UX, or User Experience, is one of those buzz words that floats around a lot these days and is often associated immediately with building websites. Yes, UX is pretty crucial in web design but it’s actually extremely relevant in almost anything designed these days. From an app on your phone to your remote control UX has been considered. So really, you might as well know what it is..
“User Experience (UX) refers to a person's emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system or service. It includes the practical, experiential, affective, meaningful and valuable aspects of human-computer interaction and product ownership.”
Simple enough right?
In Layman's terms, UX is the way in which we experience a product, system or service. UX design is therefore the process of designing products, both digital and physical, that are useful, easy to use and generally delightful to interact with. A commonly used example of UX and UX Design everyone can relate to is that of the ketchup bottle.
Everyone remembers the iconic original glass Tomato Ketchup bottle that only seems to be found in Nandos now. If you do remember it or have come across it you probably also remember how painfully tough it was to use. Gently knock the bottle on the 57 with the side of your hand was the trick apparently but if that fails hit it as hard as you can and shake it as much as you can and if you get the correct amount of Ketchup in the right place on your plate then honestly you must have superpowers.
That is poor UX.
It wasn’t useful, it wasn’t easy to use and it certainly wasn’t delightful so it must be time to go back to the condiment bottle drawing board. Born was the plastic squeezy bottle, it allowed control over the volume of condiment you want as well as the speed of which it left the bottle. Gone are the days of stress and mess and here are the days of good UX.
But this isn’t about Ketchup or any food at all, it’s about websites but the same still applies. UX is always going to occur. Good or bad, you can’t stop someone having an experience when interacting with your product but you can design that experience for them and be sure it is going to be good.
Search engine optimisation (SEO), another infamous web design phrase that gets around. SEO is the process of optimising a website in order that you rank highly on search engines which in turn should increase your websites visitors. UX can have a serious impact on that search engine ranking.
Search engines always want to give the best result for the query being asked, this doesn’t necessarily mean the best answer but also the best experience. Even if you have the best content on your website and provide the best answer to the query, if your website is messy, hard to use or has poor interaction design then search engines won’t rank it (or not very highly).
Search engines look at much more than content when ranking a site, they also take into account elements such as speed, mobile friendliness, content structure, internal and external linking and user signals such as bounce rate and exit rate. They try to grasp how humans experience a site, if people appear to have a positive experience then this will increase your rankings.
The experience a user has while visiting your website can greatly affect their loyalty towards your brand or company. Take the Ketchup bottle for example, there are plenty of people who more than likely used that glass bottle once and decided that it was far too much effort and potentially too messy and they shan’t bother with it again, they have lost valuable customers because they didn’t provide them with a good experience.
Designing a website to ensure the user has a positive and fulfilling experience is essential for making sure the user wants to return or to buy from it again. People are far more likely to remember a negative experience and take action on it over a positive one.
When someone has an enjoyable and positive experience with a product they want to share it with people and let other people experience the same pleasure they experienced while using your website. UX design when building a website is essential for generating that same sort of feeling towards your website.
Word of mouth marketing is one of the strongest and easiest tactics to use and you want to be sure it’s as strong as possible. People will automatically trust someone else's opinion of a website or product if it comes straight from them so be sure to encourage it.
As with the previous two point, people are more likely to return to a website or recommend that others do if they have had a good experience with it and in turn this will (hopefully) increase your conversion rate.
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