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UX, or user experience, in its simplest form can be defined as human interaction with systems. Every interaction people have with your website or app is UX – your users experience of interacting with your digital property. When it comes to your website, you may be telling people what you want them to know about your product/business and getting them to do what you want them to do (eg Hit that “Buy now” button). However, the ultimate goal of good UX is to understand what users want when interacting with your site and then to help them to complete those tasks in the easiest and most intuitive way possible.

So, should you care?

Well if any of you have had to renew your driver’s license in South Africa in the last few month’s I’m sure you can relate to what bad UX is. The Licensing Department’s new online booking system is a nightmare (read about a journalists experience). When people are unable to do the one thing that the system is designed to do – that results in a VERY bad UX. Something you should not be subjecting your users to.

HINT: If you confuse or frustrate your users – you’ll lose them.

How does this relate to you and your website? Although you may not be providing a UX anywhere near as awful as the licensing department’s, something as simple as not adding a button where users are expecting to see one – may be losing you customers. You need to make sure that something as simple as a misplaced button isn’t frustrating your users and we have some tips for you that should help.

Here are some simple rules that help to enhance any site’s UX:

1. Create easy to understand navigation

The simpler the better. For eg. don’t use “Give us a shout out” for your Contact Page link, call it Contact us. Don’t use symbols for things that need explaining – the only time changing a name to a symbol worked was for Prince in 1993.

2. A clean layout with neatly laid out content and design elements

This one doesn’t really need much of an explanation, if people cant find what they are looking for due to clutter – you’ve lost them. Remember that less really is more.

3. Proper use of video/animation

When it comes to video/animation, it should always have a clear and logical purpose – and no, advertising your product is not a clear, logical purpose. Video can be heavy, and internet speeds are not always optimal, so this is where you need to ask “do we need a video, or are we just trying to look cool”?  Trying to look cool never works.

4. Avoid “click here” links

People automatically know that a link is meant to be clicked on but what they don’t know is where it leads, or if it will result in a dodgy NSFW popup. If your link explains what the link does and where it will take them (download a pdf, take you to a contact form etc.) people are more likely to click on it. For example, this link will take you to a Youtube video on the power of suggestion makes it pretty clear that the link will take you to a video on the power of suggestion on Youtube.

5. Improve page load speed

Web users have a need for speed and expect a website to load within three to four seconds. If your website is slower than that, people will be bouncing left, right and centre. An ugly site with a zippy UX will always have a lower bounce rate than a glamorous, slow one.

These are just a few UX principles of web design to get you thinking about the UX on your website. If you aren’t sure what to improve on your site – ask your site users what they think. Actual user experience feedback is the most important feedback you’ll get.

If you’re looking for some prectical guidance on the UX of your website we’d be happy to do an in-depth UX analysis and let you know if you have mastered the art of UX or if you can improve.