What is User Experience (UX): definition and elements
It is said that every $1 invested in user experience yields up to $100 in return. So what is user experience (UX) exactly? UX is a concept related to either a positive or negative impression a user forms after interacting with a website, app, product, or software. It’s a non-numerical measurement of satisfaction with whatever it is that the customer interacts with.
Why is UX so valuable?
Good UX can lead to more sales and higher traffic. If users view your website or product favorably and are happy (positive user experience), they are more likely to make a purchase.
Sales is not the only metric UX directly affects: optimal user experience will lower your bounce rate, indicating longer visits and more interaction; as a result, you will rank higher on search engine results pages according to their algorithms. Creating the optimal UX literally pays off.
What are the elements of user experience?
To create a successful UX, you can build it block by block by following its five elements:
- Strategy. The goal of this step is to identify your business objectives and your users’ needs. It should answer the questions: What’s the idea of the product? Who is the customer? Why should we create this?
- Scope. This element defines the requirements, what features and functions your product will have.
- Structure. It defines how your users can interact with the product and how the system behaves when they interact.
- Skeleton. This element determines the visual form right beneath the surface, including the placement of buttons, tabs, photos, and blocks of text.
- Surface. This is what users see as a finished product.
How to create an optimal UX?
Well-designed, intuitive UX is a make-or-break component of any company’s website, app interface, product, or whatever the customer interacts with. It can do wonders. For example, when Airbnb improved their UX design, it transformed them from an almost bankrupt to a multimillion-dollar company. UX has a lot of power, and you should know how to harness it.
But what do you need to focus on?
You need to analyze everything in your website’s and app’s analytics. Find out which pages have the lowest bounce rates. Look at heatmaps and identify what people click on the most. Study users’ behavior from when they first land on the site and until they leave it.
This will help you determine what works and what doesn’t, which is invaluable information when building your website’s UX up to its fullest potential.
Usability determines whether your site, app or software is easy to use or not. Everything matters: from a small detail (e.g., is the text readable?) to the larger organization (e.g., is the architecture logical and coherent?).
The UX is highly affected by these components and how they all work together. One of the main elements is the menus. If the menus on your website are not well-clustered and organized, this will make it a little harder to use your site, and your UX can go down. With menus, one way to improve is the breadcrumbs route, named so for being able to trace back your journey easily. For example, a shoe website breadcrumb menu can look like this: Shoes / Women / Heels / Formal.
Infinite scroll is another usability plus. Most people don’t want to click on page after page of products, especially in apps, and an infinite scroll solves this problem. It can boost your UX and, as a result, increase sales and ROI.
Our objective is making our clients buy without having to think or exert any type of effort.– Steve Krug, UX expert and author of “Don’t Make Me Think“
Your sites, apps, and internet-based programs need to work all the time. They need to be hosted on a reliable server, have well-designed interfaces, hi-res images that load correctly and quickly, and work with little to no errors. Aim for perfection on this front – nothing turns potential customers off like a bad experience with loading.
At first glance, this one is rather self-explanatory, but there’s more to autocompletion than just searching for a specific product, page, or tool.
There’s a drop-down autocomplete option that is familiar to any Google or Amazon user. For example, if you search “4×4”, such options as a frame, Rubik’s cube, and gauze pad will drop down. This way, it’s easier for customers to find what they are looking for.
There are also precise searches, such as searching for a specific model of a mobile phone or computer. So when you search for “iPhone”, drop-down options will include iPhone 11, iPhone 10s, iPhone 6, etc.
You can also use synonym drop-downs. For example, if you search for “computer,” autocomplete options will include a laptop, desktop, tablet, and monitor, helping you to find what you are looking for more quickly.
An autocomplete search bar on your website and app can have all of these functions.
If you are running promotions, they should be mentioned as much as possible on your site or app. It can be a bar across the top of the page, a promo code under any product that has a promotion going on, or a promo on the page of the product itself. Regardless of what it is, it needs to be loud and clear. Customers love promos.
The checkout should be easy! You can lose a sale in a heartbeat if your checkout is too complicated.
Give the option to sign out as a guest. Have autofill set up for shipping, billing, and credit card information. No one likes to get up and dig out their credit card when they can autofill the information through their browser when shopping online. Make PayPal One Touch checkout a payment option. Don’t give customers a reason to abandon their cart. This is one of the most important aspects of a smooth UX.
Apps and mobile sites
While we have mostly discussed websites, apps and mobile websites need all of the aforementioned things to create a good UX too. But given that they are viewed on smartphones and tablets, apps and mobile websites have some special hurdles you have to overcome:
- You cannot just use your desktop site as your mobile site. A separate but comparable website must be designed specifically for the size and bandwidth constraints of a mobile phone. And no pop-ups, for sure. Trying to close them on a small screen is torture that most people will not bear.
- Apps need to be easy to use. There should be no logging in every time you open it – unless there is sensitive information, like for banking. But even then, it should be easy to sign in using a PIN, facial recognition, or a thumbprint. Again, make sure everything is organized and well-designed, use a menu with breadcrumbs, and offer everything your desktop website does.
UX summed up
No matter what you want your users to experience, it needs to be well-designed, thought through, and analyzed to make sure everyone has a good user experience. Intuitive design leads to good UX, which equals happy users, who convert into happy customers, which results in higher revenue.