If you’ve ever gone through the process of designing a website, then you’ve probably tossed around the term “user experience.”
Unfortunately, there are a number of misconceptions floating around about UX. Contrary to popular belief, the term encompasses so much more than just the look and feel of a website. When you’re talking about crafting an experience for your users, you should really be talking about everything from storefronts to social media.
In other words, UX deals with any engagement a person has with your company. Of course, your website is often the first engagement that prospects have with your company — so it’s important to get it right.
Here are four common misconceptions about website UX design.
4 Things You Got Wrong About Website User Experience Design
1. UX is about so much more than what you see on the page.
As we mentioned, most people tend to conceptualize UX as interface design and visual design. However, this doesn’t even scratch the surface of the work that UX designers do. A UX designer needs to consider:
Brand and company culture
… and much more. Yes, making sure your website is user-friendly is incredibly important — but you need to take your blinders off and consider the entirety of your brand as well. That cohesion is subconsciously reflected in user engagement, so if your website doesn’t match the rest of your brand, your prospects will be put off.
Apple is a great example of a company with a holistic UX strategy; no matter where you encounter their brand, be it in store, on your iPhone, browsing their website on a Microsoft computer or viewing one of their commercials, it always looks, feels and sounds like the Apple brand.
2. When it comes to inbound, frictionless design isn’t always the way to go.
In the world of web design, we hear a lot about the concept of “frictionless design.” Friction, of course, includes any interaction that requires conscious thought on the part of the user.
In most cases, your goal should be to provide as frictionless an experience as possible for the user. If a user can’t find the contact information to reach your company or they struggle to find the X button to exit out of a pop-up, they’ll get frustrated.
However, when it comes to inbound marketing, there is a certain level of friction you need to introduce to make sure you’re converting the right visitors and gaining enough information to nurture them later on. In that way, friction needs to be intentional to ensure you’re passing off the right leads to your salespeople while still offering as seamless a user experience as possible.
3. To craft a good user experience, you need to speak the right language.
Speaking of seamless, part of providing an excellent user experience includes using language that is concise, consistent and easy to understand.
For example, when you’re writing calls-to-action, you want to use the clearest, most actionable language possible to convey to the reader exactly what you want them to do, e.g. “download” or “subscribe” instead of “yes” or “submit.”
In the case of segmentation, ensuring users self-identify appropriately is always a challenge, but one that’s solved through the careful use of language. If one of your prospects identifies as X, but you call them Y on the website, they likely won’t be able to segment themselves appropriately, diminishing the overall experience on your website.
4. UX starts with a killer content strategy.
Too often, developers start by designing the website and later try to craft copy to fit within the original design. For effective UX, content needs to be introduced early on in the process. This ensures that the page is not only attractive to users but also structured to support the content it contains.
When you’re building the wireframes for your website, include the content in the original wireframes. Define the objectives for every page to ensure the information architecture is solid; if you can’t articulate the purpose of a page, perhaps you don’t need it.
Starting with content strategy helps you identify and eliminate duplicative or unnecessary content to streamline your website and improve its scannability. The majority of users won’t spend more than 60 seconds on a single page, so the content needs to be read clearly and easily so they can find the information they’re looking for as quickly as possible.
From Product to Brand to Web Presence, UX Is Everywhere
“User experience encompasses all aspects of the end user's interaction with the company, its services and its products,” said Donald Norman, one of the powerhouses of UX design.
In other words, the foundation of a user-friendly website includes everything from your audience and your content strategy to your brand and products. Before you can craft an enjoyable user experience on your website, the way you think about UX has to change.
Kelly is the Manager of Web Strategy at New Breed.
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