If you have a website, chances are you’ve heard of UX, but do you really know what it is? UX stands for User Experience, which probably tells you quite a lot about it already, but there is a great deal more to UX design than most people realise. We’re here to break down UX, taking a look at the different design processes used, how you can measure the UX of your website and all of the various elements that come under the UX umbrella.
What is User Experience (UX)?
UX design covers a vast array of areas. The overall process involves producing a product that is relevant and meaningful to users. The process of UX design is far from simple, and the focus isn’t just on usability as most people think; UX also focuses on the motivations of the user and the efficiency and emotions that come from using the website.
You can break UX down into:
- The user’s motivations for using the product and whether it is right for them
- The functionality of the product
- The design of the functionality and whether it is aesthetically pleasing
Where does it all begin? User Experience may sound like it begins with the final product, but this isn’t the case. Sure, it does begin with the user, but way before the development stage even begins, an extensive planning process is conducted. A UX designer will do plenty of research into the target market, creating user personas, designing wireframes and testing designs according to the user’s criteria of the product. The user is at the centre of everything. Nothing goes ahead without considering the user’s emotions and attitudes towards the product. Know your user and build around them.
In UX design, it’s always best to test early and test often. User testing and performance testing is a key part of the design process. Given that each project is measured individually based on a particular user’s needs, there are no set design rules to follow, which is why lots of user research and A/B testing is so important.
UX vs UI
Another common misconception is that UX is the same as User Interface (UI) but this certainly isn’t the case. User Interface focuses on the look and feel of a website, its responsiveness and its interactivity. User Experience however, focuses on the actual user and their journey to and around the product. UX is essentially the substance behind your site, while UI is all surface.
Why is UX so important?
If you couldn’t tell already, UX is an essential part of any website. Put it this way, a website is the equivalent of someone walking into your business, if they don’t find what they need, get lost or can’t contact someone, they will leave and most likely never come back. This is why it’s so important to understand your user and the journey they take across your site. They should be able to complete a task within a few clicks and should quickly be able to understand how to use and navigate your site.
Everyone wants a pretty and attractive website, but if you’re surrendering your UX to satisfy your own creative urges, then it’s not going to do the job; sometimes you will have to make sacrifices for usability. You should always be aware that UX refers to the heart and soul of your website, as it’s core purpose is to satisfy a user’s needs and emotions in order to impact their attitude and behaviour towards a product or service.
If you’re looking to make your website more UX-friendly, our team of UX designers and web developers would be happy to get your project started. Give us a call on 0121 369 5874 or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more info.