What is UX?
Do you need a real-life UX design process? Do you know what UX is? UX or User experience is what keeps visitors on your site longer and keeps them coming back.
If your bounce rate is 80% or more, have a look at your UX. Even if it’s not that high, having a good user experience on your website is essential.
Are you building your website on your own because a professional designer isn’t in the budget just yet? Before you go any further, let me hook you up with a real-life UX design process. A process that will help you create a site that converts like crazy.
If you are working with a designer use these steps to start thinking about the things that need to go into your design. Your designer is probably already implementing UX in the design, but as the business owner, you have excellent insight into your audience. Your input here can make your UX skyrocket.
Even if you do it yourself, catering to user experience is an essential to avoid business failures online. It’s what you need to convert visitors into buyers. A site with good UX is easy to understand, it’s easy to follow, and it’s what the pros use. You should be using it too.
Is Lack of User Experience (UX) is costing you money?
What happens after you’ve done all the work to get someone to your site? You bought the ads, you wrote the articles, made the videos blasted it all over social media. You put in a lot of work, doing everything you could think of to get people to your site, now what? Do they stay or do they bounce?
Why advertising and promotion is like a relay race
You can get people to your site if you know how to use targeted Facebook ads. You can get people there if you hustle and promote.
Facebook and Google alone can drive serious traffic for the right price. Assuming you know what you’re doing with your ad criteria. The majority of the companies running ads on Facebook are online business owners. At Facebook, business is booming.
“Facebook Inc. reinforced its standing as a mobile-advertising powerhouse, nearly tripling its quarterly profit at a time when its Silicon Valley rivals are under performing.
The social network on Wednesday said advertising revenue jumped 57% in the first quarter to $5.2 billion from $3.3 billion. Mobile ads, which command a higher price than those shown on desktops, accounted for roughly four-fifths of that revenue.” Deepa Seetharaman
Once you have the traffic on your website, your ads just handed over the baton at the last leg of a relay race. The website has to take that sale all the way to the finish line. If your site isn’t winning the relay race, it’s time to replace it.
How do you know if a real-life UX design process was used on your website?
If a pretty looking website is not functional, the designer didn’t follow a real-life UX design process. You as the business owner don’t know there’s anything wrong with the design. All you see is a beautiful website. You have parallax and animations with big bold photos and creative fonts and colors. I love thinking about that website, but I have to spoil the fantasy.
If the user experiences a page that doesn’t load fast or they can’t find navigational cues, you have a problem. If the user has to spend precious time figuring out where they need to go next, you have a problem. That beautiful design you fell in love with is not going to cut it.
What is your website doing for your users?
Getting someone to your site is not enough. Once the user gets there, you have to keep them there and keep them coming back. The most powerful way to make people fall in love with your site is to provide good user experience.
Jesse James Garrett in his book, The Elements of User Experience, defines a websites user experience in five planes of development. As an entrepreneur, it’s important to know this model. Whether you do it yourself or hire a designer to do the work for you, you should know what to expect. Clarity in the web design process is invaluable.
Remember this golden rule: When in doubt, user experience comes first.
The Five Planes of User Experience
The five planes of user experience are the steps in a professional real-life UX design process. From beginning to end.
Defining user needs.
- What do people want from the website?
- What is the expected experience when they get there?
- How do we give them what they need?
- What is the easiest and most compelling way to deliver what they need?
Note: This is not a one sided conversation. Yes, you should go above and beyond for your clients and visitors. Ultimately, you are in business to make money. You also need to ask what your business needs to get out of attracting new prospects to the site. This real-life UX design process will help you do that.Tip: The business needs are not always about selling to your visitors or making money. The business needs could be about saving money and efficiency. For instance, the site may be a convenient way for users to make payments (payment portal). This convenience would benefit the business by reducing staffing. In this case, what the company needs to get out of the website is cost savings. The company also needs the efficiency of collecting payments.
The best part is, making and receiving payments online is a shared need for the website user.
Scope includes the requirements and specifications of the site.
- What’s being built?
- Why is it being built?
- What features will it have?
- What functionality is included?
- How much of the wish list can realistically get done given current circumstances? For example, you may need a website in a couple of weeks. In this case, functionality for an online store is a big stretch. This functionality is probably not workable. However, a no frills one-page informational web design is a possibility.
- Content Layout
- What is the Information architecture?
- What is the content?
- How much of it needs to be communicated on the site?
- How will you organize and prioritize content?
- What’s the best way to get through the content, from the users perspective?
- How will it be labeled (via categories, tags, page names, etc.)?
As creative entrepreneurs, we tend to get well, creative, with naming. Try to resist this. It’s only another thing the user has to figure out and another reason for them to leave if they can’t.
I love creative naming, and I know it’s difficult not do want your site to stand out with witty naming. I used to do this with my Pinterest boards, and I even did it on my site.
The problem is once you give something a name it’s difficult to change it without affecting SEO. The search engines are crawling your site and finding specific category names. If those categories are gone next week, they mark your site as unreliable. You want to make sure you have this figured out up front.
This step is what most designers call wire framing. If you’ve heard the term but didn’t quite get it, it’s mainly the bones and physical structure of your site.
These are the questions you need to ask yourself here.
- How will people navigate the site?
- How will content be displayed?
- In what order will it be displayed?
If you’re familiar with blueprints for a home, I think of this as the frame. Think of the skeleton phase as the blueprint of the home before it’s furnished and painted.
The layout is important because it offers users a special feel, the ambiance. Crowded containers and having a lot going on all up front is bad UX. Over stimulation can give your design a bad feeling. It can also make your visitors feel anxious. They may not know why but they’ll feel it.
A frame with spacious containers and a good navigational flow will calm the user. If you think about it, these are the things you want in your home, why not your website?
5. Surface Plane
Now we’re getting to the good stuff. It’s also the part where non-designers think a real-life UX design process starts. As you can see, a designer does a lot before putting the icing on the cake.
The surface plane includes all the branding elements of your business. This last phase includes the color palette, style and all the bells and whistles of your website. From sliders to animations it all becomes real in this phase.
Let’s go back to the house example. This stage is where we pick out the wall color, tile, carpet, light fixtures and counter tops. This part is everyone’s favorite. Seeing it all come together.
This stage also includes putting up the content, pictures, videos. Photos, video and other content are like putting in the furniture and decorating. It’s where all the things that create a representation of your business come to life.
From abstract to a tangible product
Your website can be more than an online billboard for your business. The website can be a working partner that will help you sell your goods and services too.
Going through the process above is critical. A real-life UX design process is essential to creating a site that works for your business and your users. This design process will take you from a very abstract idea about your website to a concrete plan. Each step will refine and build on what the project needs and ultimately what it becomes. In the end, you will have a website you can see and interact with providing a real working asset for your business. Above all you will have a final product that makes sense, feels good and navigates well.