By Eddie Maiale
(UX = user experience)
In web design, one of the first and most important topics is user experience design. What is user experience design? A designer’s job is to make sure the user is satisfied and considered when developing a website, application or product. This is where user experience comes into play as the designer must make decisions not only on whether it “looks” good, but whether it “feels” good as well, keeping in mind what the user is doing and designing accordingly.
According to Medium.com, while your online presence needs to look good, it also needs to be user-friendly. Between the two, user-friendly is generally more important in designing a website, application, etc.
To give a real example of how UX Design is important, let us discuss Amazon.com. Amazon is one of the most successful online shopping companies around. How? They kept their customers interested. Yes, Amazon has many products online all in one place for you to order at will, but that alone does not keep them in business. Their website is not only attractive to the eye, the flow is also engaging for the user. For example, on the first page you have the search bar right at the top, ready for you to search if you already have an idea of what you want to buy. If you can’t remember the full name of the product you would like to buy then you could just type part of it in and amazon will suggest or predict what products you are searching for. Otherwise, right below the search bar you have options for browsing history, departments, deals, etc. to get you started. If you make an account with Amazon it makes recommendations for users based on past history and wish lists, luring the user back to their website. Also, when you add something to your wish list Amazon periodically will show items in your list on the front page and say something along the lines of “Treat yourself to something, you deserve it!”
An important factor to weigh in when researching UX Design is this: We. Are. Human. This is absolutely the most important factor in UX Design to remember. Your users are human and humans love to feel recognized and important. Going back to my Amazon example, we see this recognition when Amazon suggests products based on either browsing history or previous purchases. This gives the user the sense that they are in charge, but having some assistance doesn’t hurt. Also, people don’t like to be wrong. If a user makes a mistake, they don’t want to be lectured, instead guide them through their mistake, advise them. For example, you don’t want an error message popping up staying: Error: Wrong username or password. Instead say something like “Your username or password was incorrect. Please try again.” It keeps it straight to the point and professional, but it does not feel so… robotic. Or, depending on your company, make something funny or amusing that matches the feel you are going for in your website.
To sum this up in a short phrase, good UX design = more/repeat customers. UX design is not just some ambiguous term used in the design world; it is a heavily researched subject, especially in psychology. UX Design should be the one of the most valued processes in designing a website, application, etc. as it will not only assist in sales, and also lead to repeat customers.