User experience (UX) describes the ease of your readers’ journey on your site and whether they got what they needed without too much effort. User experience is vitally important if you want your readers to book your services, buy your products, or read your articles.
What is Bad UX?
This is best described with scenarios. Have you ever had a couple minutes between clients so you pop online to order that special something for a friend’s birthday, but the whole process takes so long you run out of time? Or you try to cancel a subscription, but find yourself trapped in pages of what feels like a brain twister where they swap the cancel and continue buttons from side to side, changing the colours and wording? Or the content is fascinating but you’re getting a headache trying to read the writing that’s too small? My favourite is those loud autoplay videos that are impossible to turn off because you can’t find them!
What is Good UX?
Questions to ask yourself about your readers’ user journey: Was it enjoyable, did they find what they were looking for, and how much effort did it take them?
You need to design your website so that it’s easy for your readers to navigate and the results of their actions need to be what they expected them to be. In short, make your reader feel comfortable; like they’ve come home to their favourite armchair and everything is in its rightful place.
When your readers feel safe and welcome on your site, they stay longer, they wander around and read your content, they share your articles with their friends, and they visit you again.
Is UX More Important Than UI?
We want to build a site that is beautiful to look at, so that should be more important right? Not necessarily. As my partner said to me recently, “It isn’t just a pretty picture, it needs to work.” Your website is not an ornament, it’s a business tool. It can be stunning to look at, but it has to also help you achieve your objectives. So, while user experience is not more important than the design (UI), in order to achieve your objectives UX does need to come first.
How UX fits into the Design Process
Build the architecture of your site first. Decide where the call to actions (CTA’s or buttons), images, text, navigation menus and specific content are going to be positioned in your website as well as on the page. Also, decide how all the pages are going to be linked together because that is important for your readers’ user journey. While we want to market ourselves, our products and our services, keep in mind these design elements need to be placed where the reader could intuitively expect to find them.
Then apply your branding colour palette, insert your images, input the content. All the time testing and tweaking as you go.
Who are You Building Your Website For?
You will be most proud of your website when you know your clients like it and you start receiving contact form submissions and calendar requests. You will be most motivated to write your blog posts when you know people are reading and sharing them. So always put your client’s needs first and both of your needs will be met.