If you’re in marketing, UX/UI (user experience/user interface) is probably one of the latest acronyms that you’ve had to memorize… and for good reason. While many dismiss UX/UI as nothing more than a fancy term for design, others have learned to appreciate the nuances and properly invest in creating a seamless experience for the user while communicating brand information.
A wave of emerging research proves that structuring and designing a website around the user experience can increase conversions, build loyalty and save money. In fact, research from Human Factors International suggests that fixing an error after development is 100x more expensive than properly mitigating issues from the get-go.
So why is there a lack of brand investment in UX/UI? The issue is twofold:
1) A somewhat nebulous industry definition
2) A lack of understanding around the process
Strong UX/UI is more than just designing a website or modifying a page. It ultimately addresses the overarching needs, goals and barriers that a customer encounters. Proper UX/UI results in a snag-free experience that provides customers a simplified path to their end goal. When brands focus their energy on creating a smooth, efficient experience they win the sale and more.
Developing a straightforward, uncomplicated customer experience is half science, half art, and requires addressing the following needs:
1. Thorough Research: Ask questions. Dig into the research and speak to actual customers. Research is the core foundation of proper UX/UI. UI identifies customer behaviors and needs that will inform and validate design decisions. UX research informs the story outline of the consumer’s journey.
2. User experience: Become the consumer. Understand the emotional and rational components of your audience’s state of mind. Identify the proper structure and functionality that will help them accomplish their goal. This ultimately results in meaningful site architecture, wireframes, and prototypes of the end product.
3. Design: After wireframing a snag-free experience, bring it to life. Create the visual and functional elements that will take the customer through the story and exceed expectations. Always ensure an intuitive path to the end goal (purchase, brand affinity, information, etc.). After all, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Research and strategy are at the core of all UX/UI design. While the thought of getting into the minds of consumers seems overwhelming, the digital world makes it much easier. Don’t be afraid to utilize available resources. It’s crucial to carefully measure and observe, then have patience as you listen.
Smart UX/UI design not only speaks to the mind of a consumer, but their heart as well.