What is ‘UX’ and Why is it Important?
December 5, 2014
UX is the new buzzword in web development and it is a euphemism for how well users (U) experience (X) your website. In other words how easy is it for visitors to your website to navigate around and find the information they need?
Why is UX important? Well if you want frustrated visitors and low conversions, then I guess it’s not very important at all. On the other hand, if you want to engage your visitors and increase conversions, then UX is the people version of SEO (search engine optimization).
Incorporating UX in the design process
You can always redesign your website to increase the user’s experience, but if you have the opportunity, it is even better to incorporate UX during the design process. There actually is a difference between UX and user-friendliness of a website, with UX being about how a visitor feels when using your website and user-friendliness being more about the efficiency of their interactions.
For all intents and purposes, both terms are used interchangeably by most people, but we will focus on the UX rather than the user-friendliness of a website.
So if you want to increase the UX of your website – what does it involve? Well, you need to engage a developer who is experienced in information architecture (the structure and organization of information on your website) and in creating websites focused on UX, as many web designers tend to focus more on user-friendliness rather than UX. Once you have the right team on board, then there are any number of activities that can heighten UX:
- A/B testing: Test the layout of your web pages, the position and colour of buttons, different call to actions, placements of images and a whole host of other design elements.
- Visitor surveys: Studying the interactions of users with your website is a great way to increase your understanding and knowledge of UX. There are lots of options here, such as remote user testing, and user testing.
- Wireframes: These are prototypes of different layouts of your website which can be anything from simple pen and paper layouts to software designed wireframes. They are useful for brain storming UX and are quick and easy to design.
- Navigation flows: Designing a navigation system that is easy to use and intuitive to the visitor is an important component of good UX. If users become lost and have to keep backtracking, they become frustrated and click out of your site.
- User profiles: Recognizing the profile of your visitors enables you to design a UX specific to their needs, reflecting their lifestyle and culture. Analytical packages are extremely good sources of user metrics.
- Content inventory: Information architecture (IA) is the basis of good web design and one of the basic steps in this process is to have an inventory of your content. Once you have your content inventory ready, you can design your IA to enhance the UX of your website. In other words, you make your website content easier to find by using efficient and intuitive navigational flows.
So to conclude, UX is essential to the success of your website measured by your rankings in the search engine result pages, traffic to your website and your conversions. All of which is ultimately measured by your bottom line.
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