Take a moment and think about all the great things that have been created by humans throughout time – iconic buildings, popular food, and even great songs. In every one of your examples, I can guarantee you, form follows function. The building is nothing without the architectural plan, a hamburger isn’t a hamburger if it isn’t sandwiched between two buns and a song is nothing without the songwriter.
Simply put, UX or User Experience design involves making sure that form follows function in the online environment, usually with websites. It is making sure that a website is oriented towards the behaviour of the user – from the moment they land on the website to the moment they cash out with their shopping cart. It’s a relatively new area (compared with web design and development) and involves studying and evaluating how users feel about a system, how they perceive it and their actual behavioural patterns.
Chances are you have already encountered some type of bad UX design in your day to day life. You might have spent a long time filling in an online form, only to discover that the ‘back’ button completely deletes all your progress instead of allowing you to return to a field to edit it. There are websites you try to browse on your phone that are not optimised for viewing on mobile and ones that require such strangely specific qualities when creating a password that you are bound to forget it almost immediately and never log in again.
So what exactly does UX design involve, and does it replace any other elements involved in building a website? When creating a website, you will still need to have it developed, and you will still need it to be designed. You will still need SEO optimisation, and you will still need copywriting. It is UX that will be responsible for ensuring all the elements mentioned above can work together as a harmonious whole.
When a person arrives on your website, you want them to be able to move through the sales process from beginning to end as intuitively as possible. It’s all about the experience – something that is not tangible, but something that will make over 88% of consumers not return to your website if it’s bad. Take the time and effort to integrate UX into your next website, or see if you can optimise your current site today.