Anyone who works in design is familiar with User Experience, or UX. While the concept has gained more prominent attention in the past few years, it’s really not a new idea. While UX is in the realm of web design, that’s not where it originated, or even the only place it’s useful. At the heart of UX is the idea that an end user will be the one who benefits from the design of your website (or product). The user’s experience is the key in whether or not your work is successful.
The Beginnings of User Experience
The first person to coin the term “User Experience” was Don Norman in 1995. This was back in the dark ages of the internet and Norman named himself a User Experience Architect when he started with Apple. The name took hold and it’s largely why UX is synonymous with web design. But the concept came long before Apple or the internet took the consumer market by storm.
Anyone who’s ever designed a product for people to use has, on some level, worked with UX. The designs that fail are ones that don’t meet the consumer’s needs. Standard engineering concepts tell designers that their innovations need to add value for the person who’s using it, or they simply won’t want it. There are all sorts of creative ways to come up with these solutions.
Translating this concept onto your website was the natural evolution in web design. As a new technology, it was much harder for the common person, with no computer science background, to understand. Of course, when the technology was new, the primary focus for the design team was to make sure that the website worked. There weren’t a lot of user options at that time. Websites didn’t respond as quickly, connections were slower for the average internet user, and online commerce was not a major player in the commercial market.
Early design wasn’t so much about user experience because the user was only doing rudimentary things. They were reading content, answering email, doing research, and chatting with other people on the internet. For the website owner, the design was fairly straight forward and there wasn’t much interaction with the user at all. They might use the site to market a brick and mortar business or to promote their brand.
What You Need to Know as Design Evolves
Obviously, we’ve come a long way since the early days of website design. But the principals of product design apply even more stringently to the designers of the future. The user should be the center of your design focus. They’re not just paging in to static pages today. Now you need to make sure that all the features that move your customer through your funnel keep their desires in mind. One of the key mistakes we pointed out in building your eCommerce success was not understanding buyer behavior. This starts with building your buyer persona and knowing your audience – the same information that will help you improve UX.
UX often gets pegged as something that’s just visual. There are visual aspects to your user experience. Your design team will spend a good amount of time and research determining the best colors and placement for items to help in conversion. For someone outside of design, that can make the art form of UX appear simplistic. How much do colors really matter?
The truth is that it’s not about the colors or graphics or the placement exactly. It’s about how those things together make your audience feel. It’s about how those aspects of your design enhance (or detract from) your overall UX.
Are You Looking for a Partner to Help Keep You on the Cutting Edge of UX Development?
If you’re looking for help in improving your website’s user experience, contact Zero Gravity Marketing today. Our team of dedicated professionals can assess your current UX design process and protocol, and offer the best solutions for your target audience.