In a world where interfaces are growing rapidly, and more people are using the web for their browsing and shopping needs, the concept of a smooth and easy digital experience that makes you feel good is one that becomes increasingly real. Customers stay on websites that offer them a friendly and simple experience, while also ensuring that they can find what they need with very little effort. If you haven’t invested in a strong and up-to-date UX yet, it’s about time you did, and I am here to show you just how important it is.
What is UX?
“UI is the saddle, the stirrups, & the reins. UX is the feeling you get being able to ride the horse.” – Dain Miller
UX stands for User Experience, which is an integral part of the design process for any website. From the moment you start planning the concept for your site, UX should be right there and implemented. It ensures that your visitors and customers have a good experience, and one that is both smooth and free from hassle so that they are encouraged to visit again.
It is all about how the customer feels when they are interacting with your website, or even your app, and many of these feelings can be controlled by the designers when putting everything together. UX shouldn’t be confused with usability though, because while they are related, they are not quite the same. UX is all about the emotions and connection with the site, whereas usability is more focused on the effectiveness of the design.
Why is UX Important?
“Design isn’t finished until somebody is using it.” – Brenda Laurel
Your UX is just as important as the overall visual appearance of your website, because if people don’t understand how to interact with your site, or end up disliking the experience, it won’t matter how good your website looks – people aren’t going to use it.
You have to make sure that customers love interacting with your website, and find it simple to navigate so that they can search for things they want. First impressions are everything, and if you have a poor UX, you are going to find that both traffic and sales have an equal reflection.
What makes a Great UX?
“When UX doesn’t consider ALL users, shouldn’t it be known as “SOME User Experience” or… SUX?” – Bill Gregory
Everyone is different, and what one person likes another might hate. However, there are ways to appeal to the vast majority of people so that those who visit your site end up feeling satisfied while browsing. As quoted above, a great UX is one that considers every user and not just some of them.
The first thing you should do is determine how you want people to feel when they are using your site – what kind of connection do you want them to build with you? Once you have the answers, you can implement them into the design and send it out for testing. Getting feedback and experimenting is the ideal way to gather data and see how people felt. You are not your users, and so knowing how they actually feel is the first big step towards success.
The UX should be deeply embedded in the identity of the brand, and you only need to take a glance at companies like Apple to see what I mean. The website is easy to navigate, aesthetically pleasing, and it delivers a clear message as to what the company is all about. This is because Apple knows their audience, and through trial and testing, they have managed to create something relatable.
When you are designing your website and thinking about the UX, here are a few of the features that should be at the top of your list:
- Easy navigation
- Smooth transition between pages
- Information that is easy to access
- Simple basket and checkout features (for retail sites)
- Easy sharing features for social media (traffic increase)
- Making sure the customer enjoys the whole experience
- Clear brand message/ensuring the customer knows which company you are
How UX and SEO Work Together
“There are people out there who are doing SEO for clients, who write unique content and get links for a client. I 100% agree that both of these are important from a ranking point of view but are they that important if your website technically isn’t set up well?” – Craig Campbell
SEO and UX are often seen as separate entities, but they should actually be used together if you want to create the best possible website. The simplest way of looking at it is that SEO targets search engines and UX targets visitors to your website, but they both have one thing in common – they both aim to provide users with the best experience.
Many of your visitors are not going to enter the site through your homepage, and that is why each page should have quality content that is combined with easy navigation and a good roadmap for your entire website. No matter which page you are on, the information should be clear, and you should be able to find other parts of the site without hassle – and this is an example of SEO and UX working together.
Every part of the design process should be linking these two together. Whether you are looking at the site speed or the page layout, when you are thinking about the SEO you should also be considering the UX (and vice versa). Without one, the other will fail to reach its full potential, and you would be amazed by how often they can be linked up to create an even stronger website. This broader approach is what keeps you two steps ahead of the game.
UX is essential if you want your website to be a success, because if people don’t have a good experience when they are browsing, they aren’t going to come back. Maybe you have heard a lot about the topic, but the fact of the matter is that there are still thousands of websites out there that aren’t fully grasping just how important the user experience is. If you remember to implement it in every stage of the design process so that it isn’t forgotten, and you also ensure that you combine UX with SEO, you will be on the road to internet success in no time at all. It seems so simple, but it’s also easy to forget.