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User Experience Design is the Key to Delighting Your Customers

January 8, 2019

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Web Design

User Experience Design Graphic

This article was updated on 05/25/2024

Understanding User Experience Design

In case you don’t know, User Experience Design is the sum of everything that makes up your customer’s interactions with your business online. Designing successful user experiences means putting yourself in the end user’s shoes – delivering an intuitive, easy-to-understand experience.

And that’s why we, as designers, have to ask ourselves these kinds of questions. “Is this experience enjoyable?” and “Is this easy to use?”

Why User Experience Design is Crucial

Creating a delightful user experience on the web mirrors the experience of walking into a well-organized store. Just as a store’s layout effortlessly guides customers, a website should provide a seamless and engaging journey for its users. A confusing or slow website can quickly drive potential buyers away, making UX design essential for retaining loyal, repeat visitors.

It’s refreshing to walk into a store without asking where things are because the layout is intuitive and signage is spot-on. The same value applies to interacting with your business online. If a website is confusing or slow, that potential buyer has a high likelihood of bouncing. As in every line of business, satisfying your customers is pivotal to acquiring loyal, repeat visitors who will continue to engage with your business. While leaving a lasting impression.

What defines good user experience design?

Design teams utilize user experience (UX) design to create meaningful and relevant interactions, ensuring users have engaging and valuable experiences. UX design encompasses the complete process of acquiring and integrating an experience, including branding, design, usability, and functionality.

There is no one-size-fits-all “golden rule” for excellent user experience. Instead, we examine each design individually to determine whether the layout and functionality meet the fundamental principles of good UX for your situation.

The Five Pillars of User Experience Design in Web Development

1. Usability

This is where it all begins. Usability is about making it easy for users to accomplish their goals. We do this by examining the design from the user’s perspective and creating a frictionless experience tailored for them.

  • Key Questions: Is the website easy to use? Can users quickly familiarize themselves with it and achieve their goals?
  • Tips: Simplify navigation, ensure intuitive layouts, and provide clear instructions.

2. Design

The design refers to the overall aesthetic quality of the website. Good design ensures that your website looks as sharp as your business. If your website looks like it was designed a decade ago… then there’s some catching up to do. Keep in mind that users evaluate a website’s design in just half a second – first impressions matter.

  • Key Questions: Does the website look modern and appealing? Does it evoke an emotional connection with your audience?
  • Tips: Use high-quality visuals, consistent branding, and a clean aesthetic that conveys your story in an easy-to-understand way. Consider using a graphic designer who can create a visual narrative that requires little effort for the end-user to understand.

3. Usefulness

The website’s layout should be useful for the user. Simply put, there is no point for the user to browse your site if there’s nothing to gain. Whether it be for education, leisure, or business, if your design doesn’t get them where they need to go, then something needs to be fixed.

  • Key Questions: Does the website offer valuable content? Can users find what they need efficiently?
  • Do you have any unnecessary elements that get in the way of the objective?
  • Are there various clear paths to your contact page or answers to a search query? Have you included CTAs?
  • Tips: Focus on user needs, streamline navigation, and implement a solid internal linking strategy.

4. Interaction

Interaction in user experience refers to the “tactile” qualities of your website. Essentially, how it feels to engage with it. It involves the animations on your page, what happens when you hover over objects, or even design elements that change what happens to the page, like a lightbox effect.

  • Key Questions: How does the website feel to use? Are there engaging animations and interactive elements?
  • Tips: Use subtle website animations, ensure responsive design, and avoid intrusive elements. Make sure users are having a similar brand experience across all devices.

5. Performance

Performance is all about your website working as intended and webpage speed.

  • Key Questions: Does the website load quickly and function smoothly?
  • Is your website fast or slow? Slow websites are major contributors to a high bounce rate.
  • Tips: Optimize images, reduce load times, and regularly test for performance issues.

PRO TIP: If you’re building a website, you should seriously consider hiring a copywriter. Words form the basis of all our actions. Good copy communicates your brand’s values and serves as an effective tool to hold readers’ attention. Your brand’s voice can be effectively communicated through well-crafted headlines, taglines, and body copy.

Like Nike says – Just Do It.

In case you don’t know, User Experience Design is the sum of everything that makes up your customer’s interactions with your business online. Designing successful user experiences means putting yourself in the end user’s shoes - delivering an intuitive, easy-to-understand experience.

How to Delight Your Customers with Good User Experience Design

A widely used quote in the design world is “good design is invisible”. Of course, this also applies to good design in user experience. If your user’s interaction is so seamless that they can get from point A to B on autopilot, then you’ve got a great user experience. As we mentioned briefly in “Usability” — this is what creating less friction for your users means.

One of the best examples of a frictionless experience is, of course, Google’s search engine. It comes as no surprise that user experience is something Google cares about greatly since they take it into consideration when ranking your website.

When you land on Google’s homepage, you have a clear objective. To use the search bar. You type in your search, hit enter, and everything you want to know is at your fingertips. 1-2-3, done. In just a few simple steps, you’ve used their service and done what you needed to do. Despite the fact that the search algorithm behind Google’s engine is so incredibly complex, your user experience is straightforward and simple.

So how do we actually create less friction for our users?

We’ve outlined a few actionable steps that improve user experience, and of course, common mistakes to avoid when designing.

1. Don’t try to reinvent the wheel

Follow established web design conventions to meet users’ intuitive expectations. For example, label your primary menu items clearly and avoid ambiguous terms.

For example, primary menu elements shouldn’t be labeled to confuse users. Keep things basic and direct for optimal results. A portfolio page should not include unclear language like “what we do” because that could refer to an about page, a services page, etc. Visitors to the portfolio website know what to expect when they click the “portfolio” button.

Users don’t consider web norms until they’re broken, which is OK. Your users shouldn’t be frustrated because your site navigation is confusing. Remember, good UX design is invisible.

2. Website Performance is key

Ensure your website loads quickly. A staggering 40% of users abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Optimize both desktop and mobile experiences to retain users.

So it’s important to make sure that your website is properly optimized to keep users on-site as long as possible. You want exploration not bounce.

In case you don’t know, User Experience Design is the sum of everything that makes up your customer’s interactions with your business online. Designing successful user experiences means putting yourself in the end user’s shoes - delivering an intuitive, easy-to-understand experience.

3. Make sure your website is optimized for mobile devices

This is essential now that Google has fully implemented Mobile First Indexing. This means that Google uses the mobile performance of your website to determine where your site will be on the SERPs. Bad performance means bad UX, so you’ll probably not get seen on the first page results.

A study conducted by Bizrate Insight showed that the most frustrating element for a user of mobile devices was when they had to enlarge a mobile screen to touch a link or button. Of course, this problem only occurs when your website isn’t formatted for web use.

This number is just going to keep increasing. This is why, when we design websites at Mighty Fine, we practice responsive design so your website will look great on any device and at any size. When it comes to web design, it appears size really does matter.

4. Never underestimate typography for good UX

This cannot be overstated enough. Remember—your text is, after all, one of the main ways you communicate information to customers. If your text is hard to read, too small, or poorly spaced, you create additional friction between you and your customer.

Most of the content on the web is scanned, so it will only benefit you to have good typography and a clear hierarchy of text throughout your website.

Of course, as we mentioned before, this also extends to mobile.

5. The fewer surprises, the better

Don’t make things difficult for your end users to access. Your website’s design should be cohesive and consistent so that users aren’t left guessing, “Can I click on this?” or “Where does this lead to?” Remember, consistency supports predictability on your website, making it easier to learn.

For example, your buttons should be styled similarly so that users know what they’re looking at is a button. Of course, this applies to all aspects of your website’s design.

This is why we recommend having a design system in place when creating your website. A design system creates a road map to uniformity, but this is not to say you can’t break the rules occasionally.

Never keep your visitors guessing or thinking, “Where’s this link or button taking me?” Your anchor text should set the expectation of what they’re clicking on, and your internal linking structure should be optimized to promote the best user experience possible.

As previously stated, consumers prefer to explore the web swiftly and do not want to lose time wondering if a lead will take them to their desired destination. If it appears too difficult to figure out, people will assume it is an ineffective venture and bounce. Surprises are for children’s birthday celebrations, not for the user experience.

Here’s a recap

1. Don’t Try to Reinvent the Wheel

  • Follow established web design conventions to meet users’ intuitive expectations. For example, label your primary menu items clearly and avoid ambiguous terms.

2. Performance is Key

  • Ensure your website loads quickly. A staggering 40% of users abandon a site that takes more than 3 seconds to load. Optimize both desktop and mobile experiences to retain users.

3. Optimize for Mobile Devices

  • With 60% of Google searches made from mobile devices, ensure your website is mobile-friendly. Avoid small text and buttons that frustrate users.

4. Never Underestimate Typography

  • Good typography enhances readability and communication. Use clear, well-spaced text and maintain a consistent hierarchy.

5. The Fewer Surprises, the Better

  • Consistency in design elements like buttons and links helps users navigate effortlessly. Predictable design reduces friction and keeps users engaged.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there’s a reason why user experience design is such a deep dive, and this is just the tip of the iceberg. We hope you’ve learned that there’s so much more than considering aesthetic qualities when creating a website.

This is why we always recommend that clients hire a professional design agency when creating a new website—of course, making a website look beautiful is one thing, but making one beautiful that’s also optimized for your customers and clients is a whole different level of design.

So, what do you think?

Drop us a line, and let us know!

Author

John is the lead designer at Mighty Fine and has been crafting visual solutions for clients for over a decade. Hailing previously from Boston, John graduated from Northeastern University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts in Graphic Design. Outside of work, John is a creative at heart. He enjoys other pursuing other creatively fulfilling endeavors — like drawing, writing music, or finding visual inspirations in the latest video games he's playing. John’s approach to design is holistic, ensuring that every project he undertakes is not only aesthetically pleasing but also strategically sound. He thrives in collaborative environments, valuing the diverse perspectives his colleagues bring to the table, and is always eager to embrace new challenges that push the boundaries of creativity. His mission at Mighty Fine is to deliver designs that are not only visually striking but also meaningful and effective in communicating the client's message.

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