Have you ever stumbled across a website and had to actively search for the businesses contact details?
Or browsed a website with autoplaying video ads? What about double tapping a photo expecting to zoom in, but it actually ‘likes’ the photo?
These contribute to an important element of web design - User Experience. User Experience (or UX) is concerned with how a person interacts with a website. It’s not necessarily about the aesthetic design, but more about affecting the person’s emotions. It’s the psychology behind people’s browsing habits.
We can highlight 3 important characteristics of effective UX design; Efficiency, Intuitiveness, and Empathy.
If you’re an average user, you’ll probably spend less than 15 seconds on each webpage. With such fast bounce rates of users, efficient UX is a crucial factor in keeping visitors on your site. It is instrumental to emphasis the primary purpose of your website in a prominent and logical place. Whether it’s store locations, or links to download an upcoming app, websites have only seconds to convert. Good web development studios consider the average user of the target demographic. With key information about trends and characteristics of your key demographic, a UX can be built around enhancing the experience for efficiency.
We don’t really think about browsing a website. We just… browse it. We know that blue text with an underline are links, and that clicking on a logo in the header will take us back to the home page (or at least it should). Intuitiveness is about making the UX instinctual. Have you ever seen a young child play on an iPad, and they seemingly know how to use it without your guidance? Imagine if the child couldn’t figure how to colour the picture or fling that angry bird. What do they do? They close the app and find something else to play. That’s what users do when a website goes against the grain and has an unintuitive design. If a website goes against intuitiveness, it’s a frustrating experience, and we form negative impressions.
You may not realise it, but some websites are really clever at forming a emotional relationship with you. When a website seems to understand the needs of the user, we feel a sense of belonging. Some great examples are products on the Apple website. Instead of focusing on tech specs and numbers, Apple focuses on what you can do and the experience you’ll have with their products. By tapping into empathy, we create users that want to browse websites. And if users want to browse, we can assume there is some kind of positive relationship that motivates them to stay longer.
Most people don’t think about how they browse websites. And they really shouldn’t. Browsing the internet should just be… instinctual. It’s the little details that build an effective UX. A good web development studio will design great looking websites, but a great web development studio will design great looking websites that are intuitive.