Whether a product is a website, app or something else, the crux of product design is user experience. You’d think it would be obvious that one of the essentials of product design is UX, but there are still some misconceptions about it.
To enable your product to prosper and grow, your UX design needs to click with your target audience – or you’re back to square one.
Getting the UX design process right will set you apart, so read on for tips to level up your web design!
If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it
The reason why you see common themes in the structure of websites and mobile apps is because they work. Not on paper, but for the user – we are creatures of habit and the vast majority of users do not like, or even fear, change. This is not a criticism but a fact of psychology. The need to adapt to something you are familiar with is not a comfortable one!
So whilst thinking of a new way to do something may seem innovative or “out of the box”, think of the bigger picture. Engagement is more important than reinventing the wheel. An unusual colour scheme, unconventional layout or uncommon navigation method are some examples of this.
It can be tempting to do things like this to differentiate your product from the rest. But this approach is often damaging to engagement, and can actually end up scaring off those you intend to attract. Try using tried and tested and tweaking them slightly to fit your specific goals, such as in areas like your call-to-action spots. Users will feel familiar with the platform you present and won’t confuse or annoy them.
If you stick to the tried and tested, you can reserve your energy for areas where your innovative ideas really matter, like landing pages and onboarding sequences.
Responsive design: keep it simple
No one wants to stay on a complicated website. Don’t do too much as the user will instantly be turned off. Too many elements and distracting typography leads to people leaving the page, which is not what you want. Keeping things user-friendly maintains the user’s focus on your website, meaning they will carry on getting what they need. You need them to keep their eyes on the prize to get yours!
Some top tips for keeping design simple:
- Ensure each page has a definitive purpose – as an example, a checkout page only shows what is essential for the checkout process. Another is the contact page containing only contact details and/or a contact form.
- The user can see the purpose of each page and every component is understandable, without the need for any explanation. For example, keeping the navigation elements distinct on each page.
- Keep the not so essential but additional information at the bottom of the page. There is no need for including ‘you also might like’ type content at the top, as that is not why the user is there.
Know your audience – and their needs
It sounds obvious, but this point is so under looked by UX designers. You need to drill into the wants, needs and demands of who you are targeting, rather than simply assuming or picking up on your own. You can think you understand but end up being false and miss the mark.
There are two simple steps you can follow to keep the user experience right during the design process.
- Ask for feedback from users using surveys
- Make observations about how users will use your product or similar products
Following these two steps can answer some important questions for you, such as:
- What is the demographic of your users? Are they men, women, tech-savvy/novices, etc.
- What are the needs of your users?
- How can you solve the needs of your users?
- Looking at the needs and your value proposition, how does this correlate and how can you detail the design of your interface based on these factors?
Differentiate between different elements visually
This is the final point but perhaps the most important of these four tips for UX designers. Keeping page layouts visually distinct maintains a fluid user journey and thus engages users. To put this simply, if you make your user experience so straightforward that users don’t need to think about how to find or do something, you are already on to a winner.
Here are a few tips to consider during the design process:
- Make the most valuable information stand out the most on a page. It sounds basic but in terms of something like a blog post, having a headline, followed by a subtitle, then subheadings within an article on different topics makes it much easier to read.
- Ensure your navigation is up to scratch and allows the user to know where they are on the website or app at all times.
- Call to action buttons must always be obvious and stand out – not only this, but the description on any buttons must clearly show their purpose.
- Search bars are often overlooked. Make it easy to use. If it is visually distinct, contains the word ‘search’ and has a looking glass icon, it will be clear to the user. The top right corner of a page is the most regularly used location for a search bar.
What about colours? Use blue for text links, red for the important stuff, and contrasting colours for a call to action. Simple as it may be, white on black does always stand out well. Ensure you have a sight on what the end goal is of your website flow.
To summarise, keeping things consistent and straightforward will work in your favour. Ensure the consistency stays the same throughout the journey of the user to maintain a good flow. When designing a website or mobile app, ensure that you are thinking of your users just as much as you are thinking of yourself. These key elements will ensure your design clicks with your target audience. They will get what you want, which means you will get what you want, too.