Understanding UI & UX Design
From social media streams and background videos to mobile optimisation and behind-the-scenes conversion tracking, the websites of today are brimming with the latest features and functionality. User interfaces are the platforms your users interact with, while the user experience is the way those users interact with your user interface. Recognising the parts these elements have to play in your site’s functionality and performance is the first step towards truly understanding UI & UX design.
In digital today, the user always comes first. From site layout and page design to onsite content and calls-to-action, every inch of every site or app built should be designed to make each user’s experience more streamlined, smooth and satisfying overall. This can be a bit of a balancing act, but it’s a line experienced designers have walked time and time again in pursuit of the optimal user experience.
Intuitive user interfaces are the glue that holds your site together. Without them, users suffer – which means your site or application suffers, too. From user-friendly mobile applications to streamlined website designs, an in-depth knowledge of how user journeys work makes the creation of these easy-to-use platforms possible and gives them the innate power to drive goals and conversions.
From designing and building a site from scratch to improving on an existing foundation, the solution for you will depend entirely on what existing assets you have and what your aspirations are for the future of your business. It may be that simply streamlining the customer journey through your website through some subtle but strategic updates will dramatically improve the usability of your website or app and drive a higher conversion rate in the long term – transforming user experiences doesn’t have to mean wiping the slate clean.
If your site or app was built elsewhere and doesn’t perform as you think it should, there’s no need to despair. Experienced user experience designers are well-versed in improving existing apps and sites and bringing them up to scratch – able to pinpoint areas for improvement and recommend key updates that will drive measurable improvement with regards to user engagement.
To work towards a brand environment that is as rewarding for users as it is lucrative for you, there are a few crucial secrets to UX success:
- View your site as users do. There’s nothing to be gained from striving for a designer’s dream website – the goal should always be to achieve a user’s dream website, where journeys are clear, compact and effortlessly intuitive
- Understand that user interfaces are the design assets your users engage with, and the user experience is how those assets are perceived, interacted with and used. The UX design process is so much more than the art of creating beautiful online platforms – without consideration for how these will be received and engaged with by your users, design assets large and small are likely doomed to fail
- Measure and refine over time. Data is a UX designer’s ultimate tool, giving them the power to identify low-engagement areas of your website or app and diagnose the issues holding these areas back. Better yet, data can validate UX-related design decisions, with improvements in key engagement metrics serving as proof of successful conversion rate optimisation
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