What is UX and Why Care About it?

User_Experience_Design_based_on_data

The concept of user experience comes from web design, but is has been widely adopted by business and marketing professionals.

User experience design as a discipline is concerned with all the elements that together make up that interface, including layout, visual design, text, brand, sound, and interaction’.

If the website or app is easy to use the visitor/user is much more likely to return. Click To Tweet

The main aspects of user experience are:

  • Usefulness. A top priority element, as a useful app or a website that sells goods or services that are in high demand can be a success even if other aspects of UX are underdeveloped, but these other aspects cannot be completely ignored.
  • Ease of use. This one is obvious – if the website or app is easy to use the visitor/user is much more likely to return.
  • Attractiveness.  Appealing visuals are much more likely to compel a visitor or prospective customer to click on an advertisement or a link.
  • Engagement.  Just like attractiveness, engagement is likely to hold a prospective customer’s attention for longer and perhaps even prompt them to return.

honeycombPeter Morville of Semantic Studios, an information architecture and user experience expert developed his UX honeycomb http://semanticstudios.com/user_experience_design/ . In an attempt to demonstrate that usability isn’t everything, he included other important UX factors:

 

Taking care of UX

So how do you create excellent user experience? Some of the techniques most commonly used are:

Wireframing – creating a basic website layout or blueprint that represent the basic layout of the website for the purpose of arranging the elements to achieve a specific goal. That goal for instance can be making your future website more usable. These days wireframes can be created with the help of tools that do not require any coding knowledge, like Axure, InDesign, Photoshop and others.

User testing – an integral part of UX, as it allows you to see how users interact with your website and what kind of problems they encounter to save yourself the trouble of having to deal with these problems at an advanced stage of development. The questions you may want to ask users in a test are: How did they find the website/app? Do they understand what it’s for? Does it successfully perform the tasks it set out to perform? etc.

Personas – these fictitious characters representing your target audience are extremely important. Researching and creating buyer personas is part of UX as it helps you target your audience better and not waste valuable resources trying to attract the attention of the wrong customer segment.

Scenarios, storyboards – these describe situations that your personas may find themselves in. Storyboards do the same thing but in a more visual, ‘cinematic’ style – they depict your personas’ buyer journey through a series of pictures.

If you are still not convinced that user experience is ultimately important for your business success remember that user behaviour is taken into consideration by the search ranking algorithm. A higher click through rate is likely to make a page rank higher in search results, so you do need to consider user experience while you are building a new website or creating a new landing page.

Finally, a great user experience is likely to turn your customers into brand fans who will be only too happy to spread the word.

About the Author

Digital marketer, writer with an interest in marketing technology, cyber security, entrepreneurship and culture.