Although it forms part of the field of tech, UX/UI design is truly an art; it’s an art form that does the seemingly impossible: connects the user with the product through carefully selected design elements, such as colors, fonts, images, and graphics. But attracting the user’s attention isn’t the only part of UX/UI design that matters; UX/UI design must also convince the user to use the product/service, come back another time, and recommend it to others.
Although both user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) designers are separate roles, they have similar responsibilities that both work to support the art of UX/UI design. At the end of the day, a company requires clients to function and there’s no better way to find and maintain clients than through an intuitive and quality website design. And all of this falls under what we call user experience.
What is User Experience?
User experience (hint: this is what UX refers to!) is the overall experience a user has with the company, its service, products, and website. Companies that invest time and effort into creating the ideal user experience will benefit from the following:
Better return on investment: at the end of the day, all companies need to make money and companies with positive user experiences encourage brand loyalty, return shoppers, and higher profits.
Improved brand reputation: word of mouth is a great way to gain notoriety (the good kind!) and there’s nothing like hearing about a good company experience from a friend to make you want to give it a go. On the other hand, however, negative experiences on your website will also spread like wildfire, so it’s important to prioritize user experience.
Higher customer loyalty: you know that one place you keep buying from because it’s just so reliable? You know that no matter what, their product/service will deliver and that’s exactly what you want in a product. Showing your clients that you’re reliable and dependable will create a sense of loyalty that will have them coming back for more.
Increased user engagement: you want customers that interact with your brand on social media, leaving reviews or giving a like to your latest post on Instagram. As more and more people see that real people are supporting and interested in your brand, you’ll see more and more new clients arriving to your site.
Higher sales: this one is obvious! With more page visits, loyal clients, and return customers, your revenue will skyrocket and you’ll reach an even larger audience.
Improved connections with customers: customers know they’re just one in a large group, but that doesn’t mean they don’t want to feel special and unique. Creating a sense of empathy with your customers will make them feel heard, appreciated, and unique–all qualities that will encourage them to come back again.
With the knowledge of why user experience is so crucial, let’s head right into how to focus on how to create an engaging user experience through the five main factors of design.
The five factors of user experience
The five main areas to keep in mind when designing user experience are words, visuals, space, time, and behavior.
You just have to describe your company and the service you offer, right? Unfortunately, it’s a bit more complicated than that and the words you use are actually quite important. When writing the text content for your site or app, think about your audience and how to address them. Should you write formally or is a casual approach better? And although you may want to provide lots of details, will anyone actually read it? Keeping your writing concise is your best bet.
Your mind might go right to pictures, but “visual” encompasses anything that’s not a word, like fonts, photography, icons, diagrams, graphics, and images. Studies show that users’ attention is first captured by visuals; creating visuals that send a message and speak for themselves is crucial.
This seems silly, right? Your focus should be on the content and designs, not the blank spaces you have. Unfortunately, that’s not the case: white space can have a huge effect on the user experience. Let’s look at an example: have you ever been to a website that’s absolutely filled to the brim with images and text, creating an overwhelming sensation that you’re drowning in information? White space can actually contribute to a better design, pushing your users’ attention to what really matters. Knowing how to use empty space for your benefit is a crucial part of UX design.
This one is a bit harder to understand; you must create designs that are useful now and in the future and that keep your user’s attention as they navigate through your website. Designs that capture user attention for a longer time are more likely to be purchased and therefore are more valuable for your company. And, of course, designs must be malleable and changeable in the future to reflect any necessary modifications.
Having a beautiful website is one thing, but what if it’s completely useless when it comes to actually using it? Your website as a whole should be made of a cohesive design that is intuitive, designed specifically with your clients in mind, and easy to use. This section also includes making adjustments based on A/B testing results and feedback from clients to improve.
Creating Engaging User Experiences
When it comes to actually creating these user experiences, we can provide some expert tips and tricks to getting to the bottom of creating those truly valuable experiences:
A/B testing is your best friend: it’s true: there’s a lot of marketing research out there, but some aspects require a bit more focus, and that’s where A/B testing comes into play. Provide two groups with different options, such as the color of the CTA button, and see which generates more clicks. But be careful: it can be tempting to offer lots of different options between one A/B test, but the most effective A/B tests just evaluate one specific element at once, making your results even more accurate.
Less is more–we promise: we get it–you want your audience to know just how great your product and company is, but be careful when it comes to providing too much information, as that may distract the user from the goal at hand: buying your product or service! Don’t be afraid of including white space in your designs or going for a more simplistic design–it will benefit you in the long run.
User feedback is valuable: something that is quite obvious to you might be completely new information to the user and although you think that red is the best color for the contact button, users could find it too flashy. When collecting user feedback or launching surveys, dedicate some real time to figuring out exactly what users want and how you can incorporate it into your next change.
Accessibility isn’t optional: you can create what you think is the best design ever, but if it’s not accessible to every user or provides options for impaired users, it isn’t a quality design. Including accessible options in your design can be tricky and may take some workshopping and trial and errors, but ensuring you’re creating a design that everyone, no matter what, can access will both promote inclusivity and expand your client base.
Focus on the small stuff: have you ever visited a website and loved a very small element, such as a button that jumps off the page when you click it or the ability to return to a page and be brought to exactly where you were before? These might seem minor, but they contribute to an overall superior user experience and one that will make your client think fondly of your site and be more likely to return in the future.
Spending time on your brand’s image is worth it: the best designs are cohesive and this means that all elements go together and make sense; your font, colors, headers, and images need to fit with your chosen brand image, contributing to an overall sense of togetherness that provides the brand with more authority.
As you can now tell, we truly believe that UX/UI design is an art; it’s an art that can transform your website or app into a storytelling machine that captures new users, encourages customer loyalty, and has a quality reputation. Careers in UX/UI design are on the rise and becoming more and more in demand and there’s never been a better time to dive into the field and become a UX/UI designer that’s truly focused on improving the user experience.
Interested in transforming your career and diving into the art of UX/UI design? At Ironhack, we offer a bootcamp that focuses on that very topic and helps you reach your goal of creating engaging user experiences as a UX/UI designer. Ready to take the leap? We can’t wait to see your application.