You’ll hear a lot of us in the design and marketing field talk about UX – and it may sound like a techy buzz word, but it’s quite possibly the most important aspect of what makes a website a success or failure.
UX is simply “User eXperience” and it goes well beyond how things look, what the content says, and how the back end functionality works. Actually – it’s how all these things work together, because UX is the “big picture” scenario of how well (or poorly) a website is received by its intended audience.
Take for example our own website, which we recently updated for a better UX. Previously, the Kompani Group site followed a format we’re all pretty familiar with – top menu navigation, linked pages, a somewhat linear flow of information. And while it was a solid, working site, it wasn’t addressing all the ways people come to KompaniGroup.com. Look at you, for starters… you’re here because of a link to this blog post in an email sent directly to you. Or, you’ve come directly to this page from a search engine link. Or you may have come to this page right through the front door of the site and navigated yourself here. We had to consider the many pathways people take when interacting with our site, and realized there were some things we could do better.
- One of the first was the concept of infinite scrolling. We realized that scrolling to info is easier and faster on touch screens on tablets, mobile devices, and laptops. So we made sure it wasn’t just about clicking links.
- We also rethought the way we present information. This meant featuring what we “do” rather than what we “offer.” It’s a small shift with big implications – and we used web analytics to drive that decision. Our users wanted to get to the “end solution” quicker – so we chose to lead with that in our messaging and navigation.
- In rearranging and redesigning, we also found a few additional opportunities to update imagery and content to reflect a more active, dynamic, engaged side of our brand – the side that comes from our person-to-person approach to client service… so we wove that into the UX as well.
Of course, every business is different. We recently updated a site for our client V2T to have a better UX. Again, we focused on prioritizing the type of information people wanted and placing it within better reach, and then enhancing the visual aspect to draw people through that information. For an e-retail client, BSI Medical Supply, we had completely refurbished the back end functionality of the site, and needed the front-end UX to reflect that improved shopping and purchasing experience.
The next time you look at your own website, try doing so as though you’ve never been to it before. Visit from a different device than usual. Or, sit over the shoulder of someone who’s never once been to your site and see what they have to say. You may be surprised at what you learn about UX.