What is User Experience?
Lurking beneath the surface of everything you do is something researchers study and you likely never stop to even consider—your own user experience (UX). If you use the internet, UX is important to you. It covers the what, when, where, why, and how someone uses a product or service, as well as who that person is. User experience is how the user feels when interacting with something, including web design—what we do. To begin, you must ask one simple (at least, on the surface) question: What do people who use your website actually want?
What is UX Design?
UX design is a process, which means it’s scientific. Imagine taking the scientific method using analysis and measurement and applying it to humans and their behavior. UX design follows a user-centric design process, which takes the user’s needs into account at every stage of the website’s lifecycle. It’s purpose? Answering the million dollar question of, “What do our users want?” And after it asks this question, it asks it again. And again. And again.
UX Design is all about asking the right questions. At every iteration of the project, take a step back and ask whether you’re designing a website that fits your users’ needs.
Good questions to ask would include:
- Who is your audience?
- What the number one thing users want when they land on your homepage?
- What’s the second most important thing?
- Are we making the journey to said things easy or hard? (The correct answer should be as easy as possible)
Imagine your user’s journey through your website. Find out what drives your user. Getting inside someone’s head is crucial to understanding the art of conversion. Just be careful not to get bogged down. Call things out that need investigation, make a list, then move on.
UX Design is Not One-Size-Fits-All
One mistake most people make when creating websites is the myth of “one size fits all.” They think of their website’s user experience in just one medium or device. This kind of thinking is detrimental to the success of a website.
Instead of thinking about user experience being one dimensional, we must start designing experiences that adapt to different environments and mediums. You should ask:
- How will users on mobile phones access the site?
- How are their desires different from those using desktops?
- What can you do to reward and interact with users who continually use your website as opposed to first time users?
The rise of responsive web design over the past 5 years has helped push designing for adaptive experiences forward, but we still have work to do.
UX is Not ALL about the User
I would be lying to you if I said UX is only about the user. UX design takes into consideration the needs and goals of the business as well. UX Design enters the sweet spot where user needs and business needs overlap.
Why You Should Care About UX
No matter what field you are in or what your job title is, if you use the internet, UX is important to you. And here’s why:
Someone’s overall experience with your website is most often the determining factor for buying your goods or services. More importantly, it’s the determining factor for making your website one that they come back to buy or use your services time and time again.
Since your business model depends on a website, the user experience of your website plays a critical role in attracting and maintaining your customer base. You only get one chance to get it right. Most visitors decide within a matter of seconds whether to stay on your site or hit the back button to look for something better.
The stakes are incredibly high. Why, then, is it so difficult for many of us to define and create a successful user experience for our users? Why is there so much bad UX out there on the web?
To be honest, crafting an amazing user experience is tedious. It will cost money, as with any creative marketing strategy. But the ultimate reason why there are so many bad user experiences on the web isn’t because it’s hard to do or because it’s tedious. And it certainly isn’t because business don’t have the money for it. The number one reason why so many websites fail at user experience is because it’s not a priority.
You must make UX a priority if you want your website to succeed.
More on User Experience
Still not satisfied? Here’s a huge list of articles on UX so you can read to your heart’s content.
Do you need help improving your user experience but don’t know where to start? Let us help. Shoot us an email and let us know the Engenius Blog sent you.
- What the #$%@ is UX Design? by UX Mastery
- What is User Experience Design? by Jacob Gube, Smashing Magazine
- User Experience: What Is It And Why Should I Care? by Amy Harvey
- The Only UX Reading List Ever by Simon Pan
- How to design from 10,000 feet by InVision