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UX Principles and Best Practices

User Experience design, or UX design as it’s more commonly referred to, is a very important component of web design, especially for ecommerce sites and other B2C enterprises. At its core, UX design is about removing barriers for users so they can have the best experience possible with your products and digital services. 

A key component of modern web design, centering UX confers a variety of benefits, including enhanced user satisfaction and maximizing conversions by reducing the stumble blocks that can make the difference between closing a sale and losing it.

Here’s how UX designers work to ensure your digital interactions with consumers and clients are streamlined, simple, and satisfying for users.

What is the UX Design Process?

UX designers pass through multiple steps along the UX design process. The first step is understanding the needs of users through research into their preferences and behaviours. This step of the UX design process can include research tactics like interviewing focus groups, conducting surveys, or A/B testing on a live site to see how user behaviour differs between both versions. 

Once the research stage is complete and you have a strong sense of the priorities and expectations of your users, it comes time to map out the information architecture of the design. Information architecture refers to the hierarchy and structure of content to maximize functionality. Put simply, it should be easy and intuitive for users to navigate the design based on their prior interactions and expectations. 

With the information architecture roughly mapped out, UX designers progress to the interaction and visual design stages of the UX design process. Interaction design seeks to highlight interactive elements like buttons and forms so they draw the attention of the user and make it easy for them to complete a conversion. Visual design marries these elements of interaction design with your business’s branding, balancing attractive visuals with a clear and often minimalistic aesthetic to enhance usability. 

Once the overall design is complete comes the most important step – testing with real users to make sure everything works as intended and the design is intuitive. On a fundamental level, UX design is an iterative process and multiple rounds of testing is usually required to refine a page or platform over time. If any confusing or frustrating elements are discovered through testing, UX designers go back through the process to iterate on the design and improve the end product.

The Best UX Design Principles

There are a wide variety of best practices or “heuristics” when it comes to UX design, but for the most part they boil down to three key principles: Usability, Accessibility, and Consistency. 

Incorporating these three factors into a design goes a long way towards a user experience that’s elegant and easy to use.

Usability:

The key principle of UX design, usability comes down to making it as easy as possible for users of all skill levels to interact with your products and services. Have you ever tried to buy something on a website only to find it impossible to find the View Cart button? Or tried to fill out an online application only to run into an unclear Error message you had no idea how to resolve?

These are some common usability failures when it comes to digital UX design, and they all stem from a failure to account for how end-users interact with web applications. While seemingly minor nuisances, these sorts of usability failures can have a major impact on your business’ goals if say a user abandons their cart or fails to complete their application due to the challenges they faced.  

Centering usability in UX design is key in terms of avoiding these sorts of mistakes and streamlining your website or digital service to maximize conversions.

Accessibility:

Quite simply, accessibility means ensuring your products and services are usable for as wide a pool of consumers as possible. This can refer to ensuring your design aligns with AODA requirements, but it encompasses far more than that. As we all know, young folks and older people have very different ways of interacting with technology and the internet. Accessibility means creating an even playing field so everyone can benefit from your business.

For instance, offering adjustable font sizes doesn’t merely help the visually-impaired but older people who have a difficult time reading standard-sized web fonts. Or offering shortcuts and keyboard navigation options that make your site easier to navigate as a whole.

Accessible design is good design, creating landing pages with a hierarchical organization and minimalist visual patterns and colour palette create a better viewing experience for all users and has very strong SEO benefits.

Consistency:

Good UX design creates a mental model and visual language for how users should interact with your products and services. Once they have an expectation in mind, encountering elements that contradict their previous experiences creates friction in the user experience. 

Consistency also relates to aligning with users’ existing preconceptions and past experiences with other brands. Using the example above, it’s a well-known best practice to place the View Cart button on an ecommerce site in the top right-hand corner of the browser simply because that’s what the vast majority of websites do. Placing it say in the bottom-right corner or using an image of a basket instead of a shopping cart contradicts the intuitive behaviour of most users, creating friction that may result in a lost opportunity. 

Ensuring consistency with both internal design elements and external expectations creates a variety of UX benefits. It reduces cognitive load, it streamlines expected user behaviour, and it helps reduce errors.

Does your website or digital platform align with UX principles and best practices? We can connect with experienced UX designers who can analyze your digital product and services to enhance usability and conversions. Contact Yoush today for a consultation.