Imagine you are at a catered lunch buffet, and they offer salad dressing before the lettuce. Or the veggies and sauces are available before the bread at the build-a-sandwich line. Recall the last time you visited a website and couldn’t easily find the information you were seeking. How long did it take before you hit the back button and moved to the next site in your search list? All of these frustrating situations are examples of poor user experience (UX).
What is user experience (UX)?
User experience includes all the interactions people have with a company’s products: website, apps, online properties, and services. UX is crucial in determining whether a product is a hit or a flop. It’s the process that design teams use to deliver meaningful and relevant experiences to users—and it forms the basis on whether people become regular users. When use is seamless, you don’t even realize there is a design. For instance, great UX design on a website guides a viewer effortlessly and logically from one area to another. Good UX helps users do what they want to do when interacting with your products.
A UX designer guides the process behind product experience: branding, design, usability, and function. UX designers make lots of decisions to direct users. People want to interact with products that are a pleasure to use. And the smoother their experience is, the more they can focus on achieving their goal. To deliver successful outcomes to clients, you need to have an effective UX design.
How to build an excellent user experience
Through the user experience honeycomb, UX expert Peter Morville highlights seven factors of UX.
- Useful: At a basic level, your products, services, or content need to be helpful. Otherwise, what’s the point? Assess how you can create something that is original and fills a need.
- Usable: Have you ever clicked on an online recipe only to scroll through endless versions of the same photo? Or trivial information (like the writer’s love of puzzles)? How long did it take for you to get frustrated and head to a different site? Your product should be effortless to use—and its information easy to digest. Determine if users can efficiently achieve their goals.
- Desirable: Beyond being efficient, a product must be enticing. Generate interest through branding, image, and other design elements. Use them to evoke emotion—and create a positive experience for the user.
- Findable: The product—and the information contained within it—should be easy to find. Just like in the example of the online recipe: if it’s difficult for the user to find the information, they will likely search for another site.
- Accessible: Creating a solid UX design means focusing on the user—regardless of their skills. Users’ needs are at the center of all plans and developments. So, designs must be accessible to as many people as possible. For example, some people have trouble reading small text. Using tiny fonts will make it difficult for them to read your content. And with other options at their fingertips, they’ll likely move on.
- Credible: Users need to trust and believe in your product or service—not only that it does its job, but that the information is accurate. Imagine you’ve finally found a recipe, but there are some glaring errors in ingredient amounts and blends. And it’s also missing instructions like cooking temperature. You probably won’t trust the site again.
- Valuable: The product must deliver value to the user and the business; it needs to add to the company’s bottom line and improve customer satisfaction. All of the other elements contribute to whether or not the product is valuable.
Successful UX design involves the entire user journey. Effective UX demands that designers keep users at the center of all design and development—and when done well, users won’t notice the effort that went into creating the experience.