User Experience, or UX for short, is the practice of designing something, like a website, with the user in mind.
Now, you might think that is a given. After all, things should be designed for the user or consumer rather than those that are selling it.
Surprisingly though, it’s common to let our personal bias impact on design decisions.
For example, you might not like a particular colour. Or you might think a certain image doesn’t look right.
Maybe you’ve seen something a competitor has done and think you ought to be following in their footsteps.
The problem is though, once we make one decision based on a personal bias, it is very easy to fall in the trap of all decisions the same way.
Is there a solution to this?
Is there a way to deter personal bias getting in the way of great website design?
Yes there is! And it’s called UX.
UX design is different from standard design. Rather than using personal tastes to make design decisions, UX relies on understanding the user and helping them achieve their goals.
For UX design to succeed, there are some important steps to follow. These are:
• And, Research
In fact, UX design is based more on research than ‘gut feelings’. That research can come from many different sources:
• Scientific papers
• Psychological studies
• Consumer research
• Behavioural patterns
• Biological attributes
Yes! Even your physical body will influence design patterns. For example, with mobile phones having larger screen sizes, the need to add website menus at the bottom of the screen is becoming more apparent. This makes it easier for users to access with their thumbs for a ‘one-handed experience’.
So how does UX stop personal biases in design?
UX stops personal biases because every design decision suddenly has a purpose, a rationale to exist from.
Suddenly everything in the design has meaning. And that meaning is intrinsically linked to the goal and purpose of the website.
That means if you’re looking to increase conversions on your website, then the UX design decisions made can focus on increasing conversions. Leading to vastly improved online performance online.
UX is a must-have for any new website.
The impact really does speak for itself. Let’s look at 4 common improvements that have a tangible impact on performance:
Keep users on the website for longer
Does your website suffer from poor time on site and high bounce rates? The issue might be related to the UX.
Poor UX can cause confusion in users. They don’t know where to go or where to look for the information they want.
Remember, the average time on site for all websites is only 15 seconds. You need to communicate quickly what your brand does and how you can help the user, convincing them to stick around for longer.
And it’s important to get them to stay. It is thought that high bounce rates and low time on site can have a negative impact on SEO. So, the longer you can get your users to stay on your website, the better for your websites SEO performance.
Meanwhile, having a website with strong UX, will allow your users to almost know instinctively what your brand has to offer.
And if it is related to what they’re looking for, you will see that time on page increase.
Increase customer loyalty
When a website is designed with the user in mind, the interaction becomes smoother and easier.
And when the interactions become easier, the likelihood of the user returning, and thus their loyalty, increases.
Returning visitors are also incredibly important for websites. It is unlikely a user will convert on their first, or even their second, visit a website.
However, a returning visitor is 40% more likely to convert than a new one.
UX ensures that your website is so easy to use, that people are willing to return. Therefore, giving you a higher chance of gaining conversions.
Improve conversion rates
We’ve already mentioned how UX can improve the interaction of a website. Which in turn makes the experience easier for a user leading to a higher chance of return visits.
But UX can have impact in conversion rates in other ways to.
For example, one common friction that users experience on websites is the struggle of being able to communicate with a brand.
Contact forms are a particular pain. They’re impersonal. The user doesn’t know if it’s been sent and received. They typically include lots of fields to fill out, many of which probably aren’t even required.
On the other hand, Live Chat is everything a form isn’t. They’re personal. Quick. You get instance responses. They don’t have loads of unnecessary form fields.
On our own websites we’ve seen live chat outperform contact forms by 300% – that’s 300% more enquiries. In this instance, understanding UX, the user’s needs, pains and frustrations helped to guide the decision to add a live chat feature – and produced outstanding results
Create positive brand impression
First impressions count. Website visitors start to form an opinion within 50 milliseconds of the page loading.
They start to make unconscious decisions on factors such as: structure, colours, spacing, symmetry, the amount of text, fonts and images.
All these go together to formulate whether your brand looks trustworthy and credible. Research by Northumbria University found that 94% of first impressions factors are made up from design related areas.
The study found that if a website had poor design and user experience, it was rapidly rejected and led to brand mistrust forming.
The visual appearance of your website therefore matters in creating a positive brand impression. But it’s not just about your website looking nice. It’s about your website communicating the right information and being easy for the user to navigate.
This is where UX design enters the fray. Not only does it look at the visual appeal, but how that visual appeal compliments the user’s needs, wants and desires.
UX design turns your website from something that looks good, to something that works. Focusing on the user and their goals is paramount in delivering a high performing website.
When the focus is shifted onto UX design, websites start to unlock many additional benefits. Your brand impression improves, your SEO improves, your customer loyalty improves, and, ultimately, your conversions grow.