The term ‘user-friendly’ is thrown around a lot with regard to mobile apps and websites, but what does it actually mean? Technically, user-friendly design can be defined as UX and UI – user experience and user interaction. We see UX and UI are the XOXO (yup, that’s hugs and kisses) of user-friendly web design simply because these two elements of web design represent what kind of message you’re trying to relay to your visitors and what impression you want them to have of your website. In today’s article, I provide a simple overview of the subject and explain exactly how businesses should design their mobile apps and websites. So, let’s figure out what kind of message you’re getting across by first learning about what elements cause perceptions from your online visitors.
What Is User-friendly Design?
A user friendly design is broken down into two core aspects, as follows:
- User Experience (UX)
- User Interaction (UI)
The sections below discuss each of these in some detail.
User Experience (UX) is concerned with creating an easy-to-use website that offers users a positive, rewarding experience. For example, a great UX lets users navigate all around your website without getting confused or annoyed because they cannot find what they seek.
User experience primarily focuses on the attitude and feelings a user has while on your website. If those are positive, visitors will likely come back and view your business in a good light. If the UX is negative, visitors probably won’t return.
User Interaction (UI) focuses on improving the look, feel, and overall presentation of an app or website. UI is the space in which your visitor interacts with your website, such as (for example) the clicking of a menu button or the tapping of a tablet screen.
When you are creating or redesigning your website, you must make sure that you offer a great UX and UI.
Here are four important reasons, backed up by facts.
- Poor Website Design Results in Fewer Word-of-mouth Referrals
A Google report found that 57 percent of users said they would not recommend to friends a website that is poorly designed for mobiles. If you’re a small, local business, a good chunk of your new customers are a result of word-of-mouth referrals, and you cannot afford to lose any of these due to poor website design.
In addition, delays in page loading can turn visitors away. Just a four-second load time can result in 25 percent of your traffic leaving; that’s how important UX has become.
Today’s websites directly reflect how a business runs, so a poor UX or UI may deter people from referring others to your site, even if you offer a great product or service.
- UI Increases Conversion Rates
A great website is one that directs users to take a specific action, such as signing up for a mailing list, buying a product, or filling out a form to contact the business.
You can either let your visitors wander freely or create a UI design that pushes them to your intended outcome.
Bear CSS have a great landing page that depicts a bear pointing towards their call-to-action, which is large, bright, orange, and highly visible:
This is an example of UI in action. Users are compelled to click on their call-to-action without much conscious thought.
- UX Improves Customer Retention
Arguably, the most important reason to optimize your site for UX is to retain existing customers. If a user has a poor experience on your website and leaves frustrated, they may never come back. Likewise, if they have just an ‘okay’ experience on your website but your competitor offers a better experience, they may never return.
Fancy new widgets and functions doesn’t help you retain customers; providing them with a seamless website experience does. Moreover, loyal customers share your social media content, tell their friends about your website, and open your emails.
Whether you know it or not, offering a great website UX is a critical part of customer loyalty.
- Disregarding UX and UI is Bad for Business
As many as 70 percent of people say they don’t trust poorly designed websites. What happens when consumers don’t trust a business? Why, they just don’t buy their products or use their services.
The same study revealed that business owners now believe that the look and design of their website is much more important than their actual location. Online retailer AO optimized their product pages with better descriptions, improved their layout, and optimized call-to-actions, which increased sales by 9.5 percent.
What will a few UX and UI fixes on your website do for you?
The terms ‘UX’ and ‘UI’ may sound like fancy design jargon, but they are important techniques that help businesses build trust, drive customer loyalty, and increase conversion rates.
Even if you run a bricks and mortar store and 100 percent of your trade takes place offline, so many people access the Internet to fulfil their daily needs that your website cannot afford to ignore UX and UI. As I mentioned earlier, websites today are direct reflections of the underlying organization.
What does your website say about you?