The rate of evolution in the world of technology is simply astonishing, yet technology has become so integral a part in modern life that the world without it is virtually unimaginable. The only solution, then, remains keeping up with it, fast as it moves.
This is the fate that we designers, among the most useful people in technology, because websites and the internet, are facing. The revolution is catching up with web design and some people have been so bold as to declare web design dead. So where does that leave the technology? Improved, is the short answer, at least for the part of the users.
From Design to Experience
Well, to put it straight, web designers are not exactly obsolete, not like the CRT. It is just the focus of their skills that is changing. The new phase is focused less on design and more on the experience, leading to what is known as user experience (UX). This is the reason that most of the people are redesigning their websites to optimize on the experiences of users.
As it emerges, this is a timely revolution because it is not more web changes that the web users of today need. Instead, they are more concerned about finding the precise content that they need. Some of the technology firms have discovered this and they are implementing changes in this line. Google, for instance, now displays the contact number to a place on the search result such that the user does not have to visit their website to call them.
Tips for UX design
This movement has been fuelled by the shift in use from the static content on web pages to digital ecosystems, products, and tools. Businesses are following in these steps and to maintain relevance, web designers have to polish their skills in this respect. Here are some pointers to guide them in that direction.
1. Design for the user
Most web designers are genuinely creative individuals and this is a great trait, it is why they qualify as designers anyway. But this trait has its disadvantages as well. One is that they tend to form extremely strong opinions. As such, they view everything through the lens of those opinions.
It is important, then, to appreciate that your wants as a designer may not always align with the needs of consumers. It may be difficult to separate what product you perceive as the best from what the consumer sees as their best since you look at different things. You, for instance, may look the complexity of features. However, the most important definition of the best here is the user’s, and they need ease of use more than complex features.
Any designer will tell you that compromising on what they view as best is not easy. Since the restraint is necessary for the ultimate satisfaction of the user, here are some tips to guide you in the design process:
a) Remember that you are serving the needs of the user, so put yourself in the shoes of the user throughout the design process.
b) Map out how different classes of users will utilize the site and hence how their experience will be. Using user journeys would be of great help here.
c) Identify the complex components of the end user interface so that the initial wireframes you create fit in with the intended UX practices.
d) The ultimate way to learn the functionality of any design is in the real world. In UX design, you should carry out as many tests in the real world as possible. Conduct field research if possible, and carry out usability tests too.
e) Conduct A/B tests so that you end up with only the best elements in the design for the user experience including images, colors, among others.
2. Distinguish between UX and UI
One of the most common mistakes in UX design, is confusing UI for UX.UI describes how the user is able to interact with a website’s interface while UX is about how the design of the site makes the user feel. An understandable mistake, this confusion stems from two causes:
a) The abbreviations are quite similar and the two phenomena have both generated new interest lately.
b) UI and UX are both closely related by definition. However, it is important to realize that UI makes up a part of the UX and not the other way around.
You should make content your priority before you progress to wire framing so that you have your creation in the appropriate sequence, which is:
b) Interaction design
c) Visual design
3. Avoid asking users for too much information
Things hacks right back to the fact that users are one lazy lot. They look for the sites that offer the experience with the least possible amount of friction. One survey demonstrated that indeed, having more field does discourage the number of users signing up to a site. Comparing the number of signups that the site with 11 fields got to that of four fields, the results showed that the latter generated over 140% more signups that the former. Additionally, the more abbreviated form generated around 120% more conversions. The conclusion drawn from the study is that it is best to remove the fields that are not necessary as they have no impact on the rate of conversion.
4. Keep it simple
Minimalist designs are popular since they leave only the features that directly help the user to interact with the content. This makes for a smoother, less tedious user experience. Similarly, you should assume that the user has minimal interest in anything but the features that are directly useful to the.
5. Psychological tricks
You should work towards a design that inspires trust and other positive emotions in the user. The success of designs is dependent on their appeal to the user and that has a large psychological bearing to it.