88% of users are less likely to return to a website after a bad user experience. This is a monumental percentage of people, and one that could be slowly losing you customers.
What is User Experience (UX)?
UX is how a person feels when interacting with a system. Whether it is a website, mobile app, desktop software or a driverless car. Any form of interaction between a device and a human can be classed as UX. It is important as it tries to fulfill the user’s need, aiming to provide a positive experience that keeps the user loyal to the product, or the brand. A meaningful user experience allows businesses to define customer journeys on the products that are most conducive to business success. Tailoring their journey to your end goal.
There are exciting times ahead for UX. While we mostly look at UX in terms of website design, the landscape is changing rapidly and now UX designers are now having to think about topics like how UX can impact Artificial Intelligence.
For example, how can UX be applied to driverless cars? How is this related to user experience? Driverless cars still require a high level of trust. If you are waiting to cross the road when a driverless car is heading towards you, how can you trust that it will stop and allow you to safely cross the road? The cars interaction with you to communicate that it’s stopping is important user experience. UX design revolves around problem-solving, from the highly complex solutions for driverless cars to creating websites that are working with people, for people.
What makes a great user experience? Fundamentally, it needs to be meaningful and valuable, while incorporating a few crucial elements. A great user experience should be:
Useful: The content should be original and fulfill a need
Usable: The site must be easy to use
Desirable: Use images, your identity, branding, and other design elements to evoke emotion and appreciation
Findable: The content needs to be navigable and locatable onsite and offsite
Accessible: Content needs to be accessible to people with disabilities
Credible: Users must trust and believe what you tell them
User experience encompasses a wide array of elements that need to work together for a website to perform well. As a broad term, user experience covers everything that facilitates someone having a positive experience on a website.
We’re going to hone in on one of the most important elements of UX: Usability. To know if a design is usable, or unusable, we need to think of the following elements. The designs features, the user, what the user wants to do with the design, and their environment in performing tasks. A usable interface has three main goals:
Ease of use. The user should be able to quickly become familiar with using the user interface. If we take a travel agent’s website for example, when the day comes that we can book a flight, the user should be able to easily understand how to book a flight.
Lead them to the end goal. Users should be able to achieve their objective through the website. Going back to the travel agents site, a good design will take the user through the easiest route to this end goal.
Muscle Memory. It should be easy to recall the user interface and use it on subsequent visits. When you return to the travel agents site, you should be able to book your second ticket just as easily as the first time.
One of the key aspects of a website is allowing people to use its main function while helping people to get to where they want to go and remembering how they can do this for future visits. There are a few ways to do this, with most important being to outline the main purpose of the website before the design process starts. Whether this is leading customers to call you directly, purchase an item or complete a form. The design should be leading customers towards this goal, making it as simple as possible for users to get there. There are a few basic tried and tested rules that can be used when thinking about UX design. These include:
These rules can be applied easily to any design, whether the solution includes driverless cars, or a company’s website. Applying these rules, combined with some in depth problem-solving skills could greatly enhance your website performance and help your users reach the end goal. When was the last time you took a hard look at the UX of your website? It’s in your best interest to revisit it, and make sure that you aren’t losing users due to a confusing user experience.