What Is User Experience (UX) Design?




“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...


BEFORE:


AFTER:



BEFORE:




AFTER:




How can it be used by a small business?


User Experience Design becomes increasingly important when there is a complex offering / complex customer journey or complicated system. It is at this point that a lot of research and testing needs to be done to ensure the system works for the user.


Small business websites tend to be far less complicated and focus more on describing business services or selling a small range of products, however its User Experience should still not be ignored!


You SHOULD still care about it and ensure that you do some simple things throughout your DIY web design project:


1. Define your users and their top tasks


Decide who your ideal customer is and have a think about what their top tasks may be on your website. What do THEY want to find from your site?


2. What is your main goal for your website?


Have a think about the 1 main thing you want your user to do on your site. Is it to sign up to a newsletter? Is it to make an enquiry? Or to simply buy your product? When you know what that one thing is, you can focus on ensuring its at the forefront of your web design.


3. Have a typical customer look at it


Have one of your typical customers look and browse with the first draft of your website. Can they do the key tasks they need and do they complete the goal you want them to?


4. Don't complicate things


Avoid over complicating any more difficult tasks you have on your website and don't clutter it full of information!


5. Have an expert take a look


If you can, have an expert check the website for key usability issues. They've been doing this for years and years and can notice a mistake immediately. If you've got your shopping basked on the wrong side of the page, if your buttons aren't obvious, if your text isn't readable. They will be able to tell you!


If you found this useful please do share with other small businesses. You can use the graphics below if you'd like:






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