User experience can be defined as, “a person’s perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service”. While the term ‘user experience’ or ‘UX’ refers to the positive, neutral, and negative emotions experienced by a user during his or her interaction with computer systems and user interfaces, it is equally applicable to other instances where a person uses a product, object, or service. Jesse James Garrett, a reputable UX designer, has said that “every product that is used by someone has a user experience: newspapers, ketchup bottles, reclining armchairs, cardigan sweaters”.
UX focuses on optimizing and improving the pleasure, satisfaction, and gratification of using a tangle or system-based product. For example, a UX designer for an eCommerce website can focus on improving the user flow of the website so customers and land on the website, find the product they want within 2 clicks, and exit the checkout process in two steps.
More, the UX designer needs to ensure that the user-experience is consistent across all devices including desktop, mobile, and tablet and understand the different goals that users may have based on the device they use and the time of the day or day of the week they visit the website.
For example, if a customer lands on the website at noon on a desktop, what goals would she have? Is going to make a purchase or is she just performing product research? Would she have the same goal if she visited the website at 9pm via her iPhone? If the goals are the different, how should the web content or website design and layout differ on desktop and mobile? These are the type of questions that an UX designer need to address when creating a user flow, information architecture, or design and layout of a website.
More, the UX designer needs to ensure the content is legible across all devices, operating systems, and browsers. For example, the website content needs to be legible on Google Chrome and Microsoft Edge.
As Jeff Johnson (a computer science professional), states, “one cannot design a user experience, only design for a user experience. In particular, one cannot design a sensual experience, but only create the design features that can evoke it”.
Here are five elements you should consider when improving your website’s UX:
Usability: Make sure your website visitors can easily navigate your website by using the navigation bar, call-to-actions, and other website elements to complete the tasks they intend to perform or retrieve information they need.
Useful content: The content on your website should be concise and directional so users can access information they need and navigate the website effortlessly. For example, if you’re a local fitness centre, information such as hours of operation, drop-in fees, or monthly membership fees should be shown prominently on the homepage or relevant categories display in the navigation bar because this information is info that most website users seek on a fitness website.
Desirable/Pleasurable Content: Beyond producing useful and functional content, create content that connects with your target audience emotionally. For example, if you are a financial planning firm, share a story how your services have helped a couple save enough money to retire by age 55 and travel the world. Creating desirable content that captures your audience from an emotional level is how your prospects will connect with your products or services.
Accessibility: Your website should accessible for everyone including those who have limitations such as vision or hearing disabilities. For example, make sure your web graphics and text or navigation bars are easy to read or listen to via audio by those who are color-blind or have other vision limitations.
Improving the UX of your website is a continuous task because online consumer behaviours are always changing and there is always room for improvement for anything.
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