Keep It Simple Stupid!

John Berry

Senior Developer

10 Steps to Create a Great UX

Creating a website that attracts and retains customers is somewhat of a science. We’re learning that there are many steps involved in building a great website that is intuitive and enjoyable to use. Knowing which elements are important and how they should be applied is what makes web design confusing. That’s why some web designers overthink the development of a website, and it only leaves users more frustrated. Sometimes, keeping it simple is what works best. Simplicity really is beautiful.

In this post, we take a look at 10 uncomplicated steps to creating a great user experience (UX).

Let’s get started.

1. Design for the User

Of course your opinion matters. It matters when you tell the people at Subway which toppings you want on your sandwich. It matters when you work with a decorator on your kitchen renovation. But when it comes to your company’s website, it’s the user’s opinion that matters most. While it’s tempting to design the website with your own tastes and preferences in mind, you need to think about your users. What do they want? How can you help them meet their needs?

2. Listen to Your Audience

Don’t assume that you know everything there is to know about your audience. The more conversations you have with your customers, the better you’ll get to know their pain points, their motivations for buying and how your product or service can help them.

Another benefit to listening is that you better understand what your competitors are doing. What can you learn from them? What mistakes have they made that you want to avoid? You can learn a lot from your competitors that will save time and money. After all, there’s no reason to make the same mistake twice.

3. Define User Types

It’s vital that you have personas created, as this allows you to structure your content appropriately. Basic user types include those who are “killing time”, “browsing”, “comparison shopping” and “looking for specific content”. This helps you create more meaningful content that meets the user’s needs based on what they are trying to accomplish. Building a website around user behavior is far more effective than building a website around a specific persona.

4. Declutter Your Design

Remove all the clutter from your website so that you can keep it clean and simple. How do you determine what is clutter and what’s not? Ask yourself if the elements add value to the UX, or if it confuses or distracts the user. If it does, get rid of it. Users want things to be fast and direct, and they’re not going to care that you spent an entire weekend’s worth of time photographing your backyard garden for the perfect flower photos. Bottom line: Less is more.

5. Go Big or Go Home

While you may prefer the appearance of a website that has subtle buttons and sliders, your users will only feel frustrated trying to navigate through. Instead, make things bulky and oversized so that all types of fingers can be happy on your site. For instance, include big buttons, jumbo sliders and large input fields. Also use simple, to-the-point labels when asking for information such as names and email addresses. You don’t want users to feel like anything is a hassle.

6. Design for Tablets

When building a website, you’re probably thinking of desktops and mobile devices. But in order to offer a great UX, you should be thinking in terms of a tablet. Space is already limited on a tablet, so it forces you to think about which elements are really important. When you think in this manner, you naturally start to leave out the details that don’t matter and put together a cohesive, intuitive experience.

7. Solve UX Issues in Wireframes

All too often, web designers throw together a design that has placeholders for copy. Don’t do this. Use wireframes to identify where the content will go, how it will be laid out, where it will be positioned and more. Issues with visual hierarchy, spacing and content grouping should be handled in wireframes before a visual designer starts working on it. It’s also smart to work within the actual size or application width so that the design is kept as true to life as possible.

8. Be a Good Teammate

You need to listen to your client, the user and the rest of your internal team. This is how you meet your business objectives while also providing the best user experience possible. Unfortunately, this level of collaboration is often forgotten about during the design process. Instead, people take care of their parts of the project without working together. Focus on bringing together the different levels of expertise and making your website a shared passion.

9. Be Thoughtful

Being thoughtful means that you keep the user’s emotional state in mind as they navigate through your website. What thoughtful details can you add to make the experience with your website a positive one? Maybe it’s a clever detail or a funny joke. Perhaps it’s a smiley face at the end of a sentence or a fun fact for the day. Whatever it is, it doesn’t have to be complicated. It should be something small that reminds the user that you understand their journey.

10. Fill Out Empty Corners

You may have empty corners on your website that can be fleshed out with some thoughtful copy. Take a look at error/success states, title bars, placeholder text and footers. That’s not to say that you should add something just because it’s empty, but you may find that including something will make the user experience more pleasant.

Creating a good user experience serves the basic and immediate needs of your user. But creating a great one leaves your customers with a positive experience and a smile on their face. A little bit of thoughtfulness goes a long way in creating these types of interactions and also reminds you who you are designing the website for. When you succeed in creating this for your customers, they will be more likely to choose your product over another.

About the Author: John Berry

John is a former financial professional turned software developer. He has a passion and talent for creating innovative, beautiful software solutions. John is always striving to learn new software technologies and remain on the edge of industry solutions for his clients. He prides himself on being a team player who does whatever it takes to get the job done. In his spare time he enjoys cooking, the beach, and playing on the floor with his daughter.

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