Although user experience design (UX) is relevant to areas such as software development, gaming and industrial design, this article aims to provide an overview of user experience within the web environment – specifically, commercial websites.
UX is any aspect of a person’s interaction with the interface and graphic elements of a website. Although visual design aesthetics plays a role in this, UX relates primarily to ease of use. Can the person find what they’re looking for? Can they get to where they need quickly and with minimal frustration? Websites that make people feel confused and frustrated are less likely to be used. If that website is an online store, it means lost revenue. If that website is your companies online profile, your brand can be perceived as unhelpful.
The main principle of user experience design is to support task associated interactions. What does this mean? The user (person) is almost always in task mode. They might be looking for specific information about what your business offers, how much something costs, where you’re located, whether you provide free shipping.
Users don’t visit a website to read every word on the home page or to view each and every page of the site. They’re looking for something specific and of relevance to them. They do this by scanning the page as quickly as possible, picking out key words and clicking on areas they think may help them achieve their goal.
There are many tried and tested ways to support task associated interactions through careful user experience design. Over the coming months I will be writing about some of these findings from experts in the field. The first will relate to writing copy for the web. Since we know users scan the page quickly during their tasks, it makes sense that copy should be written to support the user. The next article will discuss effective ways to do this.