Understanding UX Design
First, UX stands for user experience and refers to how a user feels, thinks, and acts when interacting with a company’s website, services, and/or products. When you prioritize UX, you’re doing everything you can to provide a positive experience for visitors. This means ensuring visitors can easily navigate your website, find the information or products they are looking for, and engage comfortably, whether that means contacting you quickly or easily making a purchase.
When a website has great UX design, customers may not even notice it. Its design is intuitive and has clear navigation and concise direction, allowing your visitor to go exactly where they need to. In addition, the task that leads to your website’s goal (making a purchase, calling for a quote, etc) is clear and simple. When a website has poor UX design, that’s all that a user will notice. Instead of a seamless experience that leads to the goal of the website, they will end up annoyed, trying to figure out what to do or where to click as they scan through a poorly laid out or confusing design.
UX for websites goes beyond creating an intuitive layout or making sure visitors know where and how to contact you. It’s about providing an experience that is specifically designed for your target audience or your ideal customer.
Why UX Design Is Essential to Your Business’s Success
At its core, website UX is a form of customer service. Effective UX design anticipates the website users’ pain points and provides a solution. Pinpointing problems that your website customer needs to solve creates value. How will the design of your website make it smooth and seamless for the user to reach their desired result? Losing a sale because of bad UX is more common than you think.
Unlike brick-and-mortar businesses where a customer is greeted personally, can ask questions face-to-face, and gets hands-on time with products, your website has to act as your sales representative. Your home page greets a visitor and your site’s layout and content should answer any questions your customer has while providing instruction as to what the next step is, all while setting a tone reflective of your business.
When a visitor has a good experience on your website, there is a greater chance that that visitor will become a loyal customer. (On the other hand, if they can’t find anything or don’t like what they see, they’ll move on to your competition.)
For example, if you are a lawyer and are building or updating your website, you’ll want to make it very clear what kind of law you practice, explain why you’re the right option for the visitor, and make it easy to set up a consultation. If a prospective client visits your website and they don’t know if you’re a divorce lawyer or criminal defense attorney, they don’t know anything about you, or they can’t easily schedule an appointment, they’ll leave your site and find another option. Similarly, if your website’s design is clunky, confusing, or unattractive, the visitor will leave before learning anything about your law firm.
Focus on Simple Design
After you understand how the navigation should flow, you can begin considering the actual design of your website. Remember to consider your user personas, though – you’re going to be designing with them in mind!
While you may want a slick website that includes all the latest web design trends, you don’t want your design to distract from your message. Simplicity is key to UX for websites, so consider these general guidelines:
- Fewer colors – You don’t need a rainbow on your website. Stick to using between two and four colors on your website’s design.
- Clear typeface – Your customers need to be able to read your content easily, even on mobile devices, so make sure you are using fonts that are easy to read. And resist the temptation to use a lot of fonts. Just two or three fonts are plenty.
- Functional elements – Any videos, animations, graphics, or other elements should all work to improve the user’s experience or provide valuable information. Extra graphics that don’t serve a purpose can clutter your design and distract your user.
Overall, you want your visitors to have a great experience at your website, which means, for them, your site is fast, clear, and easy to use. This means you’ll want to make sure your website includes these features:
- Contact information is made highly visible and includes links to make calls fast
- Call-to-action makes it clear how users can get information or opt-in
- Search tool makes it easy for users to locate information on the site
- Responsive web design ensures excellent UX from smartphones, tablets, and laptops
- Quick page loading speed
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