UX Design: So what exactly is it?

Posted: 15.02.17 by Siobhan Harris

You can’t seem to read a design article nowadays without hearing the term UX (User Experience) but what exactly is it?

UX is essentially “the process of enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty by improving the usability, ease of use, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the customer and the product.” 

In regards to web design, UX focuses on the user of the website; ensuring that they can find all the information they need, that the site is easy to use and that they have a pleasurable experience. Unfortunately, many sites simply don’t do this. Too often, websites seem to be created in an illogical way with no apparent thought to content structure or hierarchy. 

Some sites might try and experiment with an unusual design with the intention of differentiating themselves from their peers or ‘breaking the mould’. This often only leads to confusion however as the user doesn’t understand how they should navigate their way around the site. All these things lead to frustration as the user can’t find what they need; quickly and easily.

It is human nature that we want things to be as simple to understand as possible. In a nutshell, it makes us feel clever. Sites which are over complicated often leave us feeling frustrated and annoyed, which in turn transcends over into our feelings for the brand. Put simply, if a site is easy to use and does everything that we wish, we feel that a brand has really thought about our experience and must therefore value us as customers. If a site frustrates us, we feel the opposite - so it is likely that we will simply go elsewhere.

Creating a simple, effective and well considered site doesn’t just happen in a vacuum however, but involves user research alongside an in-depth knowledge of typical user behaviour. Research is integral to the UX process as it helps us identify the needs and goals of users, improve our understanding and informs design decisions.

A UX approach doesn’t mean that the business objectives aren’t taken into account - far from it. A UX approach combines the needs of the user with the strategic objectives of the business to ensure that not only is the user enjoying the website but that they are also carrying out the tasks and accessing the information in line with the business goals. UX leads to a much more commercially successful product.

If you’d like to learn more about how your site would benefit from a UX approach redesign please don’t hesitate to get in touch - we’d love to hear from you!