Ever wonder how marketing decisions are made? Using a data-driven approach, this “Science of Marketing” blog series will break down the methodology behind the marketing madness. We’ll examine the strategy that accompanies the UX, design, copywriting, development, and analytics processes, all in order to maximize a company’s impact on its market.
Have you ever been on a website that looks great – cool effects, impressive graphics, and flashy animations – but functions terribly? You can’t figure out where the site navigation is, because it’s hidden to not interfere with the opening animation. The information is hard to find from page to page.
A great website isn’t just one that looks nice – it needs to function in a way that doesn’t frustrate users.
User Experience (UX) design requires the ultimate blend of science and art. When designing a website, you not only need engaging visuals, but you need the site to actually function in a way that makes it easy and intuitive for users.
“You have to take the ultimate goal of the website into consideration when making UX design choices; it’s equally important to consider who your user is,” says Matt, Brandography’s creative manager.
That’s why the UX process involves a lot of research: defining the problem, developing a strategy, doing research and testing the strategy, refining as needed, and validating the results. This linear, scientifically-based method ensures that form and function get equal footing in the development process.
Below are the components of UX design that helps create an outstanding end product:
Creating user personas
User personas helps both the UX designer and the client get on the same page about the intended audience. If you’re selling an app that lets you know ideal surfing conditions, you’re target market will most likely not be elderly people in the land-locked Midwest. Determining this upfront will greatly play into the overall UX experience of the site.
“The user of a cutting-edge tech company’s website may understand and even appreciate a more complex UX experience: more movement, more neat features,” says Matt. “Conversely, the user of a hearing aid website might value more clear calls to action and easy-to-read copy over neat design and whiz-bang functionality.”
Developing a site map
A site map is a rough outline created to define the site’s desired goal. Is the goal to drive customers to the sales page, to social media, or a shopping cart? A site map makes designers and clients intentionally think about how users arrive to the site, how they will use the site, and how content should best be organized on the site.
Front-End Style Guides
Front-end style guides are the creative elements and direction of the website, put together in a simple collection for the developers to implement on the site. These UX design principles provide examples of User Interface elements like button styles, navigation menus, and icon styles. This gives developers concrete creative direction and creates uniformity within the website design – all of which plays in to a streamlined user experience.
“Style guides help to create consistency across your entire website or app, supports the maintainability of your site or app, and streamlines the overall user experience,” says Dana, Brandography’s brand strategist.
Wireframing outlines a rough sketch of a site to determine its general direction. Using the site map and front-end style guide, and keeping the user persona in mind, wireframes combine the previous steps together to create the framework of the site.
Once a site is developed, A/B testing compares two versions of a web page to see which one performs better. This is a concrete way to test the effectiveness of a site and see if one approach is more successful than another.
Following these steps in the UX process benefits both the client and the end user. Customers will have a great user experience on a well-thought-out site, and a great user experience means better conversion.
Need help creating a site that not only looks nice, but is also frustration-free for your users? The Brandography team can help strengthen your UX strategy with our tried and true UX web development services. Contact us to get started!