When it comes to website design, the term “User Experience” (UX) is thrown around pretty regularly. But what does UX design really mean and what does UX design for a website entail? And how does “Human-Centred Design” fit into the picture? As the Web Team Lead here at The Creative Collective, I’m deeply involved in web development on a day to day basis, and always involve UX design in my planning and execution of websites. So let me shed some light on this topic without resorting to buzzwords or clichés….
First, what is Website UX Design?
UX design stands for User Experience design. It is a multidisciplinary field within the broader realm of website and product design and development. Its primary focus is on enhancing the overall experience that users have when interacting with your website, product, system, or service. UX designers aim to create products that are user centred, intuitive, efficient, and enjoyable to use. Ever been on a website or app that was difficult to navigate or use? That was likely because it had poor UX design.
Understanding Website UX Design
Website UX design is not about creating pretty pictures and gimmicky things on an online page. To me, it’s about shaping the online journey of your users. It’s making sure that visitors to your website can easily find what they’re looking for, engage effortlessly, and leave with a positive impression. First impressions are very important when it comes to websites. But let’s not take my word for it; let’s delve into some numbers:
- According to a study by the Nielsen Norman Group, users judge your website’s credibility in about 0.05 seconds.
- 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience (Source: Gomez).
- 70% of online businesses fail due to poor usability (Source: Small Biz Genius).
These statistics highlight the critical role that website UX plays in user retention and business success. But to build on this, what is Human-Centred Design, and how does it relate to UX?
Human-Centred Design: More Than a Buzzword
Human-Centred Design (HCD) is an approach to website development (and other design) that places the needs, preferences, and emotions of users at the forefront of the design process. It’s about creating solutions that resonate with people, not just aesthetically, but functionally and emotionally too. The principles of HCD include:
1. Empathy: HCD starts with understanding your users. It involves gathering insights into their behaviours, preferences, and pain points. This empathetic approach ensures your design choices align with real user needs.
2. Collaboration: HCD encourages collaboration among designers, developers, and end-users. It’s about involving stakeholders in the design process, fostering innovation through diverse perspectives.
3. Iterative Design: HCD embraces the idea that design is an ongoing process. It involves continuous feedback, testing, and refinement. This iterative approach allows for improvements based on real-world usage.
Why Website UX Is Crucial
Now that we’ve touched on what website UX and Human-Centred Design are, let’s address why they are essential:
1. First Impressions Matter: As mentioned earlier, users form an opinion about your website within milliseconds. A well-designed, user-friendly site can immediately establish credibility and trust and have them delve a little deeper into what it is you are offering, which is obviously what you want.
2. Reduced Bounce Rates: A positive UX keeps users engaged, reducing bounce rates. A bounce is when someone comes to your website, sees no relevance or doesn’t have a positive experience and immediately ‘bounces’ off. You generally want to keep your bounce rates below 40% on your site – as low as you can manage. Checking your Google Analytics is a good place to start to establish what bounce rate you currently have and to seek to improve it through better UX design. When less people are ‘bouncing’ they are spending more time exploring your content, thus increasing the likelihood of conversion.
3. Return Visitors & Enhanced Brand Loyalty: A website that speaks to the needs and emotions of users fosters brand loyalty. Satisfied users are more likely to return and recommend your site to others. Repeat visitors are good, and repeat customers are even better.
4. SEO Benefits: Google rewards websites that provide a great user experience with higher rankings. UX design also encapsulates faster loading times, intuitive navigation, and mobile-friendliness which can lead to SEO success.
5. Mobile friendly: We should all know by now that many users start their journey to find your business and interact with it via a mobile. So not only do we want to ensure the user experience or UX design is good on the desktop version of your website, we also need to make sure it is good on the mobile version of your website.
Curious to know how we could improve your website’s UX Design?
I hope this post has given you a bit to think about. You should never presume that just because you think your website is awesome, your prospective customers or existing customers do. We use a range of software to assess how your current visitors are using your website, and could be tweaked (or completely overhauled) to improve your UX design, which as we’ve mentioned can lead to better SEO rankings, longer time on site, lower bounce rates and more customers.
Website UX design is not a passing trend but a fundamental aspect of online success. By embracing Human-Centred Design principles and focusing on your users, we can create an online experience that resonates, engages, and converts. Let’s make your website an authentic and user-centric digital destination.