What Is User Experience? UX Explained [With Examples]
Imagine visiting a website with no page elements whatsoever; there’s no “about page,” service pages, contact information, nor social media. There’s simply a blank page.
This hypothetical website leaves something to be desired, but it’s probably not the first time you’ve encountered this problem.
That blank website, along with millions of others, is guilty of delivering poor user experiences. UX design is supposed to correct these problems, so what went wrong? What is user experience in the web design world?
While blank websites are an extreme example, unsatisfactory user experiences arise in a number of ways. Too many graphical elements, slow load times, hard-to-read text, and frustrating shopping carts are just a few common UX mistakes to watch.
Let’s take a deep dive into user experience and uncover the best UX strategies for your goals.
What Is User Experience?
User experience is simple by definition. It represents the overall experience of a website visitor. User experience is more commonly known as UX and covers several topics.
The following elements define a user’s overall experience:
- Aesthetic web design
- Color theory
- Website speed
- Navigational elements
- Website copy
- Shopping experiences
- Branding design
- Search engine optimization (SEO)
This UX list is not exhaustive, and it changes as culture and technology evolve. These factors are also broken down into small processes, like downtime monitoring, image optimization, gamification, mobile responsiveness, and other elements.
User experience applies across departments, but the web design team handles UX design. It’s similar to the product development process. UX designers must rigorously test websites and apps until they’re ready for primetime.
For maximum results, UX teams should align their goals with the sales and marketing teams. Agile work processes are ideal for accommodating this type of cross-departmental collaboration.
Let’s look at some of these UX subtopics to understand the process further.
Website Design and Structure
Your web design is the most significant part of the user experience. This URL is the endpoint for all your marketing campaigns. You need a reliable and credible information hub.
Let’s start with web copy:
UX and Website Text
While your website may contain the right information, that’s not enough to turn the needle with website visitors. Presentation makes a considerable difference for user experience.
A homepage crammed with text is a turn-off, but a clean homepage with negative space, minimal text, active voice, and attractive benefits is a winner. Eyes need a place to rest in marketing, so negative space is vital in web design. The same rule applies to visual merchandising in retail.
Next, put yourself in your visitors’ shoes. What kind of information do you look for when visiting a website? The most important information should be visible and easy to find.
Ensure contact information is visible on the front page, along the top, bottom, or center of the page. For added convenience, enable click-to-call, which lets visitors call your business directly from the website.
Click-to-call leads into the next important point, mobile responsiveness. As more consumers choose smartphones over laptops, businesses must adapt. If your website doesn’t translate well on mobile, it’s time for an upgrade.
Fortunately, mobile responsive websites are the standard. You can install a responsive website theme on your own or hire an expert who can help. Either way, you need a mobile site quickly before you lose more visitors.
Is your website accessible to disabled visitors? Talk to a web designer about including accessibility elements like audio and captions. You should also describe your website images in the alt text fields.
Color Theory Matters
Once again, step into visitors’ shoes. In fact, you should always look at UX through the visitor’s lens. This approach is similar to the “buyer’s journey” method in marketing.
Think about color combinations that make you feel happy, frustrated, calm, or even hungry. If specific colors make you feel a certain way, chances are, your website visitors are similar.
Be strategic with your website colors. Choose colors that are appropriate for your niche.
For example, consider calming colors like soft purples, soothing greens, and light pinks if you’re a spa owner. Restaurants could follow McDonald’s lead by including hunger-inducing colors like yellow and red.
Avoid Abandoned Shopping Carts
It’s great when visitors add items to their cart, but it’s not-so-exciting when they dump their carts for good.
Your cart abandonment rate is a critical UX metric. While many visitors abandon their carts for various reasons, you can decrease that rate with a user-friendly shopping experience.
First, adopt more payment methods. Include standard credit cards like Visa and Amex, but consider other payment options like Paypal and bitcoin. Many consumers don’t have traditional banks, so adding more choices can make a world of difference.
Do you sell high-ticket items?
If you sell large appliances, electronics, or other large ticket items, offering installment payment plans could convince many visitors to stay. You could also try a layaway model or create a store credit program.
Understand that website visitors are easily distracted. A visitor may have abandoned their cart to do something else. In these cases, a little email notification can go a long away.
Include cart reminders in your email marketing strategy. Make sure these emails are gentle reminders and not demands. There is a fine line between reminding and harassing in marketing.
Test, Monitor, and Analyze
Great UX is all about testing. UX designers should test websites at every stage of development, including shopping cart processes.
Testing is vital during development, but monitoring is just as important when a website is live. Monitor site heatmaps, click-through rates, bounce rates, and remember to follow the latest session replay best practices.
Make website monitoring a part of a larger strategy, including social media and downtime monitoring.
Deliver Excellent User Experience
So, what is user experience? It’s much more than a few website design elements. UX is instrumental to your company’s success.
Staying informed is also critical for success. Bookmark the blog to stay updated on the latest topics in your niche.