What is UX, anyway?
User experience can be a big concept to wrap your head around. Even its acronym, UX, seems futuristic and off-putting. Fortunately, UX isn’t as overwhelming as it seems. In a nutshell, UX is just the process of making products more enjoyable for the people who use them. See? That’s not so bad. Here are some beginner tips to help you get started on your journey from UX newb to master.
1. Know the terms
Before you jump in and start redesigning your website, you should familiarize yourself with the basic terms of the industry, like breakpoint, CMS and slider. Lucky for you, there’s a wonderful creative marketing agency (cough cough) that wrote a blog that will help you do just that. If you need to dive a little deeper into things like usability testing, gamification and A/B testing, Adobe has a glossary that concisely explains all of those terms and more. Learning the terminology of UX is important because it’ll help you have better conversations with your development team and ultimately make better decisions about your brand.
2. Base UX on your users
At its most basic, UX is about making the user’s experience with your website as easy as possible. So, that means all UX decisions should be based on, you guessed it, your users!
“But where do I get these insights?” Good question. These insights can be found using data about the people who visit your site and how they use it. “But how do I get this killer data?” An even better question! Google Analytics is a free resource that helps you access data you can base your UX design on. For example, you can find out who’s using your site, what browser and device they’re coming from and how high your bounce rate is. Google also offers free classes on analytics that will have you churning out data faster than you can say “insight.”
3. Decrease mobile loading time
We all know that having a beautifully designed mobile site is important. But what’s more important is making sure your site is loading fast enough so people will stick around to see it. Long load times are a leading reason why people get frustrated with websites and eventually leave. DoubleClick found that 53% of mobile sites are abandoned if they take more than three seconds to load. Yikes! And since the total number of mobile visits now outnumbers desktop visits, that’s double yikes!
Luckily, there are some simple ways to decrease your mobile loading time. Consider enabling caching, moving to a better hosting plan or removing any unnecessary plugins (if you’re using WordPress). These are all proven ways to get visitors to your site more quickly.
4. Understand UX writing
Though we designers usually take all the credit, the written word is an invaluable part of user experience. UX writing is any copy (sometimes referred to as microcopy) that users come into contact with while using your website. Things like CTAs, confirmation messages and 404 pages all fall under this umbrella. UX writing is a rapidly growing field that some of the top tech companies are taking note of. Google, Amazon, and SquareSpace all currently offer positions for UX writers, so you know it’s legit.
Good UX writing is an effective way to add more personality to your brand and leave visitors with a positive impression. A cheeky one liner on your 404 page could be the difference between someone leaving your site or sticking around to see what else you have to offer.
5. Stay on top of the trends
User experience isn’t some school of Greek philosophy that’s been the same for 2,000 years. Like any tech-centric discipline, it’s constantly evolving, so staying up-to-date with the latest techniques and jargon is a must. Subscribing to weekly newsletters like UX Design Weekly or UX Mastery will keep you in the loop on the latest news and current happenings. UX Mastery also runs a community forum in case you need to ask one of their experts a quick question. Who knows, you might even walk into your next status meeting and surprise some of the developers with all your hip UX knowledge.
Are you a UX master yet? No? That’s ok, contact us and we’ll work together to make your website the best it can be.
Check out these related blog posts: