When it comes to digital businesses, Wales has come on in leaps and bounds in the past few years. An abundance of digital start-ups and online businesses have been launched, with the very first Wales Online Digital Awards taking place this year.
Cardiff and Swansea are now digital tech clusters, with a £392million digital GVA and a 76% tech sector growth potential, catching up with the likes of London and Manchester. With businesses across the country making significant development in their digital offering, it’s imperative that no companies are left behind, and all are embracing the change.
One way they can do this is by evaluating the user experience (UX) element of their, or clients, websites. Great UX design is hard to define. It’s not something that can be created, it’s down to each individual user’s perception of what makes a good website. Businesses in Wales need to work towards making a good user experience possible, and to do this, you need to give users the tools to interact with your business simply and effectively.
From the home page to the FAQ’s, good user experience allows users to get exactly what they came to your website for, helping you reduce costs and see significant ROI.
Even though it’s been around for some time, UX design is still widely misunderstood, and because the term has been used so loosely, there are a lot of common myths surrounding it.
Using our experience, Kagool has established the top ten myths we have found surrounding UX design.
- UX design is just about usability
You might think that UX is all about your website’s usability, but it’s so much more than that. UX designers must consider how they can make websites enjoyable, helping users interact with your brand in a positive and meaningful way. Achieving this takes several factors, including taking appearance, content, consistency and intuitive navigation into account.
Remember, whoever you’re targeting, your website should be designed for your users. A website is often a customer’s first impression of your brand and so it should speak the right language and look the part. Potentially more importantly, it has to be accessible and personalised for their specific needs and preferences. If it doesn’t appeal to them or isn’t easy to use, they’ll go elsewhere.
- People always use your product the way you imagined they would
No matter how logical you think your design is, users will always be unpredictable. There’s no way to predict how customers will use your product or service, and the likelihood is, they’ll use whatever seems fastest and most natural to them. Even if your design aims to fulfil specific user tasks, don’t assume that users will behave in just one way; it’s important to continually use analytics and testing to understand the user’s reactions and preferences, and find ways of improving.
- A good-looking website is the most important part of web design
While the look of a website is a factor, it’s not the be-all-and-end-all of web design. When marketers hear ‘web design’, they often think of colours, fonts and layout, but it should be more about how the website functions- especially in UX design. The usability of your website is far more important than the style. Ultimately, how the user interacts with the site will determine their feelings about the brand, not pretty pictures.
Amazon for example, does not have the best looking website, however its ease of use means it has achieved success as the largest internet based retailer in the world.
- Users should be able to get what they need in three clicks
You may have heard of the ‘three-click’ rule. Essentially, the rules say users should be able to find what they need from your website in three clicks or less, and if they can’t, they’ll get fed up and search somewhere else. However, the truth is, it’s not important how many clicks the user makes. What’s important is that the navigation feels logical and easy. The user shouldn’t have to think about how many clicks they’ve made, it should just feel intuitive.
- Your homepage is the most important page
Once upon time, the homepage was the main event of your website. Designers would often (and some still do) put the most work into making the homepage a show-stopper. But, because of the way people now search and find information, it’s less likely they’ll land on your homepage first. Especially if you’re using SEO marketing. It is therefore imperative that the same considered approach is made across all pages of the website.
- You can design a website without knowing the content
Every part of the website’s design should work to showcase the content, not the other way around. Many businesses get so wrapped up in re-designing their website, they forget about how the content will fit into the design. The content should be a web designer’s primary concern, as it’s what affects the user’s experience.
- Users aren’t likely to scroll down the page
The myth that users find scrolling tedious has been around since websites moved from single page, static ads in the mid-nineties. Since then, scrolling and other interactive features, have made websites more accessible and engaging. Users find it completely natural to scroll, especially on mobile devices. When you force users to click through multiple pages for a full article, it’s unsettling. Users want to be able to see exactly how much content they’re dealing with. They don’t mind a longer piece, if it’s laid out in a considered way, and the content is engaging.
- Graphics are the best way to grab the readers’ attention
A picture may be worth a thousand words, but it’s not a substitute for good quality text and links. Flashy graphics aren’t as eye-catching as you might think. Users can find them distracting and off-putting, what they want is relevant and interesting text. That’s where they’ll look for the information they need. If you use too many graphics in the place of quality text, users will catch on quickly and dismiss your website as spam.
- Aesthetics are not as important, if you have good usability
Despite what we’ve said about usability over flash, aesthetics is still important. Some UX experts claim that a website can still be successful if it’s unattractive, but others disagree, finding that users can be quickly put off by a complicated, old-fashioned or boring website aesthetic. Even though this shouldn’t be your main priority, the look of your site is still important, and it’s often the first impression users get of your brand. Our advice is to keep it simple and make sure your website reflects your brand positively.
- White space is wasted space
Web designers who don’t give enough thought to spacing will create websites that look cluttered and unprofessional. It’s a common misconception that you should be filling the page with as many details as you can. The truth is, white space is like breathing room for readers. It helps make your content more readable, is pleasing to the eye and helps showcase content.
It’s important to remember that creating a good user experience isn’t just down to the UX experts. The UX team enable good user experience, but your business has to deliver it. All the visual design stuff is just the tip of the iceberg, good user experience design has to venture a little deeper.
For extra advice visit www.bekagool.co.uk