You can create the most jaw dropping design in the world and it won’t succeed if it doesn’t satisfy usability.
Everything from a toothpick to a commercial airliner requires usability to function and sell, or else its design is doomed. Similarly, in the web world a term called UX comes to play when a website is used and graded.
UX is short for user experience a web user acquires when surfing on a website and interacting with its elements and features. If the experience is choppy and mal sought, then the website is nothing by floating garbage on the internet no one will care about. UX can single handedly decide if a website can be used or sold hence making it count is imperative for the designer. In this article, we will share 10 cardinal rules regarding usability every web designer must know before taking the website to its final stages of completion.
There is a fine line drawn between UX and UI. Even if you are aware of the difference, you might hear it from the client on one point or the other, but when the time comes you must be able to explain the difference in best terms possible. User Interface is defined as the actual system while User Experience is defined as the emotional outcome after interacting with the system.
Microsoft Windows is the UI while the emotional satisfaction after using it is the UX. Confusing the two terms can not only damage your own work but also overburden you with something that is entirely not your job.
A good designer will not only know the difference but also be capable of explaining it to the client when proposing a pitch of presenting his work.
Web designing is more than what meets the eye. Everything starting from the visual details, the product you use and the places you visit have UX written all over it. Driving a trashy car is a bad experience, while opening a packed box easily is a good one. Offline UX marketing might seem like a different dress but originally its cut from the same cloth. Although it’s not entirely the same and cannot be justified by a few examples, UX experience in a material and immaterial platforms produces the same hormones in your brain. For instance, someone discovered that humans prioritize information from left to right and elements on the left take less vertical space and carry equal visual weight.
During the year 2000, the trend started changing and web designers began placing navigation bars to the left panel of the web page. This allowed users to scan content faster and better, while giving greater exposure to website contents. As a web designer, having your feet in both mediums will allow you to cross train your mind and expand your knowledge to assess and produce projects from a livelier perspective.
Art and Science go hand in hand when it comes to UX. Having a refined understanding about their bond is imperative especially during the designing process. Scientifically, there is problem-solution scenario where the designer has to lay out a roadmap and tackle the problems with a theoretical solution. For instance, a website is running drastically low on its sales. The designer will suggest updating the website, testing and troubleshooting it which will form into a solution. This is where art steps in.
All the aspects and elements will be suggested in the solution such as colors, typefaces, layout, text and visual content to make that website appealing aesthetically as well as functionally. It will be subjected to more testing until it manages to invoke the desired emotional response from the user. This channeling of outward behavior through a scientific implementation is what makes Art and Science an odd but potent couple.
It’s no secret that designers deal with clients who want things to run by their books. This creates a maze that leads to nowhere since many things the client is unaware of which only the designer knows. Similarly, designers are sometimes bent on doing things their way while other methods are also on the table and might work off better.
Keeping a single minded approach as such is never healthy when designing a UX rich web design. A good UX is only achievable from a goal driven approach that focuses on the best available solution. For example, a client wants to shift the customer testimonials link to the top side of the page to get more exposure and invite more traffic. However, the problem does not lie in the link’s placement, but location link itself as it fails to attract traffic. Hence, you can also fix the link by making it more visible right where it instead of moving it to a new location. Both solutions can be used to resolve the issue and you must keep the option open. This is called goal-driven design.
Brand Identity is among the primary objectives behind building a great UX. If the UX makes its mark in satisfying the users, then it will reflect a great deal towards the Brand which made this experience possible. It important that you don’t get distracted in creating a look that does meet the client’s preferences. A good design that must exhibit the right mix of functionality and features that not only make the user’s experience a treat, but also details the investment a brand has done to make it successful. This will decide if the user will visit the website again.
To make sure you have the client’s perspective engrained in the design, inform them about each move and make any necessary changes that can be accommodated in the design. It is also important that you consider the bigger picture while adding the client preferences so the user experience remains unaffected in the process.
Never become a victim of your own imagination. Since you have somewhat of a creative liberty while designing a website, it’s crucial that you don’t abuse it. In this particular case, you have the client’s guidelines and your preferences deeply seated, but forgot about the user’s perspective completely. Being a designer it is important that you never let your imagination sidetrack you from achieving what the client and the user wants. A user driven design has the best chance of producing a winning UX than any other approaches.
To make sure you are on the right track, research on users of your design niche and learn about their needs and wants in your particular design. Before you are ready to launch it, use A/B testing to verify if your design is meeting the requirements. Remember, the user’s needs are more important than your personal input because in the end they will be using it.
Behavioral triggers are based on human psychology that stimulates emotional response from the user. Good designers are able to qualitatively assess the user’s mindset and derive emotional connection to the content. These emotional connections are essential in producing a lively UX in a web design. Take notifications for example. You might have experienced the annoying popup notification feature that send you off the website slamming the door on your way out. Even though its partly for the customer’s benefit while securing conversions for the retailer at the same time, showing it right after the customer lands on the website is a terrible idea.
Imagine yourself arriving at your office pin point and being commanded to do your chores without taking a breath or enjoying a warm cup of coffee. Timing is a crucial factor here. If you know the human psyche, you will never start off with a pop up that covers more than half of the screen. Instead, you can wait for the visitor to skim the content and then start with your pitch. This way the same notification will be received with open arms, because now the user can actually spare his time to engage. UX heavily relies on the consumer’s psyche, and that is why you must integrate a healthy dose of behavioral triggers, while take caution where it needs be.
Scrolling works like magic if you ask me. It sends the user seeking information deeper into the site, expanding their chances to convert. It probably why most designers place their CTAs at the bottom of the page, where the scrolling meets its end.
Even the “love at first sight” approach can promote scrolling, where the design shows CTAs on the top of the page. You can optimize such pages by introducing scroll cues. Scroll cues can range from arrow sighs to captivating graphical elements. For example, Arrows can be used to point directions for the next piece of content, while graphical elements can take user directly to next slide once they interact with it.
When you put your content live on the internet you, must expect it to be met with people from all sorts of backgrounds. Everyone does not share your views the way you intend to propose them. That is why your content should be absorbable so the user does not need extra effort to understand what you are offering them. If the content is digestible, the user will convert faster.
Give them one bite at a time. Showing everything you can offer in one sitting not only disorients the user, but also reflects desperation on your half. To make sure your design is breathable and easy to assimilate, use plenty of white spacing around your elements so they are easy to distinguish. Also create content that is understandable for all sorts of audiences with examples and your own narratives. Show yourself as their friend, not as a businessman.
Page elements are an integral part of a web design. They carry out essential functions for the users and maintain an emotional harmony in UX. However, adding unnecessary page elements can be hazardous to your website and the user as well.
Page elements such as a CTA with multiple commands instead of one, an image distracting enough to draw the eye away from the subject or piece of text in the middle of the page that misleads the customer. Adding these elements pointlessly affects your web design credibility while slowing down its loading speed. HD images for instance can be lag factories for your web pages. They demand a lot of bandwidth and take away the ideal loading time for a conversion friendly website. A slow loading website is the last thing you want in your website UX.
As a web designer, you must take every element, aspect and approach into the equation. Your target is to must produce a design that not only wins the clients, but also delivers a fulfilling UX. Through these 10 fundamental rules you create the ideal web design that caters usability from every possible angle.