When many people think of design, they think of appearance: colors, fonts, layouts, and anything else that contributes to the visual experience.
That was fine for print media.
Nowadays, however, most of your marketing initiatives happen online. Visuals still matter, but so does the performance of a website — as well as any other marketing channel — leading to the emergence of user experience design.
As people use a variety of channels and devices to make purchasing decisions, every one of your channels must make research, evaluation, and buying as easy as possible.
So what is the user experience, exactly, and how does it affect design?
What is user experience design?
User experience design, or UX design, is the process of developing systems and processes that let consumers interact with your brand.
The term is not meant to replace concepts of user interface, graphic design, or information architecture — rather, all of those elements are part of creating a memorable user experience.
Why is UX so important?
A poor user experience design can hurt your business. The quality of your design impacts a user’s perception of your company and their ability to buy from you.
It’s not a big surprise that attractive designs get more attention than unattractive designs.
Beyond that, the right design can attract the desired audience, convey the desired emotion, and reinforce your brand. It also creates a positive feeling about your brand and entices more people to engage with it.
Customers interact directly with marketing channels nowadays. If those channels don’t work properly, customers won’t be able to respond to calls to action or engage with your organization.
In some cases, they won’t even want to if they don’t like the experience.
That’s why function is so critical to your website’s UX.
Digital channels have to connect to a vast amount of information.
Whether a user wants product information or account details, the data has to come up quickly and accurately — all while ensuring privacy and security.
A good user experience design makes it easy (and safe) to access this information.
Where does UX Design make the most difference?
UX has always played a role in the success of marketing campaigns, but it wasn’t as obvious in traditional marketing as it is today.
If something isn’t quite right with a user experience, the effect is immediate and obvious. For example:
- Well-designed websites have up-to-date information, simple and attractive layouts, and navigation paths that make it easy to do what users want to do.
- As people replace their desktops and laptops with tablets and smartphones, they expect your website to be usable on those devices.
- Users should be able to start and finish transactions with three or four clicks, at the most.
The success of your marketing strategy depends in large part on the user experience. If potential customers have an easy time finding information or making purchases, they’re more likely to come back.
That’s why UX design needs to be a top priority for your business.