Here at ReWork, we believe that a digital experience will make a statement when presented alongside a combination of beautiful design, modern animations and intuitive UX. Web design is what we breathe. The curation and creation are what we live for, so it’s no wonder that we would class User Experience (UX) as the crux of product design. No matter whether the product is; a website, mobile app, or something else to that effect, UX design will always be the pinnacle of what drives us to create a digital experience with an impact.
While it seems pretty obvious to our team that user experience is essential to product design, we know that not every UX designer in the field understands the importance and role of UX when designing a digital experience. Of course, as passionate professionals in the field, the ReWork team know that UX is of the upmost importance where web design is concerned. After all, this is where our passion and specialities lie, but we are not the only web designers out there and it would seem as though there are misconceptions about UX design by web builders and designers themselves. If you truly want to understand the answer to the question ‘what is UI/ UX design?’, then you’ve come to the right corner of the web. We’re here to set the record straight. Stick with us throughout this article, as we will answer the above question whilst sharing our top 5 intuitive design tips:
What Is UX Design?
As we previously mentioned in our article ‘A guide to website redesign’:
“User Experience (UX) refers to the interactions which a user has with a product or service. Each and every element that shapes a user’s experience will be evaluated. For example, questions such as how the user feels when interacting with the product/ service and how easy it is for the user to accomplish their desired tasks will be evaluated.”
On the other hand, “User Interface (UI) is the look and feel, which the presentation and the interactivity of a product/ service release to a user. In Layman’s terms, UI pretty much refers to the visual side of your website and how appealing the presentation is to the human eye.” So, if you’re asking the question “What is UI/ UX”, that ought to settle the definitions and difference between the above terms without confusing the two.
Tip N0.1: Engagement -
If there’s one thing you need to know about UX design it would be that it’s all about engagement. As such, engagement is one of the most important elements in web development. But UX designers often fall victim to a mentality of reinventing the wheel, or trying to fix what isn’t broken. There’s a reason why most websites are structured the way they are and that reason is because it works.
So, why does it work? The simple answer is because users are used to it. That is the psychology behind a perpetuated habit. Users of a website don’t always like change. They’re used to the conventional mode of presentation and don’t like adapting to something different, especially if there’s no need for it. So, that brings us back to the point of, if it isn’t broken don’t fix it. Trust us, if you keep your website on the right side of the lane, digital users who flock to your site will want to return again and again if they feel at ease. A good experience is great for engagement and UX.
Tip N0.2: Website Goals & Purpose -
When it comes to website redesign, there is such as things as ‘too much’. Here at ReWork, we believe that less is more. So, when we take on a project, we avoid jam-packed pages, elements and distracting typography like the plague. The end result would be users bouncing off elsewhere, which is not what a successful website will hope to aim for. Our advice is to keep things as user-friendly as possible. Remember, that from your website’s point of view, the goal is to keep the user's focus on getting what they need from your site. Don’t distract them from their goal, and you’ll achieve yours!
If your website needs a touch of something new, it is better to use tried and tested layouts and designs on a website of your own. This approach will make instantly make your website’s visitors feel familiar with your platform, which will allow for ease and comfort when navigating around your domain. Sticking to tried and tested patterns saves your energy for those instances where design innovation really matters. So, here’s our advice on how to keep UX design simple:
- The first thing that you’ll need to remember is that each and every page has a single definitive purpose. As an example, the checkout page should only contain what is required for the user to complete a purchase through your website. The contact page should only contain the details in which an individual could contact you (or a team member of the company) through sending an email, filling out a form, or writing to an address or making a phone call. The bottom line is to keep things in their place to offer ease of navigation.
- Secondly, the purpose of every page and each component on it is instantly understandable by the user, without explanation. For example, take this web page that you’re on right now. Many of this article’s viewers will be asking to themselves ‘what is UX design?’. So, in order to ensure that viewers of this page can discover the answer to this question, we’ve taken measures to ensure that the layout of this page is free from distracting components. Everything on this page serves a purpose and allows you as the viewer to analyse its contents instantly. Simply put, f it doesn’t add something, then take it away from the page.
- The last rule to remember is that all additional (but inessential) information should go straight to the bottom of the page. Again, using this page as an example, if you scroll down right to the bottom of this article, you will stumble across the additional blogroll at the bottom of this page. It’s a helpful little tool for us most certainly, but the initial reason that our website visitors clicked on this page would be to discover reworks top 5 intuitive design tips and that’s what we need to provide straight away to keep our website visitors happy.
Tip N0.3: Visitor Needs & Demands -
Our third intuitive UX design tip is to ensure that you understand both your web visitor’s needs and demands. Now, this may sound a little obvious, but it remains a core principal to if you’re hoping to be a pro where the question ‘what is UI/ UX design?’ is concerned, not to mention how to use both of these elements to your advantage in web design.
So, going back to the needs of your website’s visitors, UX designers will not be able to figure out the right UX design scheme for a site without understanding the needs and demands of its target audience first. While intuition may sometimes hit the mark, assumptions are a likely way to ensure that a website will come up short and this is something which you should hope to avoid. Want our advice? Don’t leave anything to chance. Do your research and know where you’re heading before you make tracks. Speaking from experience, the right time to figure this out would be during the design process and the questions you should be asking are as follows;
Who are your users? Are they mostly men, are they mostly women, or both? Are they young or mature? What are their needs from your site? How you can provide a solution? Lastly, how does the correlation between their needs and your website's proposition manifest in the overall web-design? The answers to these questions form a foundation for a valid UX design concept, which will only enable your site to succeed in its mission, as will knowing the answer to the question ‘what is UX design?’. Web-design has more of a bearing on the grand scheme of things than what many people may initially think, but if UX design tips such as the ones featured throughout this article, are applied, then goals will become much closer to being achieved, so long as research is conducted.
Tip N0.4: Distinct Page Layout -
A visually distinct page layout is one of the most important goals for UX designers to achieve. It is a way of maintaining a fluid user journey and engaging user experience. In Layman’s terms, it is always a good thing when a digital user does not need to think about how to find or do something on a site and can instead just simply do it.
There are several tips that may come in handy during the design process of a website, which we will discuss further with you now. Firstly, the most valuable information on a web-page needs to stand out the most. If it is an article which you are creating, then you will need a clear-cut headline like the ones we employ throughout this journal, followed up by sub-titles and sub-headings that dig a little deeper into the topic of discussion.
Secondly, visitors on a website will need to be aware of their location so, this means that navigational tools will need to be on hand. For example, you should have a navigation panel at the top of every page containing the significant sections of the website, making every web-page clearly accessible. If you have a presence on social media, be sure to link those icons either clearly at the top of the page alongside the navigation panel, or at the bottom of a page in your site’s footer.
Thirdly, call to action buttons will need to STAND OUT from the rest of the page’s design. You should ensure that their presence and purpose for being on your we-page is clear. The essential credentials are; appeal, universality, readability, and functionality. So, if a call to action area on your site doesn’t check these three so called ‘boxes’ it’s time to amend/ remove if you’re after nothing short of a flawless site. Where color schemes are concerned, call to action areas and buttons require a high-contrast (and often exclusive color) to stand out from the rest of the color scheme, which leads us on rather nicely to our next piece of advice;
That’s right, the last point within this section of our article is the color scheme; as it is super important to be aware that the background colors of a website are usually pretty minimalistic. Black, white and sometimes even grey can work well. Basically, anything that looks sharp/ muted will serve a site nicely. This doesn’t mean to say that you can’t introduce other colors and tones into your color scheme, but the background should be kept pretty clear for a spacious and professional vibe.
Tip N0.5: Consistency & Flow -
Last but not least on our mission to answer the question ‘what is UX design?’, we come to the final tip to achieving an intuitive UX design tip of consistency and flow. If you think about it, one of the most important practical aspects of user experience flow and continuity of the user’s journey. In design terms, flow is when the user journey from one section of a website to another is seamless in serving its ultimate goal and delivering the value. This is a value which we uphold highly, both with our own site and also when creating/ re-designing our websites for our clients. So, why does it matter? Well, a consistent design scheme throughout a site will enable users visiting the page to get what they want/ need with ease. Trust us, if the process of a site is smooth, it will work majorly to your benefit. Simply put, consistency perpetuates usage.
In order to keep things consistent, you will need to think about what the user is going to do step by step. Let's look at generic website flow as an example. The user will begin their journey at an entry point (usually via a homepage or blog post). You will then need to think where that entry point is going to lead. For example, it could lead to another blog post that expands on the subject or a page offering some service or product that answers the user’s needs. Just be sure that you know the answer to ‘What is UI/ UX’ design and their differences so you can really master the tips in this post.
The other characteristic to consider would be what are known as dead-end pages. These are the pages which do not lead anywhere else. If you’d like our advice, we would suggest avoiding pages like this at all costs where the user journey is concerned. Everything must lead to something. Finally, every website flow has an end goal, such as where the users' needs and your website's goals are meet. For example, if users are looking for valuable content and you’re offering valuable content, then the end goal is probably a subscribe button or a call to action of that effect. So, the secret to a flawless and intuitive UX design is to understand the common elements required by both your website’s users and the platform itself. That is the equation to making a web-design work for your site and its visitors. A well-designed user experience boils down to leading a user to the information or tools they need, while trimming away the fat (e.g. unnecessary information).
While the goal for achieving an intuitive web-design seems to be universally understood, the process to actually achieve it can be a little misty. So, don’t beat yourself up if it’s not been something that you’ve grasped straight away. Web-design is a tricky field to master. So, we do hope that we answered the question ‘what is UI/ UX?’ as well as an insight on how to achieve an intuitive website through design. If it seems like you’ve got a task on your hands that you need assistance with, email us here at ReWork. We would love to make your web-design goals a reality!