“People will ignore design that ignores people,” said Frank Chimero, well-respected designer and author of “The Shape of Design.”
The user experience, or UX, dictates how a user interacts with a company’s website. This experience gives the business an opportunity to express what it is about and what the product has to offer. UX design is often used interchangeably with user-centered or human-centered design, which can be distinguished from graphic design, which is responsible for the appearance of the website.
Designing a website with the intent of creating a meaningful experience for the user is crucial in the present climate of website requirements. It is what helps the business gain the trust and loyalty of its services to meet the user’s needs. Without a good user experience, it gives an indication of what quality of service the business provides. In the end, the business will not look as prominent/stand out from the competition.
A great user experience can be summed up in three aspects: simplicity in usability, good form and function and consistency. A business website must be able to provide a simple and clear understanding of what is being shown — both in what the business wants to share and more specifically in conveniently providing what the user has come to the website interested to learn. Good form and function will let the user know that you put effort in ensuring they have a good experience and in providing structured and relevant data and information that covers all aspect of your business in one, succinct place.
All of the understanding, content and form must work together to provide the user with a natural flow when traversing the website. It must anticipate your customers’ questions or needs and maintain consistency between all the pages and elements — including associated apps and social media pages. With all three aspects together, this will give a great overall UX with the business’s website and will be able to attract current and new users to the business’s services.
Yet with many moving parts to UX, businesses are easily led astray when building their website. The UX falls short when the three aspects mentioned earlier are not in balance. For example, if you have a beautiful interface, but fall short in data, the customer will immediately feel like the website is an empty shell. The whole point of designing from a UX standpoint is to achieve perfect harmony between all the elements to ensure the customer is engaged at all levels while visiting the webpage.
A business should assess its user experience as the business grows. Content is key, but in order to accommodate all the new content that a user might need, the business must be able to scale along with it.
That being said, good UX design should span all digital content. The website should be scalable in that it could display content from other media feeds, so the information can be in sync automatically. Having good UX design on a foundational level ensures the website is scalable to accommodate static information that could be update as needed as well as feeds that can update on the fly. The more thought put into design of it’s overall structure, the less you will have to overhaul it in the future. This will open the business up to focusing on content about it’s products and services.
— This is the second in a three-part series. See the January/February issue of Guam Business Magazine for “Websites for businesses — part I: website relevance today,” and stay tuned to the next issue of Guam Business Magazine for “Website for businesses — part III: common problems and solutions.”