When most people think about design, their minds automatically go to the artistic elements of design – things like shape, color, and balance. But the beauty of great design goes much deeper than simple appearance; good design is about elegance in both appearance and functionality. A good design increases the amount of trust a visitor has in your website and therefore in your business. A bad design leaves a bad taste in the user’s mouth and thus they go searching elsewhere for a more reliable source.
I view quality web design as a tight-and-toned jazz ensemble in the sense that, like how no jazz song is hardly ever played the same way twice, a good UX designer would never dare design the same website twice with different content. Additionally, quality web design is composed of many moving pieces – all playing different parts – that comes together to form a finished product.
As a web designer, I’ve found more and more clients want a polished and flashy website delivered to their doorstep over night. It’s what they’ve come to expect when we’re in a world where responsive-ready Bootstrap templates and powerful CMS platforms such as WordPress and Joomla exist. Because of this, it’s important to stay on top of all the current web design trends, but to not be limited to what’s popular now. What is popular now may not be popular next year. It’s also important to not get carried away with certain trends and design aspects. For example, websites with a ton of parallax sections are susceptible to slow speeds and can potentially become mobile disasters. Focus on user goals, design the site for the user rather than for yourself, and establish a nice balance between experience and interface when building from the ground up.
UI Meets UX
User interface and user experience play hand-in-hand together. Good design creates good user experiences. Bad user experiences can easily turn traffic in the other direction. Bogged down websites that force you to go through multiple pages to find your source, answer, etc. – or countless ads before getting the result you need can turn away even the most patient internet surfer (looking at you, Answers.com). That’s only one example of bad UI/UX, but that’s enough to differentiate between a bad design and a good design. Cheap tactics and poor design leave the user confused and frustrated, whereas a good design always focuses on gaining its audience’s trust and loyalty.
Quality User Interface should include important aspects like fast load times, prioritized information in a hierarchy that makes sense to the user, and a good use of graphics to help establish those priorities. Let’s face it, users can be picky and by the standards that have been set today, they have the right to be. They want something visually appealing and impressive, but also simple to use and easy to understand.
Connect with your audience
There are many factors to consider when developing great UX design. Site navigation, page layout, ease-of-use and color schemes to name a few. Another thing to consider is that everyone is different and everyone experiences things differently. Most people are going to experience what they see on some type of emotional level so try to make that emotion a positive one. Depending on that emotional response, it can either make or break the success of your website and business. This isn’t to say that that is always the case, but it’s important to note. Users want identification – being able to identify the product, service, or idea and understand it; stimulation – a site interesting enough to keep their attention; evocation – to be able to relate or have an emotional response to the website; and usability – a site that is simple to use with easily accessible information/product(s).
So, where am I going with this?
When launching a project, your design should focus on both the user experience and the user interface to obtain the best results possible. This will drive more traffic to your website, gain users’ trust, generate more sales, and overall put a higher value on you as a web designer and/or the business.
Recently I stumbled on a handful of websites that really wowed me with their approach on design, usability, storytelling, and visual creativity. From learning more about American history or booking a flight, to drawing Daenerys Targaryen from Game of Thrones, these websites are fun to visit and are great examples of outstanding User Experience.
Visit them here: