Prioritising User Experience
Posted 02 July 2013
Website design is all about connecting with people. The very best websites have various things in common, but uniting them all is the ability to deliver a high-quality user experience (UX) to site visitors.
Whilst UX can be regarded as something that works against cutting-edge design, the reality is quite different. In fact, the success of your web design rises and falls on the success of your UX.
“User experience is a process of discovery, vision definition, strategy, planning, execution, measurement and iteration. It requires flexibility, and a willingness to be wrong until you are right.” Robert Hoekman Jr.
Unfortunately, excellent UX can rarely be achieved overnight. It requires a detailed understanding of who site visitors are and what they are trying to achieve. This information, harnessed with a detailed understanding of the vision and goals of the company in question, enables a web designer to integrate an effective user experience strategy.
UX and web design go hand in hand. If something is visually pleasing but not functionally then it is only half-baked and will fail to covert hits into sales. If something is functionally helpful for the visitor but not visually compelling then it will limit business growth. This is why website design is such a powerful tool when handled correctly; it has the capacity both to impress a site visitor and win their business.
The importance of user experience has undoubtedly risen with the mobile revolution. Whilst there is never an excuse for poor website design, the rapid increase in the number of smartphone users (currently 55% in the UK and tipped to hit 75% by 2015) has meant that web designs which are focussed on desktop users are in danger of alienating mobile users altogether. Whilst many website design agencies now offer responsive website design solutions to ensure a consistency of UX across all devices, many companies with otherwise excellent web designs remain oblivious to the fact that they are inadvertently alienating such a high percentage of site visitors.
The rapid growth of responsive web design (RWD) is a superb example of the importance of user experience and the positive influence that it can have on visual design. As web designers have taken into consideration the unique requirements of mobile website design – including screen resolution, navigation (no drop down menus or hover-overs) and vertical scrolling – we have seen an innovative and exciting response.
In fact, many of the current design trends are directly influenced by mobile-first design techniques. For example, many website are now simplifying their navigation and removing unwanted content in order to improve the experience of mobile visitors. However, this is having a big impact on the way that we think about desktop sites, with big typography and photography replacing hefty menus and text, and web designers tending to leave whitespace in order to complete the minimalist theme.
If you’re looking for a dynamic website design agency with vast experience in web design and UX then why not contact us today or check out our portfolio of recent work.