Creating user-friendly websites is what b4b does best. If your website isn’t built to be user-friendly, it risks losing browsers to other sites and – ultimately – your valuable website leads. But it isn’t just the browser you’re pleasing. UX is an essential part of your web design because it pleases Google, too.
Google ranks websites favourably if it sees you have put the user first – not just in the design features of the website, but also in the content. UX is very much an holistic thing that require a lot of thought, which is why it’s always a good idea to consider the services of a professional web design and SEO agency when looking into a new website.
We’ve already written a super-handy blog on why good web design is important, but in this blog, we delve deeper into the UX part of web design, helping you to understand why UX is essential to your website’s functionality and appearance – and how, with proper UX research and writing, you can get the most out of your website.
What does UX design mean?
UX stands for ‘user experience’ – in the context of web design, it’s the experience people have as they work their way through your site. This can be the way they navigate your site, how they read your content, or how they react to the features designed to influence them into taking a desired action.
For example, your website’s navigational menu needs to be carefully designed to ensure people have easy access to the information they need, while a contact form needs to be as simple as possible to fill in, otherwise it might deter people from providing you with their details.
Why is UX research important to web design?
If you don’t understand your audience, you’re at risk of alienating people before they’ve had a chance to read about your service, let alone experience it! In order to create good UX, you need to understand your audience and the accessibility of your website – and that starts with research.
For example, if you were to create a website for a bowls club – a sport typically associated with the older generation – a user experience that involves flashy animations and overly complex navigation may just lead to confusion. On the other hand, if you were to create a brochure website for an architects firm, a showstopping banner video and slick, modern navigation will leave a better impression than a basic website with minimal design features.
If the user experience is tailored to your audience and your website satisfies their needs as a browser, they’re more likely to continue navigating through your site to the point at which they become an all-important lead. There is no point creating amazing content or looking into the nitty-gritty of how many fields to place in a contact form when the fundamental design elements of your website aren’t in line with your audience’s needs.
Accessibility research in UX design
Another element of UX research is the consideration of accessibility. If you don’t make your website accessible to your audience, there’s a danger of alienating a browser before they’ve had a chance to read your content. In fact, the impact of not considering the accessibility of your website can be huge.
Anxiety and stress caused by bad web design is real. If your website it too busy with content, images, calls to actions, and videos, and has a confusing navigation and a complex font that makes your website visitors feel inadequate in their ability to search the web, it’s a strong likelihood that they’ll write off your business.
It goes without saying that it doesn’t matter how hard you work to provide an excellent service, if the front page of your business (your website), doesn’t satisfy your user’s needs, they’ll never get to the stage where they benefit from what your business provides.
It’s important to consider the following factors when looking at the accessibility of your website:
- Colours – a colour contrast tool is a great way to measure the readability of your colour palette
- Font size and style
- Button size
- Error messages and feedback – e.g. failed attempts to log in
- Page features
- Conveniently designed forms
For UX designers, these considerations are second nature. They’ll have spent a good percentage of their career conducting tests and using data to assess the way in which users interact with a site. This means they are able to recommend simple features that can make a huge difference to the way in which people experience your website.
How does the UX design of a website help businesses?
As we alluded to in the previous section, your website is the front page of your business. There are approximately 63,000 search queries every second, with 46% of searchers looking for information on local businesses, which means the internet offers an incredible way to advertise your business to potential customers.
There are lots of different types of websites – brochure websites, which show off the results of your service; ecommerce websites, which are designed to sell products; and information websites designed to educate are just a few examples. Each of these types of website have a different purpose, so it’s important that the UX of that website serves that purpose.
For example, the clear, simple layout and search functionality of Wikipedia has made it one of the world’s largest resources of information. On the other end of the spectrum, Amazon’s investment in how its users navigate the platform from the moment they land on a product to the email they receive once their item has been delivered has helped to make it the global giant that it is today.
What we’re saying is when done right, UX design will help your business to succeed. A good website experience will convert browsers into leads, encourage users to return, and inevitably, become an invaluable income earner for your business.
Why is UX writing important to web design?
UX writing is the planning and writing of micro-copy in your website’s navigational functionality. It can be as simple as ‘contact us’ on a button, to telling people to make an account in order to proceed with purchasing the elements in their shopping basket.
The science of psychology is deeply embedded in UX writing. Simply changing an action word for a different action word can have a significant impact on how people engage with your site. A common example is ‘shop now’ and ‘buy now’.
‘Buy now’ is a hard action – it tells the browser that by clicking on that button, they will part with their money. Psychologically, this can be a scary thought, and may not be an action the browser is ready to make. With that the case, they close the page and forget about their intention to buy.
‘Shop now’ is a soft action – it tells the browser that by clicking on that button, they will have the time to think about their purchase. The button can take people to exactly the same page as the ‘buy now’ button would have taken them, but the softer instruction is far less of a scary thought.
This kind of psychology should be applied on areas of the site where you want people to take a desired action – and something that UX designers will naturally think about when they make their contribution to the design of your website.
UX and CRO
We’ve mentioned the concept of testing a few times in this blog. Conversion rate optimisation (CRO) is essentially the psychological science of testing UX elements. CRO specialists will often perform A/B tests to determine the impact a change could have on a website before quantifiably saying that a change is worth making.
This could be testing two different button colours to see which one gets clicked on most or removing one field of an application form to see if has an impact on how many people complete the form.
What’s important to think about is human psychology and the digital world are everchanging landscapes. An UX designer will be well aware of what these landscapes look like right now and have a good idea of how these landscapes will look in the future, meaning they’ll be able help design a website that doesn’t just perform now, but will withstand the test of time.
Invest in a UX optimised website with b4b
b4b’s web design team consists of experienced website designers and UX specialists, meaning the websites we deliver are on point for your audience’s and your business’s needs.
We’ll ensure we understand your business, your customers, and the purpose of your website, and combine all of this information with our knowledge of accessibility and UX writing to ensure the design of your website works hard for your business.
With our content and technical SEO services, we’ll ensure your attractive, highly functioning website will be found by Google, driving searchers to your website, who will then to be turned into valuable leads for your services or purchasers of your products.