Designing a great user experience (UX) for websites involves a wide variety of components and elements that all add something valuable for visitors. In order to do this, UX designers must anticipate the needs of users and potential customers and factor these requirements into the navigation, website responsiveness and page loading speed during the design process.
More often than not, UX designers’ clients are companies, so addressing the needs of their customers will likely help improve user engagement and ultimately their profitability. Keeping in mind budget and time constraints, UX designers can get off to a good start with by adopting several best practices when working on a new project or website.
Who are you designing for?
This is one of the most important questions which UX designers should ask themselves at the very beginning of a project. Research and due diligence must be done to learn more about your target customers and users, their preferences and requirements. Once you are aware of this information and design a website around such demands and needs, it is crucial to back up your vision with actual knowledge that you have gathered.
Retain users through responsive design
When it comes to online experiences, consumers for the most part have become accustomed to easily browsing websites that are very responsive. The shift toward mobile devices has raised the bar even higher in this regard, and studies have shown that mobile users are five times more likely to abandon an online task if a website is not optimized for mobile.
Google actually recommends the use of media queries when designing UX for websites, which basically allow websites to adapt to any screen size. This recommendation makes a lot of business sense, as spending time to make a website more responsive at the start can save a lot of effort and trouble in the long run.
Deliver functionality that users want
Often the case, UX designers get carried away with their vision of what they think the functionality of a website should offer users. However, many tend to forget the reason why they are building the website in the first place – to do something for the end-user that other websites can’t.
Functionality should always be prioritized ahead of form and the goal of any website should be to eliminate all barriers which may keep users from making a purchase or completing a task online. Looking at some of the most successful e-commerce players, most of them provide the user with an easy option to proceed to the checkout as a guest without requiring them to register or login.
Content should be easy to read and skim
A lot of time and effort is focused on functionality and back end of websites, but often the case, the content itself is not perfected to the same degree. You can present key information in eye-catching colors and fonts, but if the content is not reader friendly, it will be difficult to get the message across to your users.
There is no substitute for usability testing
By using the best practices mentioned above, UX designers can more effectively build features and tools that help deliver a great experience for website visitors. However, it is important to note that usability testing should be a standard part of the design process. Elements should not be set in stone, and designers need to be flexible enough to make adjustments as they see fit when testing out a website. Although this may mean extra work and effort, any changes made to the end-product to make it more user friendly will go a long way in improving the user experience.
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