Web Design: Importance of User Experience Design (UX)
While earning my bachelor's degree, I was eager to learn more about every design field. I wanted, essentially, to expand my horizons and learn something new. Enter UX design—or user experience design. The more I learned about UX design, the more fascinated I became by what was possible.
Originally, as a graphic designer, I didn’t really see why I needed to learn about UX design. I considered it part of web development, which I saw as including everything from A to Z when it comes to getting a website up and running from scratch. Then, the designer helps to create the "pretty" elements to support the overall look. As I dove more into details, however, the more I learned about UX design, the more I realized its importance.
Even just a quick search on Wikipedia about UX will show you that "user experience design is the process of manipulating user behavior through usability, usefulness, and desirability provided in the interaction with a product."
Why is UX important?
The importance of incorporating UX design principles into the development of websites and other digital products cannot be understated (Design Your Way, 2016). The main reason is that these principles play a big role in determining how the targeted user would feel while interacting with that product or website. Given that web systems are becoming increasingly more complex over time, it's vital that the user can access products and services with minimal effort.
To begin, incorporation of UX principles in web design enhances accessibility, making it possible for targeted users to access resources promptly, improving a company's competitive advantage. For example, for e-commerce sites such as Amazon and eBay, user experience principles have provided potential customers quick access to products in stock, even through the use of recommender systems.
Apart from accessibility, user experience design principles are important to improve web system user interface design. This advance leads to an improved human-computer interaction and long-term performance (Cousins, 2013). For small businesses and start-ups, these benefits create a good first impression to users, as they interact well with products and enhance user experiences, ultimately improving customer loyalty. Other UX design principle advantages are improved user satisfaction and low maintenance costs associated with website tweaks.
Designers must consider target users as unique, possessing different characteristics and expertise levels. For example, an e-commerce site should have support for pictures, as users are interested in the visual appeal generated by pictures. Support forums such as stackoverflow.com target developers asking questions and getting answers for technical questions. Therefore, the jargon used is different. The same applies to social networking channels and video streaming sites that have been tweaked to address specific user needs.
My personal experience with UX design is minimal, but it’s something I’m interested in learning more about and gaining experience. While doing a UX project last year, I searched for a tool to help me, and I found “UX Kits” designed by Eric Miller.
I found them to be very helpful while brainstorming and creating wireframes. Eric started UX Kits back in 2013 as a single flowchart he developed for his UX design studio to demonstrate the structure of websites to clients. He saw the benefits of this idea, so he grew it to the point that he has digital and physical kits. These kits are available online on the UX KITS website.
The takeaway? Well, first, learning about UX design will make you a better designer in general. But beyond that, if you dig more into any design field, you will be (often) be amazed by the information, details, and skills that you didn’t know you needed. So get out there and explore what’s possible, and enjoy yourself while learning!
Design Your Way. (2016). What Is UX Design and Why It's Important? Retrieved from: http://www.designyourway.net/blog/web-and-mobile-design/what-is-ux-design-and-why-its-important/
Cousins, C. (2013). Why Does User Experience Matter? Retrieved from: https://designshack.net/articles/why-does-user-experience-matter/