Optimizing User Experience With UI/UX Professionals
The internet revolutionized how things are done, including commerce. On the one hand, it has made things simpler by connecting customers and businesses with the click or swipe of a finger. On the other hand, competition became much fiercer. To keep up with the changing times, companies are increasingly switching from rack layouts in retail stores to user experience in websites or apps. User Experience or UX has become a necessity in many business strategies and essential in their success.
What is User Experience?
Whenever you purchase a product or service, you go through a journey of conversion from being a lead to being a potential buyer and finally becoming a customer. The process and experience that led you to choose that particular product or service out of the millions online are UX.
User experience is the behaviour or response that a website or app evokes from its users and is a significant factor in increasing online sales. It creates a place where potential customers can interact with your brand and help them make their decision.
A website optimized for UX minimizes the barriers between a customer and a sale in many ways. You can increase the focus on lead generation by targeting the right audience with relevant content and tracking your conversion in real-time. You can simplify your checkout process to make more conversions before potential customers abandon their carts. You can also minimize distractions that can disrupt users from making a purchase. Faster loading speed is another component of UX that can help increase sales and maximize profits.
User Interface Design: Wireframing, Mock-up, Prototyping
The design process of a UX/UI-based website or app can be broken down into wireframing, mock-up, and prototyping, each one important to achieving a systematic and cost-effective website development.
The Process of Wireframing
The wireframe is a basic layout representing the website or app. It focuses more on the structure, logic, content priority, and other functional features than the visual elements. It is done to emphasize the problem-solving aspect of the design process. In fact, mostly black, white, and grey colours are used to minimize distractions.
Wireframing can be done on a piece of paper, on a whiteboard, or online using a wireframing tool. It is essential in facilitating the brainstorming process of web or app design as project members toss around ideas and give each other feedback. The final output of this phase is a crude and non-interactive visual representation of the intended website or app layout and is called a static wireframe.
Mock-ups (Low Fidelity and High Fidelity)
Prototyping: Testing Before Developing
Many of the functional considerations are taken care of in wireframing. The next step is to work out the visual components in the mock-up. Mock-ups have more graphic details compared to a wireframe. Rich colours, graphics, and fonts are used, and the actual buttons and texts are also integrated. The content layout and navigation graphics are also more detailed, and it is much closer to the finished product compared to the wireframe. However, this iteration is still neither clickable nor interactive and usually described as low-fi when black and white/gray and as hi-fi mockup when colourful and detailed.
This step of the web/app design process is also important because it gives the designers and clients alike many opportunities to expose potential problems and iron out the kinks. Using a mock-up tool like Figma or Adobe User Experience, it is easy to preview, revise as needed, and share, saving you time and money in the design process.
A prototype is interactive, high-fidelity, and looks a lot like the finished product. In this iteration, processes can be simulated and tested, which is important in obtaining more accurate user feedback. It can be used to uncover any remaining issues before moving on to the development stage. Any design changes or additional features can also be accommodated before writing a single line of code and investing more money.
Click here to see an interactive prototype in action created with Adobe Experience Design.
Calling in the UX Professional
Virtually anyone who wants a website or an app could benefit from optimized UX, but agencies and businesses stand to profit the most. UX professionals can help these companies develop their website or app continuously by gathering feedback on its usability. With more information, you can better understand the problems that users could encounter while using your website, helping you come up with design solutions.
This iterative process that UX professionals use allows you to test new ideas directly with users, get feedback, make improvements, then release the improved version. This feedback can help you keep track of your product vision and plan better for the next steps. A UX-based website also has a direct connection with its users, engaging them as customers, and ensuring more sustainable product viability.
Investing in UX is an organic way to engage customers and an important supplement to your marketing strategy. It has a more predictable impact on your sales compared to advertising, and is, therefore, a better approach.