Better UX Design – Means Better Engagement – Means Better Business

 

Whenever you are surfing a website, the very first thing you notice is how good its interface is. You’ll naturally know this, it’s instinct. If you’re like most people, it’s likely because you visit a lot of web properties. You traverse through way more e-commerce sites, Blogs, Directories, Forums, Marketplaces and Social Sites than you ever have in the past.

 

Because of this your UX appreciation sharpens. You know crappy websites from well laid-out, well designed responsive sites.  If the user interface is not attractive and responsive enough, then it is likely that you won’t even read the whole content of the page no matter how good it may be.

 

UX design strategy and execution has as much to do with placement of images and buttons as it has to do with relevant content in the right places and clarity of language and loading speeds and a host of other considerations. Many seem to think it is only about the graphic layout or just how responsive it is and how it looks on different devices and screen sizes.

 

User loss of interest and engagement on a product or service site is mainly the result of poor UX design. Poorly thought out content placement, overly long sentences and complicated page entrance and exits can all be culprits.

 

Competent user-experience strategy and execution maximizes user-retention. A case-in-point, Trip Advisor has a thriving community, due to compelling content and massive user engagement. The secret recipe is USER EXPERIENCE and functionality of their website. Another great example is Yahoo Travel again simple relevant imagery with relevant headlines leads to the article and

 

What Is UX or User Experience Design: 

Let us first understand what UX design is. UX or User Experience refers to the experience of a user on a particular product or service page or website. It is usually measured by feedback from the user itself. This can be in the form of non-physical interactive data analytics. i.e. how long has a user been on a particular page, where did they arrive from, where did they exit to, what did the do while on that page or, it could be physically interactive data such as form filling, eBook subscription, evaluation sign up or e-zine opt-in.UX Design & Experience

 

This guide will explain some basic UX design areas of focus or techniques which can be implemented to amplify user engagement and enhance user experience. However, the applicability of the techniques varies with the website. For a compressive list of UX techniques we recommend you visit UX Mastery site and check out it’s resources page.

 

Contrast & Colour To Elicit Reaction & Response:

In essence, websites entail a variety of elements for gauging user interaction. These can include Sidebar Widgets, Input Fields, Vote Buttons, Hyperlinks and Social Buttons etc. However, the usability of these elements varies. Certain elements are given precedence; as a result, they should be designed using higher-contrast to create an element of distinctiveness. High-colour contrast inherently works with visual data processing in humans as distinctive colours may achieve more importance in terms of context. Contrast draws users to particular tasks, engaging visitors as a result. The primary motive is to develop an engagement-based interface, so encouraging traffic into performing a required action.

 

UX/UI Animation – The Good Stuff – Not The Old Crap Stuff:

Animations are handy to enable characteristic behaviours depending on situational requirements. Error messages initiate shakiness, whereas hovering on a button may indicate that it can be clicked. Hover animations are practical for conveying that a particular element is interactive. In some cases, this might be the only sign that a button or piece of text is click-able. When a user is in doubt over how an element functions, they tend to move the mouse over it anyway, making hover animations very intuitive.

 

UX animation should be inherently subtle but visible. It should never be animation just for the sake of animation or be haphazardly placed. Smooth transitional animation is essential for visually connecting  two or more elements and preventing a jarring transition.

 

Website animations are now routine but should never serve as a means to an end. However, carefully chosen animation drives user engagement as it enables a smoother more visual experience. If we can elicit humour, belongingness, involvement or cultural identification via various animated features.

 

Responsive Design Keeps You In The Game:

A massive segment of internet traffic uses mobile devices to access websites. Links posted on social media websites are also accessed using mobile devices, including tablets and smart phones. As a result, each website is obligated to be optimized for a mobile experience. For nearly a year, Google has used mobile-friendliness as a ranking factor in searches. But now the search giant is taking it one step further. It now wants all pages of your website to be mobile-optimized or your rank in Google’s search results may drop.

 

That’s a big statement – Hold On what ?  Yes Google is now demanding and enforcing mobile optimized pages of your web properties.

 

Responsive design strategy takes in consideration user-experience, so as to ensure proper digital experience on smaller screens. The user experience is greatly disturbed when a website fails to be accommodated in a mobile web-browser. This is the reason nearly all new WordPress & Joomla Web Templates designers use are now developed with responsiveness in mind as their number one feature.

 

Clear Language, Short Sentences & Active Voice: 

Some might think this guideline for good User Experience might be more appropriate in a blog article on content and style. However, many times we see bounce rates spike when there is unclear and in concise language in the copy. This might be that there are too many long sentences, too much passive language, ambiguous words, spelling mistakes, broken links etc.

 

Ignoring these areas is the kiss of death for many websites, particularly government or citizen orientated websites where important information is being hunted down. Interesting reports have recently been complied by document & website analysis firm VisibleThread using their Clarity Grader tool to create indexes of various government websites in Ireland , The UK , The US and Australia. The findings are fascinating with various eGov sites and departments scoring batter than others. The findings essentially show poor readability levels on many of the sites scanned by the Clarity Grader tool. So how does this poor readability effect the users and in turn the web property owners.UX Design & Experience

 

Well ! when there is more confusion over the content and when readability of content is an issue for the user they will normally revert to calling the organization’s phone numbers and even physically drop into the organizations offices. This of course increases manpower expenses, as more phones need to be manned for longer periods and more personnel is needed in general to handle the physical in-person or on phone demand. This is where the quality, readable content fits into our UX best practices guidelines.

 

Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy: 

Users are largely interested in a design which supports ease-of-use. In order to enhance simplicity, it’s advised to construct UX flow charts or mock-ups for every webpage. It helps to shape a skeleton for the website to be developed upon.

 

In short, great UX design ensures users are provided with the ‘fastest+ easiest’ method to increase the retention rate and drive-down bounce rates. The user experience should imply simplicity by-default. For instance, if a user lands on the webpage and fails to grasp the sign-up process, it only spikes the bounce rate. If a user clicks a link that says “Pricing” they should arrive at a pricing page and not a video.

 

At the upper-end User Experience (UX) Design can be an intricate field, needing experienced design and development teams A/B testing various options and layouts. However for most websites we should simply follow some some simple guidelines as I’ve attempted to outline here to get the basics, at least, correct as a starting point in order to enhance our users engagement and overall experience while online with us on our properties.

 

 

Cormac Kelly About the author

Cormac M. Kelly is a seasoned professional in the areas of Business Development, Digital Strategy and Creative Design. Cormac is founder and CEO of the InnovateOut Digital Agency (@InnovateOutCome) . Cormac has published articles on Digital Strategy, Content Management and Mobile Marketing Techniques & Technologies. He has also spoken as a keynote speaker on these topics and continues to explore innovations in Content Strategies, Sales & Marketing Automation from around the web.