Planning Your Website UX for Digital Marketing Success
User interface and user experience are the most critical aspects of any company. Good UI and UX are interdependent and synergistic and will determine the quality of how people engage with an organization. UX encompasses how a user perceives a website, app, or other digital offerings. UI is how the interface appears on a computer screen, tablet, or mobile device. While no less critical, UX tends to inform—if not dictate—UI design.
Successful digital marketers recognize the importance of user experience. It improves brand identification and recognition and can significantly impact consumer perception of the quality or efficacy of an organization. Bad UX can not only cripple engagement and conversion but can also sink a product and cause collateral damage to the brand.
The Importance of User Experience
UX design can elevate a company’s digital presence or be the only factor that makes it crash and burn. Well-designed, responsive UX design does so much to enhance and support the total user experience that it can increase conversion rates as much as 400%.
That’s not a typo.
User experience encompasses every element a consumer—the user—comes into contact with when they come across your company. Good UX design is the art of delivering exactly what the customer desires in order for them to complete the action you want them to.
The same principles that inform and support a positive website user experience apply to design across the board—industrial and product design, branding, everything. It can be digital or analog. Although the term generally refers to websites, apps, or other connected platforms, UX is, in essence, a component of what used to be taught as “art appreciation.”
Understanding what makes good UX design is inherently the same as understanding the characteristics shared by all great works of art. The innate ability of human beings to find beauty in the natural world supports our ability to find beauty in human creative effort. Perceiving the aesthetic is emotionally gratifying and fulfilling.
UX is not limited to usability alone. It incorporates exploration, clarity, relatability, and originality. An ideal website UX consists of a user-friendly website, seamless navigation, and a smooth and streamlined purchasing process. It presents dynamic, quickly processed information and provides superior customer service—it even extends to elements like elegant and intuitive mobile device compatibility.
Fundamental UX Principles
User experience should drive design. Usability is more important than content—users will remember how navigating your website made them feel after more than what it said. The design and UI features must work together to provide an experience—not just information. Eliciting a positive emotional response should be top of mind when creating a website.
Take The Restless Gaze into Account
People don’t read websites—they scan them. The reasons behind this are varied—computer screens are tiring to look at for long periods, the internet is inherently distracting, and people are naturally restless and voracious visual consumers. Your website and its content must be scannable. To catch people’s attention and break them from the habit of scanning, use infographics, images, call-outs, and graphical methods to break up a message into brief points of interest, large enough to let the eyes alight for a moment.
Design for Simplicity
People crave clarity and simplicity. Users evaluate a website’s design quickly—we can process the visual in as little as 13 milliseconds—so make good use of your time, and make your goals clear. Don’t hide buttons or navigational elements. Visually emphasize the primary message and action that you want people to take.
Focus on Usability
A significant component of a website user experience is how easily they can find the information they’re looking for or consume the content they’re interested in. Examine digital design assets in a relentless, continual way to identify opportunities to improve usability. A bold and clever design may incorporate the principle of immediate, evident usability and slightly obscured capability that reveals itself only when needed.
We prefer the familiar, the consistent, and the relatable. We expect a call and response, a natural rhythm reminiscent of verse-chorus-verse. Use clean, consistent designs. When you reuse colors, behaviors, and aesthetics, users know what to expect, which puts them at ease and simplifies the journey. When users are familiar with the design, finding the information they seek is easy, and they get what they want without navigational frustrations.
That same principle extends to design elements. UI patterns are in no need of innovation. Don’t cause a disruption—users want websites that are easy to use, not a website that is nothing like they have seen before. Use familiar layouts and put conspicuous links in predictable places for people to find.
Anticipate User Expectations
Know the user before you design the experience. Adequate knowledge of the customer will inform the UX and dictate the UI. Develop UX design that meets user needs. Note what works and do some research—study successful brands, their colors and layout, the selection of features, and how they are presented to create a user experience based on successful organizations.
Inspire, Evoke, Elicit
The goal of great user experience is a positive emotional response. UX design seeks to deliver an affirmative experience and craft a pleasant memory. Good UX design is reassuring and calming. If users see something they like, they want to know more about it. It should have at its core the goal of providing the user with what they want and what they need to feel comfortable, fulfilled, and gratified.