User Experience Design, aka UX Design, is a daunting term that often avoids an easy definition.
Why is that the case?
With the increasing importance of and focus on UX design in our evolving online world, and the blanket nature of the term itself, many insist on explaining complexities to potential clients which they don’t really need (or many times want) to know.
When you browse a website, you’re not (generally) sitting there thinking, “Oh boy, this site delivers a great user experience”. That’s because great UX design is so intuitive (as your website design partner should be), it becomes an after thought.
Much like a bad umpire or referee call, though, I bet you can tell us some horror stories about terrible browsing experiences, particularly in the early days of new standards (like mobile browsing).
That’s why we think Smashing Magazine puts it best when it defines User Experience as “how a person feels when interfacing with a system. The system could be a website, a web application or desktop software and, in modern contexts, is generally denoted by some form of human-computer interaction (HCI).”
UX Design, then, can be simply described as designing specific user experiences to elicit particular feelings and interactions.
This definition, and the answers to these 4 simple questions, will provide the solid UX foundation your website needs to satisfy your users and increase your ROI:
Who is your new website for? Who are your users, and how many user personas can they be categorized into?
While you do not need to have established personas for all of your users, personas will contribute greatly to a successful UX design by establishing:
What sets (or will set) your brand(s) and your website apart? What is your user looking for on your site? What problems do you solve for them?
UX design will never be a “one-size-fits-all” process. Some designs will need to set apart common items, while other designs will take a minimal approach and allow a product to sell itself.
Your design partner should have the flexibility to craft a UX tailored to your users and your brand(s). Before your partner dives into development, though, you also want to answer:
Why are users visiting your site? Why are they choosing you over the competition?
If you’re launching a new site, answering these questions ahead of time allows you to map out your users journey and ensures a smooth UX for all actions they are taking on your site.
If you’re redesigning your current site, this information is even more crucial. By analyzing your data on your current user flow, you can improve upon the existing UX experience with your new site, without losing any components your users my already be attached to.
All of these questions, and the detail involved in your UX design, contribute to:
When is the right time for you to redesign your UX, or to include UX design in your next project?
As you can see, customizing your UX design to your users is critical to standing out in today’s web – but like all great things, this takes time. A customized UX design is an additional component to your web design, which will add time and money to your project. Important things to keep in mind when budgeting your next website.
UX Design may always defy easy explanation, but hopefully these tips will allow you to simplify the UX Design process with your partner in your next website design.