What is User Experience ( UX ) in web design and why you need to understand it?
User experience (UX) for a particular refers to the overall experience that users have when interacting with a website. It encompasses a broad range of factors that contribute to the usability, accessibility, efficiency, and overall satisfaction users derive from their interaction with a website. A well-designed website ensures that visitors can easily navigate, find information, and accomplish their goals with minimal friction
If a website doesn't achieve a high level of user experience then the user may leave the website and search elsewhere for whatever product or service they were looking for.
Let's look at Factors that can hinder users and create a bad User Experience:
- Usability: A website should be easy to use and navigate. This involves intuitive design, clear navigation paths, and easily understandable functionality. If a menu is hard to click on or overlaps the screen then this can be very frustrating for the user. This a also where responsive design comes in as the site needs to work on different devices such as tablets and mobile phones.
- Accessibility: A good user experience considers the needs of all users, including those with disabilities. Websites should be designed to be accessible to people with different abilities, ensuring inclusivity. Examples where websites fall down on this are having font sizes too small or having poor contrast of colours on the font making it hard to read.
- Performance: Fast loading times and responsive design are crucial for a positive user experience. Users expect websites to load quickly and work seamlessly across various devices and screen sizes. Ideally a website should take no more than 2 seconds to load. If it takes longer then the user might abandon it for another website.
- Content: High-quality, relevant, and well-organized content is essential. Users should be able to find the information they need quickly and without confusion.
- Visual Design: The aesthetics of a website play a significant role in user experience. A visually appealing design that aligns with the brand and provides a pleasing interface contributes to a positive overall experience.
- Consistency: Consistency in design elements, navigation, and overall presentation across the website helps users build familiarity, making it easier for them to interact with different sections of the site. If the user becomes familiar with the site design then they are likely to spend more time on the w
- Feedback and Confirmation: Users should receive clear feedback when they perform an action, such as clicking a button or submitting a form. Confirmation messages help users understand that their actions have been successful. We've all been on websites where we send a message or carry out an action and are left puzzled as to the success of the action.
- Mobile Responsiveness: As we touched on earlier this has become even more important with the advent of multiple phones and browsers. With the increasing use of mobile devices, a positive user experience requires a responsive design that adapts seamlessly to various screen sizes.
- User Journey: Considering the entire user journey, from the moment a user lands on the website to completing their desired action, is crucial. Mapping out and optimizing this journey ensures a holistic and effective user experience.
Poor UX = Poor Conversion Rates
Studies have shown that poor UX can result in a significant drop in conversion rates. For example, a delay of just a few seconds in page load time can result in a 7% decrease in conversions. This can be critical for E-commerce websites especially. Furthermore, a user-friendly website with clear and simple navigation can increase the time spent on the site by up to 150%. Google search ranking rewards websites for users' time spent on their website. If you have a high bounce rate, ie users are only spending a few seconds on your site then Google assumes your website is of little value and lowers its ranking.
It's a good idea to look over your website with these factors in mind and determine if the user experience is a good one. If you are not sure where to start then consult with an experienced web designer or UX specialist. If indeed your website has failed on any of the above points it is a good idea to try and remedy any problems.
In essence, user experience in web design focuses on creating a positive, efficient, and enjoyable interaction between users and a website, ultimately leading to increased user satisfaction and the achievement of the website's goals.