User experience (UX)
User Experience (UX) encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the product, usually a website or computer application. A website with a good user experience will be easy to use or learn to use, whilst also providing the user with exactly what they need, when they need it.
A website with bad user experience will often be confusing/hard to use or won’t have all relevant information available to the user.
Simply put - User Experience is how easy/pleasing a website is to use.
Key factors within UX
User Experience must meet exactly what the customer requires and it will merge the following services:
- Interface Design
- Graphical and Industrial Design
- As well as any other services the customer my require
But why should you bother with UX? What does it really do for you?
Firstly, we must take a look at a term called ‘Usability’
Usability means how easy a new customer can use, or learn to use, your product, whilst at the same time being both pleasant and efficient to use.
There are 5 components of Usability:
- Is the User Interface friendly for first time users
- Once users have learned the design, how quickly can they perform tasks
- When users return to the design after a prolonged period of time, how easily can they re-establish proficiency?
- How many errors do users make? How sever are these errors and how easily can they recover from them?
- How pleasant is it to use?
Nowadays, usability is the fundamental aspect of a websites survivability.
If a website is hard to use, the first line of defence of a user is simply to close the website; there are plenty of other competitors websites to use.
If the homepage doesn’t clearly show what the company has to offer, people will leave.
If the information is laid out in an unattractive way, or their key questions remain unanswered, they will leave.
There are a couple of ways you can improve your UX yourself:
- Remove chatter
- By removing excess text you will hold the reader’s attention. On average, only 28% of a webpages text is read by the user, 80% of time spent is spent looking just about the middle of the page and 69% of the time is spent looking at the left hand side of the page.
- Maximise how users ‘read’ the page
- People scan in an ‘F’ shape so it would be beneficial to put the navigation bar on the left hand side in a vertical strip and any titles or text in horizontal strips.
- Quick Load time
- People are less likely to return to a web page if it loads 0.25 seconds slower than a competitor. 4/5 users click away if a page fails to load or stalls whilst loading. The expected load time of a webpage is 2 seconds or fewer and if a page takes 3 seconds they will abandon the website altogether.
- Search Box Size
- 27% of queries couldn’t fit into the 18 character search box. However, a 27 character box accommodates 90% of queries.
- Page Layout
- Optimise for 1000-1600 pixels in length and 770 pixels in width. Keep the layout the same across all pages of the website. Furthermore, the navigation menu should be the same throughout the website.
- Keep different font types to a minimum. It is also important to accommodate for those who are colour blind, (8% males 0.5% females). To aid this, perhaps use cues other than colour for attention and stick to a colour palette with a maximum of 4 different colours. Also note that optimal text lines are 45-75 characters long.
- Links in content should be blue because of how common and familiar it is to visitors. Once a user has clicked on a hyperlink it is best practice to ensure the link changes colour, in fact 74% of websites do this, but it is important to remember that the text must be descriptive enough so users know where they are going.
As you can see, user experience is an important factor for you to consider.
If you have seen any brilliant examples of UX, let us know by leaving a comment below. We think Apple have their UX down to a tee, but maybe you think differently? Let us know!