Web Development: Why Does UX Design Matter
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As consumers, the “shopping experience” definitely adds to the decision-making whether we will make a purchase or not. UX design is an important aspect of your web development.
There is not much else that online stores can offer other than their product/service, their value, their story/mission, or their experience. UX can be your differentiating factor and the reason customers choose you over your competitors.
What is UX Design
UX Design (User Experience Design) is more of a perspective rather than a bunch of rules to apply on your website.
It’s about what the user feels throughout interacting with your brand. It’s not just about the user interface, although it’s a big part of the experience. It’s the overall branding, web design, the language, functionality, and usability of your website.
Most online brands can take inspiration from brick and mortar stores to apply it in their UX design philosophy.
For example, when going to a physical restaurant, the potential customers’ first instinct is to check the menu. For a good user experience, the menu can either be placed outside the restaurant, or posted at the counter or walls, anywhere easily visible and browsable.
So when designing a website for a restaurant, you might want to consider placing a Menu button and sub categories of the menu prominently on the landing page.
And it definitely depends on your brand how you will optimize for UX design. But now that we know what that is, let’s talk about why it’s important.
Why UX Design is Important
As an online brand, you don’t just sell your products and services. You also sell your stories and experiences.
Of course, having a strong product or service gets you halfway to success. The other half goes is having a memorable user experience.
UX Design as USP
When you think about it, what you’re selling isn’t going to be super unique. And even if it is, you will have a bunch of competitors.
There’s a saying that if you don’t act on a good idea, your competitors will definitely beat you to it. Once you start building your site, your competitors are already improving and multiplying.
So aside from your story, branding, and what you offer, you can use UX design as your unique selling point or USP. Keyword there is “selling”.
Consumers typically want these things and more when it comes to a website experience:
The less hurdles customers have, the faster they’ll achieve their goal. Whether it’s getting information from your store to make purchase decisions or making the purchase itself, the faster the better.
Though you can have carefully placed roadblocks in your site like pop-ups to get customer information, as long as the customer is not held up for long, it will still work to your advantage.
You have to account for multiple types of users with varying levels of skill when it comes to website navigation. Functions of links should be easy to see and obvious enough for people to understand.
Though it is safe to assume that most people are computer literate, people have different learning curves and skill levels. What takes a young consumer seconds can mean minutes to older people.
And don’t deviate too much from the developed online patterns that people learned over time.
If you have a logo on your website, people expect to be brought to the home page. If you have images on your website, people expect it to be clickable.
You might think that going against the grain might be a USP in itself. But when it comes to online navigation, people stick to the old, reliable patterns.
Accessibility is a different topic altogether. But try to keep that in mind and make your site as easy as possible to understand and navigate around.
People appreciate attention to detail. Little things do make a difference. If you can anticipate a customer’s behavior or make it seem that you can predict their every move, you can delight them.
Use heat maps like Hotjar to see user behavior. Which parts are they getting stuck on, which parts do they click but nothing happens, what is the last interaction they had before clicking off?
Those are some of the questions you might ask.
For example, your product has multiple SKUs that vary mostly in color. Upon checking your analytics, it seems that this particular customer always stays in the blue variants of your product.
The next day, if the customer comes back and all that they get suggested are blue products, they can be delighted. “Wow, this website is thoughtful to my preference.”
And that’s what we aim to achieve.
You have to make sure that your website works properly. This might seem like a no-brainer but there are surprisingly a huge number of websites that have unforeseen errors.
It might be faulty coding, design that was not QA’d properly, or anything else.
There is nothing faster to turn people away from your site than a faulty link.
Let’s say that a customer navigated your site well, appreciates the details, and even loves the design. But when they go to checkout, the payment processor bugs out. Then, you just lost a sale. Sometimes, it’s multiple sales because that customer can purchase multiple products or be a long-time customer.
So having a website that works properly is integral to the user experience.
Good UX Design Cuts Down on Expenses
Though you definitely have to invest in talent to implement UX design, the returns are going to be definitely worth it. So that is already a benefit when it comes to expenses.
But the effects of keeping a customer delighted cuts down on marketing costs: Remarketing, retargeting, building customer retention, and more.
Also sometimes, you might not need to spend more on customer service because the user experience is great. No complaints, less customer service spent.
Lastly, a good UX design foundation makes sure that you have less maintenance, less downtime (which leads to less financial loss), and less need for development work behind-the-scenes.
Overall, it’s a great investment and allows you to put less money on the other aspects of your brand.
Good UX Design Creates a Flywheel
A customer base always has different behaviors, needs, and preferences. However, there is one thing that is common among your customer base: They will share good experiences.
Yes it’s true. Even the most introverted customers can sometimes share brands that they like unconsciously.
You can even catch yourself sometimes, uninitiated talking about a brand that gave quite a good experience. And that is something that you can’t just remove from a customer’s behavior.
A flywheel is a simple mechanism in which one weak force can be multiplied to keep the wheel spinning. That means that you can even create a flywheel with just one brand evangelist.
Let’s say that I was so delighted in my ordering experience from your site that I told my mother today. My mother told her 3 friends the same day.
Next day, I was still thinking about the great experience I had so I also told my 5 friends who I was having lunch with. Those 5 friends were amazed by my story and proceeded to tell 2 of their friends each.
So just from me, you gained a small community of potential customers. And that’s the inherent pattern from a good UX design philosophy.
Good experiences are meant to be shared.
Good UX Design Strengthens Brand Authority
If you make a person feel good, they will instantly trust. That’s another part of human nature that we can’t just remove.
Trust is based on feelings. And if we feel good, we trust more. And if we trust enough, we’ll put money behind that trust.
There is a saying that if you cannot trust someone with a little thing, you can’t trust them on bigger things. And the inverse is true.
And if a visitor on your website can trust that everything works, then they can trust on subsequent purchases.
You can often hear the phrase, “This person knows what they’re doing. I’m just gonna trust them.”
So good UX design gives your brand the necessary authority. Not just because you make people feel good but because you show them that you know what you are doing.
How Can Web Developers Help with UX Design
Web developers have the expertise of coding, the eye for design, and most importantly, the experience of user behavior.
As I mentioned earlier, UX design is more of a perspective rather than a bunch of guidelines. And web developers have that perspective on lock for your advantage.
It’s best to have at least one web designer throughout your business journey.
They can provide crucial input during your planning phase, making sure that UX design principles are implemented early on. They can execute the website themselves and make sure that UX design is at the forefront. And they can apply maintenance or updates to further improve the UX design.
If the site already exists, they can assess necessary changes and execute them smoothly, without potential errors and incompatibilities with your current platform or plugins.
And if you have the budget for it, a team of web developers gets you faster turnaround times and more thorough analysis.
UX Design is a Necessity, Not an Enhancement
Design is both a science and an art. And it is crucial for all websites. Having a website that is centered around the user experience is not something that should be done after the fact.
You should have UX design philosophies even while thinking about building your website. It should be an extension of your brand and should be part of your planning and strategy from the start of your online business and moving forward.