UX: Should we really be bothered about it?
The term UX (which stands for ‘User Experience’) is somewhat overused and in danger of becoming a buzz word. On one hand, it’s great that more companies are now beginning to pay attention to UX – but do they truly understand what it means and how important it is to the success of their business?
According to Don Norman and Jackob Nielson’s definition of UX: “User Experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.”
Simply put, UX includes everything from the actions you take to the way you feel when you use a product or service.
User experience is all around us
Typically, we think of UX in the context of websites or digital applications. However, before I sat down to write this article, I made a coffee and therefore I had a ‘user experience’.
UX is everywhere in our daily lives, though we might not associate it with routine activities. And it’s even rarer for us to stop and reflect on whether we’ve had a good or bad user experience.
If the kettle had taken 10 minutes to boil, or it splashed water everywhere while I was pouring my coffee, my overall user experience would have been a poor one and therefore my perception of the kettle’s brand would have become negative.
Alternatively, if the kettle had been super quick and played my favourite song while it boiled, it would have left me with a good user experience, which creates brand loyalty and a positive perception.
User experience online
Let’s put the kettles aside and get back the web. The next time you visit a site, ask yourself these questions:
- Does the website blow you away with its design?
- Have your needs been met?
- Does it clearly inform you of who the brand is and what services it offers?
- Did you hesitate at any point while using the website?
- Would you visit this site again?
If the answer is ‘no’ to a number of these questions, it’s likely there are issues with the site’s overall user experience.
Pretty designs are not the answer
The way a website looks is often the most important thing to stakeholders, and I can understand why – after all, it’s the fun and glamourous end of the process. But a visual design needs structure.
Any designer can redesign a website and create something that looks perfectly nice, but without context they are simply papering over the cracks and doing little to improve the users’ experience.
While the visual design certainly contributes to the user experience, your first priority should be addressing the needs of the user. The only way to do that is to research both quantitative and qualitative factors.
For me, this is the most exciting part. Getting down to the nitty gritty and understanding all the finer details around things like audience types, user goals, and usability issues (to name just a few) all help me formalise a design plan that will result in a successful product or service – and a great user experience.
In summary: Yes, you should be bothered about UX
UX is important and it certainly shouldn’t be ignored. The world of user experience is forever changing, as are your customers’ expectations, which is why it’s key to start off on the right foot and continually improve your UX to create brand loyalty and retention.
For further details on how we can help you improve your user experience, please get in touch with our team.