What is UX and why is it important?

‘UX’ stands for ‘user experience’ and refers to any interaction a user has with a website, software or app.

Some might argue that user experience is everything. It can determine a user’s opinion of you and whether they decide to engage or purchase something from you.

UX is not something you should neglect, that’s for sure.

Giving everyone what they want

According to Amazon Web Services (2020), 88% of online shoppers say they wouldn’t return to a website after having a bad user experience.

Providing visitors to your website with a pleasant experience is a win-win situation. Essentially, it will encourage your customers to do what you want and your users will get what they need. UX could sort of be seen as the ergonomics of your website.

A website that is focused on creating a great user experience in terms of navigation, imagery and content is much more likely to have higher sales and more repeat customers than one that doesn’t.

UX design can be defined by some key principles

There are various principles of a good UX design to follow when designing or developing a website. Some of these principles can be implemented reasonably easily through the back end of the website, but others may be more complex to achieve without somebody knowledgeable doing them for you.

  • Usability

The cornerstone UX design principle is the focus on how easy it is for the user to use the website.

It sounds pretty obvious, but it’s often not at the forefront of people’s minds. All too often, a website’s UX is based on assumptions.

Your user needs to be able to move around the website instinctively and easily predict what will happen when they request specific actions – to enable this, you need to design your site based proven UX principles borne of data and research.

  • Consistency & Simplicity

In a world where pretty much everyone is on the internet and visits websites daily, there are certain things a visitor naturally expects when they visit a website.

For a visitor to understand how to navigate around your site and to achieve what they want from it, the design has to be familiar – generally in line with what they’ve previously used.

This can be tricky, because you want your website to be unique and specific to your company, but at the same time, it can’t be so different that it leaves your users confused and frustrated. They’ll just leave your website if that’s the case.

  • Accessibility

It goes without saying that your website needs to be accessible to as many people as possible, including those with disabilities.

Many aspects affect your site’s accessibility. For example, some font colour and styles can be troublesome with those who have visual impairments, while subtitles on any videos are helpful to those with hearing impairments.

Designing with accessibility in mind is known as ‘inclusive design’. This is a whole topic area in itself, but it’s definitely something you need to take into account when looking at the overall UX of your site.

  • Readability & language

Beware of speaking to your customers using industry-specific lingo. You can get away with it if your website is, say, a B2B site for industry professionals, but if laypeople are going to be visiting your site, your language needs to reflect that.

Think as well about the lifestyle and thought processes of those visiting your website and adapt your content around that. Do they need quick, direct information? Or do they have time to watch informative videos? Is the goal for them to enquire about your services? Your content should be as easily consumable as possible for your target audience.

  • Confirmation

Especially with e-commerce websites, a clear confirmation needs to be provided to the user to ensure that they understand what they are choosing to do. For example, you don’t want people to start purchasing unwanted items from your website simply by accident – this shouldn’t be able to happen easily.

  • Responsive design

I wrote about this recently in a blog article on why you should make your website more mobile-friendly. Responsive design – ensuring the content of your website adapts to fit the device it’s being viewed on – is a key aspect of making your website user friendly.

It’s relevant to various aspects of usability, such as appearance, navigation and the opinion the user will have of your business.

UX copywriting

UX copywriting uses language to enhance and nurture the user experience. It’s not all about selling to the user or strengthening your brand – it’s also about encouraging the user to achieve the desired outcome efficiently.

UX needs to be taken into account when writing the little bits of text on buttons, navigation headers, page headers, pop-ups and more. Often it can involve working closely with a UX designer.

More often than not, writing for websites involves creating copy that accounts for UX alongside other aspects such as branding and SEO.

If you want to review existing your copy and better optimise it for UX, or are starting a project from scratch and would like my input, feel free to contact me for a chat about how I might be able to help.

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