As sales and services are shifting to a digital environment, a nice looking and user friendly website is key to your business. But how do you ensure that your website fits the needs and expectations of your user? How do you create a website that is easy to use? 

In order to answer those questions in the most efficient way, we decided to partner with World of Digits, an international agency specialized in UX & UI. Alex Vandebeek, UX Designer at World of Digits, wrote a series of 4 articles regarding User Experience, in order for you to have all the basics necessary for your own project. 

Let us introduce you into UX Design and enjoy this first article written by Alex!

What is UX Design?

UX Design or User Experience Design is the new 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.

You may compare it to designing a ketchup bottle. You can go for a nice looking bottle or you can go for a functional bottle with still a nice esthetic appeal.

ketchup1  ketchup2                                

Designing the product  VS.  Designing the experience

UX – U = X

Key within UX Design is the user. In the end you are not designing a website nor an app for yourself, but for a very specific audience. Therefore it’s important to keep your end user in mind while designing a new website or improving an existing website. 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. In that case you ask 5 users to complete some key tasks on your website and you see if they can succeed these tasks without any help or not. You will see that they will always pop up with some usability issues. That can be a start of improving your website.

Why is UX important?

A website is often a signboard for your business. It tells a lot about you. In research we see that 89% of customers interrupt their interaction with a service after a bad experience on the website. Nothing so frustrating as a bad working website, isn’t it? Besides that, research shows us that a user takes 5 seconds to decide if he stays or leave your website. It means that you have to design a website that tells immediately 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. Let’s say you have in extension of your retail store a webshop, and users are not able to find a certain product because the search engine on your website is not working well. In that case they leave without buying.

2. A user tries to find an appointment via your website and they get stuck in a boring form with to many mandatory fields? They leave.

Amazon found during usability tests an issue with one single button. It was not designed clearly, so the user didn’t push on it. At 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 the experience of your service, product and brand. For your own business, you can increase your revenue. And for your own organization, you accelerate the development and improvement of your website.

What investment does that represent?

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 would have to fix that same problem during the development of your website, it would cost you 5€. Even worse, in case the problem is spotted after the release of your website, it would now cost 30€ to solve the problem. (source: Digital Trends, 2015)

Now you can realise the importance of ensuring a good UX since the beginning 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 investigate the real needs of the person using your website and allows us to collect feedback of 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:

ux1

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

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

3. The design & test phase: try to make your ideas tangible with low fidelity prototypes. Quickly wireframe ideas and validate them with the user by running usability tests.

4. The care phase: 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 ensure you to build a user focused website. 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 running these methods and techniques.

ux2

In the following weeks, we’ll share some useful articles with tips and tricks on how to put UX into practice without much effort. You’ll learn the following things:

1. How to find the true needs of your website visitors?

2. How to test if your website is user friendly?

3. Common mistakes people make on their website and how to avoid them.

Stay tuned!