Customers want to be in touch with your company 24/7, no matter where they are. Do you integrate important telephone numbers, that are easily accessible, so that your customer can contact you straight away? Do you opt for a live chat function to immediately be of service to all your customers? Or maybe a combination of these functions?
Offering clear communication and letting people know how they can contact you, can allow you to deliver a better service to your customers or visitors.
3. Increase in sales
A well-designed and easy-to-navigate website will generate longer visits and improved interaction. If you succeed in attracting and then retaining visitors, they are more likely to purchase and leave a positive review.
The latter is becoming increasingly important. In the mind of the customer, a lot of positive reviews generally equals a trustworthy company. More trust = good brand = more sales.
4. Competitive Advantage
The wheel has been reinvented several times, competition is all around us and the internet is full of websites. You must differentiate yourself from your competitors and create a competitive advantage.
While there are a lot of tricks to make your website stand out, it’s often a better idea to create a solid website that performs well on mobile and desktop with low loading times and easy-to-find information. User-friendliness comes first and users are simply drawn to websites that deliver what they want.
Go and visit the website of your direct competitor. Is there something that they do well, or that you maybe could do better? You’ll often see that websites are outdated and offer a bad user experience. Now take a look at your website, is it up to par with today’s standards?
Never let the user experience fade to the background, your website isn’t for you, it’s for your customers.
Good UX is essential for success, although there is no set pattern for good UX. For some websites or apps, wireframes and a bit of UI design might be enough. For other websites or apps, you need testing, creating personas, conducting interviews, devising a good strategy, creating extensive user journeys, or try out new technology. You must stay focused and prioritize what your visitors need, even if it’s just a one-page website.