As sales and services are shifting into a digital environment, a user-friendly and attractive website is key to your business’ success. But how do you ensure that your website fits the needs and expectations of your user? How do you create an easy-to-use website?  In order to answer these questions in the most efficient way, we decided to partner with World of Digits, an international agency specialized in UX and UI design.

UX Designer at World of Digits, Alex Vandebeek, wrote a series of 4 articles regarding User Experience, in order for you to have all the basics necessary for your own project.

Table of contents

What is UX/Experience Design?

UX Design, or User Experience Design, is the most recent way of designing websites. Where in the past we mainly focused on the looks of a website or an app, UX Design forces us to focus on the usability of the product with the end-user in mind.

For example, imagine you are assigned the task of designing a ketchup bottle.  You can either go for a nice-looking bottle, or you can go for a functional one with still a nice esthetic appeal.  Designing the product vs. designing the experience

ketchup                           

 

UX – U = X

The key within UX Design is the user. At the end of the day, you are designing a website or an app for a very specific audience, therefore, it is important to keep your end-user throughout the whole process. You have to gather as much user validation as possible when you are creating or improving your website. You can do this by running a usability test for example.

When running a usability test, you ask 5 users to complete some key tasks on your website.  You will want to observe whether or not they can complete these tasks without any help. Usually, they will encounter some usability issues. From then on, you will have a better understanding of where you can improve your website.  

Why is UX important?

A website is often the billboard of your business. It tells a lot about your company. Research shows that 89% of customers stop their interaction with a business after a bad experience on their website. There’s nothing more frustrating than a slow or poorly design website, right?

Besides that, research shows us that a user takes only 5 seconds to decide whether to stay or leave a website. This means that you have to design a website that immediately tells users who you are, what you are selling, and what you stand for.

Here are some examples of reasons a user could leave your website:

1. The search engine on your website is not working well and users are unable to find an item or product they are searching for. In this case, they will leave without a purchase

2. A user tries to find an appointment via your website and they are faced with a long and tedious form to fill out with too many mandatory fields? They leave.

Amazon managed to find an experience design issue during usability tests that was linked to one single button. Its design wasn’t ideal, so the users didn’t click on it, and in the end, Amazon couldn’t secure the sale. They gained $300 million in additional revenue after redesigning this one single button.

Improving your UX has many advantages. For the user, you improve their experience and thus the business of your service, product, and brand. You even increase your revenue. And for your own organization, you accelerate the development and improvement of your website.

The Cost of Experience Design

Imagine you are designing a new website, and you come across a problem. It would cost you a hypothetical 1€ to solve this problem during the design. If you have to fix that same problem during the development of your website, it would cost you 5€. Even worse, in case you spot the problem after the launch of your website, it would now cost you 30€ to solve the problem. (source: Digital Trends, 2015)

Now you can see the importance of ensuring a good UX from the initial design brainstorming of your website project.

How to put UX Design into practice?

Within UX Design, we try to combine a range of methods and techniques that allows us to identify the real needs of the person using your website which allows us to collect feedback on how well your website is performing. It forces us to test our website with real users to quickly gain feedback and iterate it.

Within a UX Process, we have four phases:

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1. Discover: what are the needs of the user and the business?  Immerse yourself in the world of the user and gain a deep understanding of what they do and why they do it.

2. Define: synthesize the findings from the discover phase, plot out the user journey and try to find a solution for the pain points through ideating.

3. Design & Test: try to make your ideas tangible with low-fidelity prototypes. Quickly wireframe ideas and validate them with the user by running usability tests.

4. Care: when your website is ‘live’, it’s very important to keep on testing and improving your product or service. You can do this by running different UX methods such as AB-tests, side recordings, feedback polls, or heatmaps.

For each phase, you have some key methods and techniques that help you identify if your website is user-focused. Discover a short UX Process with some essential steps that you could take when you are building or improving a new website. Here you can find step-by-step guides that help you in running these methods and techniques.

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Check out Alex Vandebeek‘s next article on how to find the true needs of your website visitors!