Keeping website visitors interested and happy – right through to paying for products – pivots on providing a good user experience. What is UX design and how does it work?
It’s easy to get bogged down in digital marketing jargon and lose sight of one simple fact. When people click on your pages, they need to know immediately “What’s in it for me?”
Every element of your website design must give visitors good reasons to stay on the page. Then, the design needs to entice them to add things to their online shopping cart and transition smoothly to the payment page.
One of the terms regularly applied to this process is User Experience or UX for short. This article explores what is UX design, and how you can use it to build sales – and customer loyalty!
UX and UI, and the meaning of user-centric web design
It’s important to understand some of the phrases used to describe the process of developing the best eCommerce websites – or any website that needs to influence buyer behaviour.
We’ve mentioned user experience (UX) and website engagement above. UX can also be applied to whether you offer good customer service in physical locations too. When you get your user experience right, you have matched your target audiences’ buying behaviours and decision-making processes.
Another expression commonly applied to designing successful websites is ‘user-centric’. This is a similar principle to UX. You have put your user, or target audience, at the core of all your site development and page designs.
Is UX the same as UI? No, as there are fundamental differences.
User Interface (UI) on web pages refers to aesthetics. If you get your UI right within website design, you have a visually pleasing result that positions your brand brilliantly.
Clearly then, UI matters. If a page visitor sees an ugly, chaotic or plain weird design when they click on your site, then they may think “There is nothing here for me.”.
However, good looks only get you so far in life! Your page visitors want your website to function brilliantly too, and for its contents to talk directly to them. That’s what good UX involves.
More insights on UX design
An authentic understanding of what is UX starts from knowing a great deal about the ‘U’ part. Who are your site users, and what does your ideal target customer ‘look like’?
Successful UX for websites starts with researching some of the emotional and behavioural patterns of your specific users. Your website design can then accurately match their preferences, behaviours, expectations and outright demands.
Don’t think for one minute that this is something you do once then forget about!
You need to regularly evaluate your UX and not just in terms of quantities of page visitors and sales either.
Sustaining and building your lead conversion performance depends on all the different features of your website’s architecture or content or the customer service that underpins it. You need to constantly look at where you are losing page visitors, and get to the reasons behind abandoned shopping carts, to constantly improve UX and boost sales.
Examples of UX website design good practice
Understanding what your users expect to see (and do) on your pages is vital to creating the personalised shopping experiences modern consumers now take for granted. However, there are fundamental UX targets all website designs need to achieve.
For example, can visitors load pages and navigate around quickly, even on mobile phones?
How searchable is your design? Users want to be able to go straight to the product or service they seek without multiple clicks or scanning lots of information.
Does the item they’re considering sound appealing, and does it have a strong image and important size, colour and delivery info?
Then, the best UX must include a seamless checkout system, kept simple, secure and relatively effortless. No hidden extra charges, out of stock notices or unexpected delivery delays, and plenty of payment options.
Good customer service = good UX.
The value of expert UX design
Some UX obstacles and pitfalls are hard for you to see when it’s your website. You know you’re dropping leads but have no clear concept of why.
This can make professional user experience research vital. You can then update your website to improve UX and boost sales. Preferably, making your design so well-tuned to your users, that they loyally come back for more and recommend you to others!