“The goal of UX design in business is to improve customer satisfaction and loyalty through the utility, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction with a product”.
User Experience (UX) is the study of users and how they interact with things.
One may think that it's only a term used in the digital design world, but User Experience can be seen everywhere and anywhere. Think about some of the most common things you do on a daily basis, like switching on a room light or going through a shop door.
You don't even have to think about these actions because they are exactly how you expect them to be. The light switch is normally on the inside wall when you enter a room and you know whether or not to switch up or down. This is a pattern that has been established for years and years, and therefore its users don't even have to think when interacting with it.
The same can be said of certain website "patterns". The shopping basket is the most obvious example. Where do you expect to see that? Where is it always situated so that you don't even have to think?
That's right. The right!
How do I use UX Design in my web design projects?
UX Designers like myself research, study and evaluate how users feel about a website, looking at things such as usability, ease of use, how they interact with a task and the value it gives them.
A lot of typical "best practices" have come to be known by people like myself, after years and years of working on web projects (like the shopping basket example above). Certainly each website is different and the users are different, so you can not always rely on best practices, but especially for small businesses, there are some key patterns and rules that can be followed.
Why is it so important?
As a small business, having a website that has a great experience for your user will set you aside from the competition.
It is relatively unknown amongst the small business DIY website arena, so if you do actually spend some time focusing on it, then your website will likely stand out from your competition.
Just take a look at these before and after shots, that show what some simple UX tweaking can do...