Both websites and their applications have gradually become more and more complex as technologies and key methodologies continue to progress. What was once a single fixed medium has developed into a very interactive experience overall.
However, in spite of everything that’s changed in the creative process, the general success of a website is still determined by one basic principle, and that is how people ‘see’ it. In other words, is the website easy to use? Does it offer value and helpful solutions? These are just some of the questions that visitors to your website are thinking as they interact with your site and to ultimately decide whether or not they want to return on a regular basis.
Therefore, user experience design is basically all about trying to get your visitors to say ‘yes’ to those key questions. The goal of this article is get you acquainted with the proficient discipline regarding UX design in the realm of Web-based systems, including websites and their specific applications.
Definition of User Experience
UX (user experience) is the way an individual feels when interacting with a certain system. This could be a system that involves a website, desktop software, or a web application and is usually denoted by some type of HCI (human/computer interaction).
People who work on UX design are known as UX designers. They study and assess how users feel when interfacing with a system. This includes such things like efficiency of executing tasks, system value, ease of use, etc.
Also, UX designers look closely at sub-systems and key processes inside a system. They might, for example, examine the checkout process for an ecommerce site in order to determine whether or not the users consider the process of purchasing the products on the site is easy and enjoyable. They may go deeper by looking at certain elements of the sub-system like gauging the users’ experience of filling out form fields contained in an online form.
UX is somewhat new compared to several other disciplines, especially Web-based systems. ‘User experience’ is a term that Dr. Donald Norman coined, who is a researcher in cognitive science and the first one to depict the significance of user-focused design.
The Importance of UX
Due to so much emphasis that revolves around user-focused design today, explaining and validating the value of designing and improving user experience appears somewhat pointless. However, it may be important since it deals with the needs of users overall. This fact alone may be enough to justify the process.
But, individuals who were involved in the website design industry before the codification of user-focused design, Web accessibility, and usability would understand the significance of user-focused design. They made decisions primarily based on only two important things: what they considered was amazing and what the user wanted to actually see.
Designers built interaction according to what they thought would work as well as for themselves. Their primary focus was on both the brand and aesthetics, but gave very little thought about how individuals using the site would actually feel about the site itself. Also, there wasn’t any actually science behind the process. They did it because the end results looked great and because they thought they were giving the clients what they wanted.
The Evolution of the Web and UX Design
This past decade has witnessed a dramatic transformation of how we use the Web. Not only is it more omnipresent than ever before, but websites today have become so feature-rich and multifaceted that in order to be efficient, they need awesome UX designs. Users have also been accessing sites in a growing number of ways, including through various kinds of Web connections, a wide variety of browsers, and mobile devices as well.
Accessibility is another very important factor to be aware of. It’s not just for those with unique requirements like non-conventional input devices and screen readers, but for people who have older style mobile devices or don’t have a broadband connection, etc.
Because of all these broad changes, the sites that were considered the most successful and consistently stayed ahead of the game were the ones that offered the most pleasant experience for the user. The primary factor of how websites are created today is directly related to user experience overall.
Situations that Would Benefit the Most from UX Design
Claiming that each and every Web system would greatly benefit from a real assessment and user experience design is relatively easy. However, opposing that issue is rather difficult if you care about user-focused design on any level at all. In a perfect world, resources would be unlimited. Because it’s not, designers have to prioritize as well as recognize the key areas that will likely gain the most in terms of UX designers and UX designs.
UX Design and Complex Systems
A complex system requires more architecture and planning to go into it overall. Even though investing in a full-scale, multiple member user experience study for a straightforward static site may seem a bit extreme, complex websites, ecommerce websites, and interaction-intensive Web applications gain to benefit a great deal from UX design in general.
Complex systems that include a number of user tasks needs to be perceived as highly efficient, valuable, and pleasant. Generally, designers risk huge revenue losses by failing to consider the user experience.
Smaller companies and start-ups usually lack the necessary resources to hire a full team of dedicated staff specifically for this. For instance, a company that’s just getting started that creates very successful and solid Web applications has to rely on well-rounded, multi-talented people who can ‘wear many hats’ in order to keep the ball rolling.
Under these circumstances, training current employees (primarily Web designers) according to the processes and principles of UX or even contracting out the work based on need, could be more appropriate than trying to hire an employee full-time. But, developing a great user experience for people in the initial versions of a certain product and/or service can indeed make it get noticed and catch the attention of many users. As many start-up owners will likely tell you, sometimes there are simply not enough resources in order to hire a proficient and capable UX designer. Talent and persistence are the keys to success.