Principles of Modern User Experience Design

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What is it that makes us stick to certain brands more than others? For most, it’s the user experience. For example, we choose sticky notes over traditional notepads because sticky notes are easier to use.

Similarly, some of us prefer Android smartphones over Apple because we perceive one to be easier to use.

The same applies to user experience design. In general, UX is the experience you gain from using any product, like a website or application, in terms of how delightful or pleasing it is.

In design, UX is the pursuit of user satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility, and efficiency of user interactions.

The term has been a buzzword in the design community for a few years now, especially as the web came to mobile phones.

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Now, UX isn’t just an afterthought anymore. For consumers, it’s a priority.

To illustrate, consider these stats:

  • If a website isn’t optimized for mobile, users are 5 times more likely to abandon it – Source
  • 52% of users say that bad mobile experiences make them disengage with companies – Source
  • 53% of visitors abandon websites that take more than 3 seconds to load – Source
  • Research suggests that every dollar invested n UX brings $100 in return – Source
  • 57% of consumers will hesitate to recommend a company if it provides less than adequate mobile experience – Source

On that note, let’s see how principles of modern UX design are shaping the industry today.

Modern User Experience Design Principles

Design Based on Conversions

Your website could be incredibly beautiful, but that alone won’t necessarily convert visitors. Conversions happen when users take the desired action.

For example, a visitor on an ecommerce website can convert by becoming a registered user or making a sale. Another example is using a newly launched feature on a mobile app.

However, people also need a good reason to convert. Products that provide consumers with engaging user experiences are likely to convert.

This brings in the UX designer, whose job is to ensure that the path from initial discovery to conversions is as smooth as possible.

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To achieve this, designers often use techniques like the following:

Keeping CTA Design Consistent

CTA buttons are useful in establishing the visual hierarchy of your product. Consider Evernote, which uses the same green color on its brand and CTA buttons. The consistency draws your eye and encourages users to click.

Don’t Make Users Think Too Much

Users that feel that a product takes too much time to figure out are likely to click away. To illustrate, a study shows that 65% of visitors don’t fill online forms if too much personal information is required.

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Responsiveness is a Priority

Responsive design was just a fad a few years ago. Now, the fact is that nearly two-thirds of the US population own smartphones –making responsiveness a priority.

In the case of responsive web design and development, it means that a website needs to be easily accessible on any platform, from desktop to mobile.

Websites that are designed to be responsive detect the size of a user’s screen and change layouts accordingly.

To illustrate, even with a content remaining king, users still prefer scanning content rather than reading it through – and even less so on their mobile screens.

Keeping modern audiences engaged means limiting content on the screen without sacrificing engagement or relevancy. Here is how this is being accomplished today in terms of navigation:

  • Displaying relevant content: Mobile users crave clarity, and a responsive web design should provide it. For example, a news website may display content on its front page, but the mobile version divides it under “popular” and “latest” news stories to make navigation easy for mobile audiences.
  • Hidden navigation: Hiding the navigation, like concealing menus, is another way for UX designers to clear up space on-screen. A popular example is the hamburger icon that conceals a menu screen.

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Smart Visuals

There is a reason why most ads have people smiling in them. A smile signifies satisfaction. A smiling customer in a car insurance ad conveys trust.

This is why visuals, like images and videos, are also a part of modern UX design. However, keep in mind that modern users usually ignore imagery that even remotely looks like an advertisement.

It’s known as “banner blindness,” a state of mind in which we tune out unhelpful online ads.

So, if you want images to complement the user experience, they must be useful. As a start, consider these tips:

  • Use the eyes to draw users in: An image of a person looking directly at your CTA buttons will prompt users to do the same.
  • Use actionable images: The subject in your image should be doing something useful. For example, if your landing page design is promoting a product, the image can be a person using the product.
  • Use HD images: Users are going to focus more on your images. Use high quality images to make the first impression positive.

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Designing with User Goals in Mind

Joyce Lee from Human Factors Design at Apple once said, “Usability answers the question, Can someone accomplish their goals?”

Keep in mind, when people use your app or website, they have specific goals in mind. In terms of user experience design, these goals are often tied to convenience.

For instance, people use banking apps to make it easier for them to transfer money without going to an actual bank.

To meet user goals better, designers often focus on small activities. To compare it with a real-world example, consider the Lyft mobile app.

The goal of anyone who uses the app would be to get a ride somewhere without any hassle. Lyft knows this and makes the experience convenient.

For pickup, it uses geolocation data to pinpoint a user’s location without requiring them to type the info themselves.

In Conclusion

UX designers are focusing on user-centricity now more than ever before. To ensure user engagement for your website or app, keep these principles in mind.

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