Jump Start Your Business: 10 Steps to Engaging User ExperienceTuesday, March 31st, 2015 by Erin Peters
“A UX designer is coordinating, orienting, helping all of the other folks [designers] achieve some common goal, a singular intent… UX designers lead organizations to ensure that great experiences get out into the world.” – Peter Merholz, author of Subject to Change
User experience design (UX design) has become the key to successful websites and businesses alike. 2014 was an amazing year for experience design, embracing minimalism and imagery.
Some experts have explained that there are three core disciplines in UX design: visual designers, interaction designers and information architects.
A great user experience is one of the main goals when a website is built. Usability is a crucial part of the user experience. Video media, scrolling interactivity, audio or sliding interactions help to create a delightful user experience on a website.
With a good user experience comes happy visitors, potential customers and ultimately, bigger profits.
UX (user experience) for web design is a combination of such skills as user interface design and interaction design. Think of a UX designer as an architect. A UX team builds a comprehensive blueprint, which outlines every single detail of the site’s features and functionality.
Below are 10 ways to create a great user experience:
1. Research (Do your homework): Like social media, the greatest insights can be gleaned from listening. Find out your clients goals and weak points. Deep-dive into their documentation and analyze and research their competition. Find out if they made any mistakes you’ll want to avoid. Before creating your website, clearly define your objectives. Will their conversions be a sale, a newsletter or email submission?
2. Think Customer Personas (User Types): When it comes time to structure the content, customer personas are hugely important. A persona is depicted as a specific person but is not a real individual; representing a significant portion of people in the real world. This enables the designer to focus on a manageable and memorable cast of characters. Check out the persona poster template by Creative Companion. In order to create said persona, interview and observe the client and their customers. What factors influence purchases or other conversion behaviors? Find patterns and use those to group similar people together.
Your customers are not all the same. Don’t treat them the same. This brings me to my next step.
3. Design for the user (Be empathetic): You will be tempted to design with your preferences and tastes, but it’s more important to constantly think about what the experience with your product is for a customer. Discover your user’s habits. Give them the tools to find what they want quickly and control their experience. In other words? Don’t make them think. Helping visitors achieve their goals in as few steps as possible will increase your likelihood of closing a sale. Make a commitment to simplicity and specificity. And think mobile! Cards are quickly becoming the best design pattern for mobile devices. Twitter recently launched Cards, a way to attached multimedia inline with tweets. This trend reflects the continued rise of mobile devices and smaller screens. Cards are great for responsive design.
4. Let Them Eat Cake (Let Users Be Social): Make it easy for visitors to share your content and evangelize your products for you by writing reviews, and installing the best social plug-ins for your site. To help increase conversion rates, make the social content searchable throughout your site. But make sure you use the right ingredients that suit the brand/company. What are you hoping to achieve on social media? What platforms would work best for you? When you answer these questions, share your content and empower your customers, it’s a recipe for success.
5. Utilize Templates (Custom is Not Always Best): With the addition of artificial intelligence and the continual increase in gorgeous templates, there’s no need to reinvent the wheel every single time.
6. Create Emotional Experiences: Spice up your user interface and deliver an emotional, mind-blowing user experience by integrating personality. User experience should reflect your customers’ emotions and feelings, so choose your emotions carefully. Show off your personality with minimalism. Minimalistic design portrays sophistication. Emotion can be provoked with sight and sound, so utilize parallax scrolling and/or high-resolution portraits. But keep in mind if there is a specific point that you want to draw the user’s attention to, be sure that your parallax scrolling effects support that rather that hinder it. Ultimately, you want people to remember your brand.
7. Stop. Collaborate and Listen. Vanilla Ice wasn’t the only one excited about showing off his brand new invention. When everyone pitches in with their level of expertise and opinions are heard, it’s easier to create the best possible experience and meet all the business objectives. Two heads are better than one.
8. Go Beyond the Website (Digital Marketing): Create a seamless experience at every touch point including your website, social platforms and promotional marketing materials. Without a proper strategy – which must include SEO and social media – even the most beautifully crafted design is destined to be lonely.
9. Usability and User Testing (Test Your Shit): This shouldn’t’ be relegated to only right before launch. Test your designs early. Have a fresh pair of eyes look at your concept and make sure you haven’t overlooked something. A third party should always conduct the qualitative user data analysis and flow so you can have an objective testing environment. Look for fast response times; a sluggish site will immediately cut into user satisfaction. Usability can be measured with formative and summative usability tests. Intuition HQ allows you to see how users interact with your website and records the duration in which a task is completed. UsabilityTools is integrated with a research panel with access to over 10 million people worldwide. And Usabilla focuses on collecting visual user feedback allowing you to compare click and analyze their feedback. Do the users feel satisfied after interacting with the website? Does the user feel like he’s obtained value from using the website? Is the experience of being on the website fun and easy? Do the users feel happy, excited or pleased on some level when they interact with the site? Usability is a critical facet of the user and searcher experience.
10. Adapt to Your Users: As more users visit and engage and more data is gathered, your site should gradually align with the experience that visitors are demanding. Identify your influencers, optimize and continue to try new things to connect with your customers.
Early focus on usability vastly boosts ROI and overall branding. The lines between technology, business and marketing strategy are starting to blur. Agencies today must breed a culture of innovation and user centered design.