Building a great website isn’t just about beautiful design and engaging content. If it was, website design would just be called art. Website designs are interactive by nature, which means they must be more than simply beautiful. They need to be functional too. A great website design is easy for people to use and helps them solve their problems. In short, it provides a great user experience.
But what does the term “user experience” really mean when it comes to website design, and how can you make sure that your website design experience is the best it can be? Let’s dive in!
Don’t have time to read? Watch this short video summary for the highlights:
What is User Experience (UX)?
Because it’s such a broad topic, there are many different definitions for user experience, but here is a basic one from Wikipedia:
User experience (UX) refers to a person’s emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system or service.
When it comes to websites specifically, UX involves everything your visitors are thinking and feeling when interacting with your website. Good user experience, then, is about creating positive interactions with your website
What is User Experience Design?
UX design is the process of creating positive and valuable experiences for your visitors by improving the usability, functionality, and pleasure of interacting with a product (in this case, your website).
And in some ways it is. UX dives into the science and psychology behind web design. It’s full of laws, principles, and methodologies that are layered and complex, and UX designers do a lot studying and testing to understand all the elements of user experience.
The process might be hard, but the overall concept is simple: UX design is about making your website design easier to use and better at helping your visitors.
Why is UX Important?
Intuitively, I think we realize that UX is important because we’ve all known the frustration of bad online experiences
We have come to expect a fast, frictionless online experience. When you make it easy for people, you create a positive experience that fosters trust and loyalty. And that equals more customers. In fact, one study showed that better UX design could improve website conversion rates by 400%.
Simple Tips to Improve Website Design User Experience
How can you make sure your website provides a good user experience, without being a UX expert?
Here are a few best practices that will teach you what to look for and ways that you and your web designer can improve the user experience for your website.
1. Use Good Web Design Principles
The visual design and user experience of your website are closely related. That’s not to say that a beautiful website design will solve all your problems. There are plenty of pretty websites out that are awful to use. And there are ugly website designs that are highly functional (think Craigslist).
But even ugly websites can’t ignore all the basics. Using principles of good web design like visual hierarchy, white space, readable fonts, etc. will help guide your users’ eyes so they can find what they’re looking for quickly and easily.
Check out Chapter 2 on the Basic Principles of Good Web Design for more details.
2. Keep it Simple
I can’t say it enough: make your website design as simple as possible. People have notoriously short attention spans, so the simpler it is to understand and use your website, the more likely they are to stay and have an enjoyable experience.
Simplicity is one of the key concepts of UX design. Ironically, it’s often complex to actually do. Today’s users are more demanding than ever – they want experiences that are engaging, personalized, and seamless across different channels and devices. The more things your website design has to do, the harder it is to keep it simple.
For example, an e-commerce website design needs to do a lot more things than a typical website. It needs to have a shopping cart, take credit card information, and process orders. It would actually be a lot simpler if it didn’t do all those things. But that wouldn’t make for good user experience, either. Your job is to streamline the process and make it as simple as possible to buy from you, without sacrificing usability.