What Is UX and Why Is It Important in Web Design?

Have you heard website designers and others talk about UX? It is one of those jargon terms that people in the website design industry often use without thinking. What is UX, though, and why is it important?

UX stands for user experience. So, UX is the part of the website design process that focuses on user experience.

What is User Experience?

User experience, or UX, involves considering the emotions and attitudes of people using your website. The goal with UX design is to ensure your website is meaningful and relevant to users.

As a result, it covers just about every aspect of your website’s design. This includes navigational structure, the layout of content on the page, the detail of content on the page, the branding and colour scheme, how easy it is to use the website’s functions, and more.

Importantly, it is different to UI design – UI stands for user interface. UI design is more about the visual aesthetics of the website. UX design, on the other hand, involves looking at the UI, among other things, to ensure it delivers a good user experience.

As you can see, UX can be quite a complex topic. It is possible, however, to boil it down to something very simple: does your website help visitors achieve their objective and is the process of doing so painless?

Here are two examples:

  1. Building contractor website – does the website explain the building contractor’s capabilities while also building trust and confidence that the contractor will be able to deliver as promised? In addition, is it quick and easy for visitors to find contact information and/or request a quote?
  2. Online clothing retailer – do visitors find it easy to find the products they want, are all charges and terms easy to find and understand, and is the checkout process secure, smooth, and easy to complete?

Why Is UX Important in Website Design?

UX is important as it helps ensure your website achieves your objectives. Let’s go back to the two examples above to illustrate this. The building contractor, for example, might have a high-quality, modern, and very professional website, but if it doesn’t give visitors enough information about the company’s experience and capabilities, visitors might leave without making an enquiry. In other words, the website will fail to meet its objectives.

Similarly, an online clothing retailer that has a checkout process that makes visitors concerned about the security of their information may have a higher-than-normal shopping cart abandonment rate, i.e. people who start but don’t finish the checkout process. This is another example of a website that fails to meet its objectives.

Three Tips to Achieve Good UX Design

  1. Start by trying to look at your website from the perspective of your customers. This can include, for example, going through the checkout process in exactly the same way your customers do.
  2. Ask real visitors what they like and don’t as well as why they did or didn’t do something. Make sure you ask these questions as impartially as possible and don’t get defensive when visitors are critical.
  3. Regularly review the analytics of your website to identify issues. For example, do you have a web page that gets a lot of website traffic but doesn’t convert? What changes can you make to that web page to improve the user experience?

As you can see from the last point, UX is an ongoing process. That said, it is important to focus on delivering a good user experience from the start of the website design process.

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