The importance of usability and user experience

At their most profound level, both UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) focus on how to improve human experience of systems. Websites designed with UX and UI in mind are shaped and guided by questions like:

  • How do users feel when interacting with sites?
  • How can websites better fulfill and anticipate users’ needs?
  • How can a user’s experience of a website be made more meaningful?

UX and UI bring the human factor to the center stage, so our daily interactions with web pages and interfaces feel personalized, breezy and enjoyable.

Nowadays, UX and UI have risen as critical considerations in web design because they translate directly into conversions, customer loyalty, increased traffic and growth, and revenue. In the mega-mall that is the World Wide Web, websites guided by UX and UI principles stand apart, effortlessly attracting customers with engaging interfaces that are easy to journey through.

Unpacking UX: What is it?

Whether you’ve thought about it intentionally or not, UX design always happens. If you own a webpage, someone has made decisions regarding the interaction of the user with the page. UX is the experience that a user has while interacting with your product. UX design is, therefore, the process by which we determine what the user’s experience will be.

UX has been hailed as one of the central reasons behind Amazon’s success, with Jeff Bezos investing 100 times more into customer experience than advertising during Amazon’s first year. Mike Gebbia credits UX with AirBnB’s success, with the company now valued at more than $10billion.

Good UX design means the needs of users have been taken into serious consideration. The best UX design aspires to design web interfaces that enhance user experience by being useful, easy to use, and pleasant to interact with. The design has the intention of generating positive emotions from your users. Ideally, the user should find value in what you’re providing.

In the specific context of a webpage, UX means creating websites that are aesthetically engaging, functional, and encourage seamless flow between pages.

The main benefits of investing in UX design:

  • Better design leads to more referrals
  • Lower cost of customer acquisition
  • Lower support cost (because less queries!)
  • Improved customer retention due to enhanced satisfaction
  • Enhanced understanding of customer needs due to usability testing
  • Greater market share

Unpacking UI: What is it?

UX resonates with the broader holistic considerations of design, while UI is more concerned with the specifics that contribute to that whole. UI encompasses every visual element that a user interacts with on the interface of a device or system (such as a web page). UI is orientated to the alignment on the page, the hierarchy of elements (such as the location of the logo) and the general interactivity of the page (if navigation is organized in scroll down-menus, or buttons).

Ironically, good UI should be invisible. The user’s experience of the interface should be effortless, flowing from one page to the next with seamless access to the relevant information. It’s when something is missing, works ineffectively or appears confusing that UI becomes noticeable.

Effective UI is highly influential in compelling web page users or customers to interact with a business on a regular basis. In a market where your company has significant competition and the differences between business models and services are incremental, UI may mean the difference between attracting a new customer or repelling them. Customers intuitively gravitate towards impressive UI design.

The main benefits of investing in UI design:

  • UI boosts conversion rates
  • Improved usability and user adoption
  • Stronger brand
  • Faster, less expensive web development (because you can reuse pattern code)
  • More streamlined communication

Want to engage UX and UI in your design? Get up close and personal with your customers

UX and UI are both customer driven. User experience is unique and subjective for everyone, so UX and UI design must be orientated towards understanding your client’s needs, and the way they use and interact with your website. Don’t assume that you know your customers’ needs or desires. Talk to them, watch them use your product (apps such as Smaply allow you to visualize your customers’ journey through your website and identify any pain points), and ask questions about their decisions and behaviors. If you want to nail UX and UI, let your customers be your teachers, then distill what they teach you into your design.

Some statistical food for thought on UX and UI

  • 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.
  • Judgments on website credibility are 75% based on a website’s overall aesthetics.
  • First impressions are 94% design-related.
  • Visit-to-lead conversions can be up to 400% higher on sites with a superior user experience.
  • 97% of business customers cite ‘ease of use’ as the most important quality for mobile apps.
  • On average, every dollar invested in UX brings 100 dollars in return. That’s an impressive ROI of 9,900 percent.

The evidence is indisputable: if you want to see your customers move through the entirety of the conversion funnel, you need to engage UX and UI conscious-design throughout your site. Where to start? It has to be the user’s first point of contact with your site: the landing page.

Why the landing page matters

Your landing page represents your customers’ first encounter with your business. First impressions matter, so if there’s one place to engage with UX and UI to attract users, it’s on your landing page. Here’s a list of essential tips for creating an unforgettable landing page experience that encourages users to convert:

  • A single conversion goal that is your call to action: keep it brief, and focus on the action.
  • Flawless usability: this is where UI comes in. Test the landing page multiple times to ensure everything works as it should, and click through rate is encouraged as much as possible. Landing pages must be mobile friendly.
  • Short, evocative headline in a clean font.
  • Keep it minimalistic: no unnecessary information, promotional material, or images. Make your offering clear, and ensure it easy for your customers to get it.
  • Make the landing page simple and intuitive (again, this is where UX and UI figure): avoid including anything that is complicated or intimidating, that may repel the user.
  • Include the benefits of your offering for the user, maybe in the form of social proof, images or testimonies.

The bottom line

Today’s consumers expect not only a service but an effective and pleasant experience. Factoring UX and UI into your web design, particularly your landing page, is essential to ensure your web page thrives and conversions increase.

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