UI /UX and Web Design

Defined very simply a User Interface design is the part of the product that faces the user when he looks at the site, and the User Experience is how they feel when they look at the site, aka the broad scope.

UX Design

UX is the acronym for “User Experience.” UX design brings a decidedly left brain component to a digital experience and may encompass the design of apps or other software products as well as websites. While a good web designer is focused on the end user’s experience, the UX designer takes it to the next level and applies a specific methodology around the user.

The UX process generally begins with a strong research component resulting in an articulation of a specific, desired end state and the customer journey(s) needed to get there. This involves the development of User Personas (detailed demographic, psychographic portraits of various types of users and what motivates them) and a collaborative, iterative approach to defining the story arc and the functionality required.

Before design is contemplated, the UX designer will create clickable prototypes or simple static wireframes. The UX designer will then observe the client navigating through this prototype in an informal or formal usability testing process, depending on the scope of the job. Usability testing may happen again after design has been applied and before launch of a website or application.

A strong focus on UX may be a good fit for websites of some complexity due to:

  • Multiple user types 
  • Multiple products or services catering to different audiences 
  • Size of the website
  • Merger or acquisition

 

UI Design

UI stands for User Interface, which comes out of the software world in which the User Interface of a product IS the product. UI designers traditionally are experts in designing machine to human interfaces. The adage “Form Follows Function” is the operating principal in UI Design.

With regard to websites, UI Design is more synonymous with front-end development, i.e., managing complex information, tasks and workflows and distilling it into screens and flows that are intutitive and make something complex appear simple. In essence, UI Design represents the intersection of programming and design.

Web Design, UX Design and UI Design are not necessarily mutually exclusive and in fact many website experiences feature elements of all three. As a prospective client looking at different agencies to work with, if you can define which emphasis is most important to you, it will help narrow your agency selection. Agencies use language on their own websites to emphasize where they are strongest, you just may need to read between the buttons!

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Website Usability Testing

There are many things to consider when you are building a new website. Your site needs to be attractive enough that people want to look at it. It also needs to contain all of the information that you want to share with your readers in order to help them achieve the objective for which they came to your website. One of the most important aspects of building a website is testing for usability. Internet users are accustomed to being able to figure out how to use a website quickly. Most of them will not take the time to figure out a site that is not usable.

What is Usability?

Usability is how easy an object is to use. The object can be almost anything, including a machine, tool, process, book, software application or website. Anything that a person can interact with should be usable. In the case of websites and software applications, usability has been defined as the ease at which an average person can use the software or website to achieve specific goals.

Usability is comprised of learnability, memorability, efficiency, satisfaction and errors. Learnability is how easy it is for a new user to accomplish tasks the first time they visit your website. Memorability is how easy it is for someone to come back to using your website after they haven’t used it for a period of time. Efficiency is how quickly users can complete tasks on your site after they are familiar with its use. Satisfaction is whether users enjoy the design of your site and errors refers to the number of errors users make when they use your site, the severity of the errors and how easy they are to recover from.

Why is Website Usability Important?

The main reason that usability is so important is because there are so many similar websites that people will go to the next site if the first one they visit is not usable. You can have the most beautiful website in the world, but people will leave immediately if they are unable to figure out how to navigate your site quickly.

As stated in the article Why Web Site Usability is Important for a Company, on the web, companies entirely rely on their web presence in order to achieve their online goals. Similarly, a user of a company’s web site will formulate a judgement about that company that is strongly correlated with the way they perceive its web site. Furthermore, usable websites increase user satisfaction whereas web sites which violate usability conventions confuse users and result in a loss of revenue for the companies behind them. This is because improving usability is a great way to encourage users to visit your site instead of the sites that belong to your competitors and is often an approach that keeps customers coming back to your site again and again. Indeed, high-quality websites that are easy to use bring in customers and give a particular site a competitive edge over the competition.

Web Page Optimization

Search engine optimization (SEO), or website optimization, is the process of making changes to your website so that it will appear higher in search engine results pages (SERPS). Based on a number of factors, search engines evaluate your website’s relevance and readability before assigning it a position or ranking on the search engine results page. The more relevance the search engines determine your website has for a given search, the higher the website will rank.

When you consider that more than 60% of Internet users will not look beyond the first page of search results, it’s important to use search engine optimization to push your ranking as high as possible. SEO services for website optimization address a variety of factors, including: keyword selection, adding and refreshing content, creating search-engine friendly design, building links, and resolving technical issues that may drive search engines away.

When your website isn’t found by search engines, business is lost. Professional SEO services can help you increase your site’s relevance and, in turn, move it higher in the rankings – putting your products and services closer to potential customers. With its ability to generate more quality traffic to your website at a relatively low cost, search engine optimization is an essential part of your online marketing strategy.

Website optimization includes processes such as adding relevant keyword and phrases on the website, editing meta tags, image tags, and optimizing other components of your website to ensure that it is accessible to a search engine and improve the overall chances that the website will be indexed by search engines.

Search engine visibility can also be achieved through using automated search engine submission tools, which can regularly submit your website address to national and local search engines and directories. Using these tools in conjunction with website optimization can dramatically impact the amount of traffic to your site.

The biggest, most influential, on-page factor by far is the content. This isn’t just about using the right keywords but also writing content that’s high quality, in other words, stuff that people will want to read, share and link to. Crack this and you’re most of the way there.