The Fundamental Concepts of Good UX
User Experience is an increasingly expansive discipline but the key concepts remain largely the same. These are some of the main things that contribute to the UX of your site and the things you need to consider when implementing a UX strategy.
Interactions can be categorized as every click, scroll and action taken by the user while on your site and they form an integral part of the User Experience; if a user can’t interact successfully with your site then they’re not going to have a positive experience while doing so. Interaction Design seeks to push the boundaries of mere functionality by creating delight with every interaction and ultimately, a desirable and engaging experience for your user. To learn more about Interaction Design, download our free ebook all about it here.
UI and UX are often confused and (wrongly) used interchangeably. The simplest way to distinguish the two is to say that the User Interface is what the user sees and interacts with, while the User Experience is (as mentioned) the all user-focussed aspects of any system but also importantly, related to how the user feels when using that system.
As humans, we are driven by aesthetics and in the case of UX, visual design contributes substantially to building a positive experience. Your average user probably won’t see all the nuances of interaction design or information architecture that you’ve painstakingly crafted but you can be sure they’ll notice the visuals. By visual design, we mean anything you see on the page; it incorporates everything from images and layout to typography illustrations and even whitespace. First impressions are 94% design related and judgments on web site credibility are 75% based on a website’s overall aesthetics, so if your site isn’t visually pleasing for your users, they’re gonna be put off.
Choosing fonts and thinking about how text is displayed may not seem like one of the more vital parts of crafting a positive user experience… but it is. If your users have even the slightest bit of difficulty deciphering the information on your site, it will cause a negative impression and impact their overall experience. Creating a consistent and accessible visual language will help the reader understand your content the way you want them to.
“As designers, we’re essentially the tour guides of an experience, and typography is the path our users take. Thoughtful consideration of type allows the audience to connect with what they’re looking at.” — Sam Kapila, Designer and Director of Instruction at The Iron Yard
Usability is the bare minimum of UX, if your audience can’t use your product, they certainly won’t want to use it. When it comes down to it, a system’s usability should be effortless. The less attention the user has to pay to figure out how to use the system, the easier it will be for them to accomplish the task at hand. Usability is essential — a system must first be usable before you can work on making it desirable.
Information architecture is an incredibly important part of UX. It’s the creation of a structure for your site; organizing the information in a way that helps users understand where they are as well as what they need to do (or where they need to go) to complete their task. Users need clarity, and IA helps structure and organize your site to achieve this. Without this, your users would be left confused, frustrated, and unlikely to return.
Having clear, concise and engaging content on your site is one of the best ways to deliver meaningful information to your users. Content can help to go beyond creating something that’s just informative to building a long-term relationship with your users. Content can be anything from product information, guides, blog posts, podcasts, video or social media. It’s a great tool for building thought leadership and showing your expertise; it will also contribute to your users’ impression of your brand and in turn, the experience they have while interacting with it. Make sure you have a robust content strategy in place that will contribute positively to the experience your users are looking for.
This final concept is a simple one: your product/service/website must allow your users to complete their desired action. In other words, it has to work, and it has to work well. If it doesn’t have the desired outcome for your users, they will abandon the process. In fact, 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience. Make sure you have processes in place to keep track of bugs, errors or broken functionality.
To learn more about the fundamentals of UX, download our free ebook by clicking on the image below. Enjoy!