UX Design 8 min read
A Blueprint To Jumpstart Your UX Design Project
- 24 Mar 2021 10 min read
User experience (UX) design continues to evolve to provide end-users with better experiences and clients with websites optimized for conversion.
Nothing can be truer today, as the digital marketing field experiences a rapid shift in adaptability. Not only has the COVID-19 pandemic become the catalyst of change, but with its acceleration, we could expect more changes to come at an even more rapid pace.
With users mainly operating online, and businesses scrambling to meet their end-users in their new digital ecosystems, digital is truly proving to be “the now.” This makes UX designers the critical bulwarks of this expansive field, more than ever.
Now, if you're new to all of this, let experienced an experienced UX design company walk you through the whole process. But first, the basics:
What is UX Design?
User experience design is the process that involves the creation of “products that provide meaningful and relevant experiences to users,” according to the Interaction Design Foundation (IDF).
In the context of website development, this concept refers to the process web developers use to create and curate effective websites and landing pages. UX designers and web developers use this process to anticipate a user's needs and ensure an optimized user journey that should eventually lead to a conversion for the business.
Why is UX Design Important?
That great user experiences lead to more conversions is only one layer of the value of UX design in digital marketing.
UX designers and their work are crucial to the practice of digital marketing because so many parts of the consumer journey happen on your website. On top of that, investing in UX design benefits businesses, like reducing operational costs and encouraging user engagement and customer loyalty.
So, as designers, you should always bear in mind that your role in the digital marketing field is vital. This should also tell you that when you’re designing your and your client's websites, you shouldn’t just blindly follow any old UX blueprint.
Design user experiences and improve your process with the help of this comprehensive UX blueprint for your business.
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Good vs Bad UX Design
What is good UX design?
Not all UX blueprints are created equal. As with any process, there are good and bad UX designs, especially in the context of website development. Here are a few qualities of good design for your next UX project, according to Peter Morville of Semantic Studio:
- Useful - Your elements fulfill a customer's need.
- Usable - The overall website is easy to use.
- Desirable - The design evokes an appreciation for the brand.
- Findable - Relevant content is easy to find, online and offline.
- Accessible - Website elements are accessible to all users.
- Credible - All contents are factually correct and believable.
According to Think with Google, the company’s digital innovation center, your blueprint should also accomplish certain goals. Through your strategy, your website should entice users to:
- Take action. The blueprint should guide the user experience towards your desired customer action.
- Get emotional. The right UX blueprint will reflect your brand’s identity, voice, and style, to attract your target audiences.
Overall, good UX design generates meaningful experiences at every touchpoint. It ensures a strategy-first approach that guides users in their journey, from click, to cart, to customer conversion.
If that's good, then what is bad UX design?
Anyone who’s been on the Internet has some idea of what bad UX is. Here are a few pain points for you to identify and avoid as a web developer:
- Bad copywriting. Fact: If the copywriting doesn’t pull users in, they won’t commit to a conversion.
- Intrusive pop-ups. Everyone hates distractions. Don’t let pop-ups distract your potential customers away from your goal of having them complete a conversion on your website.
- Slow-loading websites. Do you like it when websites take a long time to load? If not, then optimize your page speed.
- Unnecessary complexity. Simplicity is key when it comes to UX design. Keep your web design straight-to-the-point to avoid a difficult navigating experience for your users.
- Obnoxious or boring color scheme. As a designer, you need to strike a balance between chaos and dullness. Use better visual content to encourage positive responses from your potential customers.
- Lack of engagement. People go to your company for a reason; so make sure to communicate with them. Don’t let it be a one-sided relationship on your website.
- Doesn’t meet credibility principles. More than anything, trust in your brand will ensure your customers keep going back to you. Establish your website’s credibility and trustworthiness, to help maintain user trust.
If you’re curating user experiences for anyone online, make sure to avoid the pain points above, as you strategize for your UX design. Doing so will help secure successful conversions by every customer who clicks on your website or landing page.
Now that you are more familiar with good and bad user experience design, learn how to get into UX design strategies that are specific and actionable for your upcoming UX projects.
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UX Design in Web Development
User experience plays a significant role in keeping the readers or customers on your website. A good UX design helps consumers obtain what they need on your website, based on its usability and interaction design.
Producing good UX for a website involves a meticulous process. So how does the UX design process look like? Here’s a step-by-step process on how to start your first-ever UX project:
- Conduct comprehensive research.
- Conduct a heuristic analysis.
- Validate recommendations by analyzing your current performance.
- Sketch your initial design based on recommendations.
- Implement your design through prototypes.
- Conduct multiple user tests
- Launch your UX Design
- Continuously develop updates
Ready to dig deep into our simplified UX design process?
1. Conduct comprehensive research
Jumping into a project empty-handed is risky. While trial-and-error may seem forgivable, but taking wild guesses in a project would only be counterproductive for you and your team. This is why ample research is required to establish a good backbone for any type of project.
The same goes for establishing a good UX design. Thorough research must be done before being able to strategize for your website or product. How is research conducted for UX design?
In a UX research article by Maryna Samsyka, she said that research for UX involves collecting information from users through surveys, testing, and other methods. The information gathered help UX designers tweak or create ideas that fit the need of the users.
“It’s not about making them love my ideas, it’s about tailoring my ideas so that they can be loved by the user,” Samsyka said.
2. Conduct a heuristic evaluation
You might be wondering what a heuristic evaluation (HE) is, especially in the context of UX design. Simply put, HE in UX design is the process wherein experts review your current plans to make sure it’s as user-friendly as possible.
To conduct a heuristic evaluation, subject matter experts (SMEs) will provide an objective review of your current webpages with a few key principles in mind. These principles will depend on which website evaluation framework you are basing your tear-down on.
For starters, you can combine a series of product messaging heuristics to refine the copies of your pages. To ensure that your websites are functioning and meeting fundamental expectations, you should also conduct a usability heuristic evaluation. After the evaluations are done, gather your SMEs’ specific and actionable suggestions and get the ball rolling on improvements on your UX design project. This initial HE is a great way to achieve conversion optimization on any existing web design, with all the expert advice you get from this process.
3. Validate recommendations by analyzing your current performance
Before acting on recommendations from your evaluations, first validate the SMEs’ findings by analyzing your current performance, with the help of analytics tools.
A side-by-side comparison of your qualitative vs quantitative data should answer whether or not your HE findings align with your current user experience design’s actual performance. If they do, this confirms that the SMEs’ findings are valid and applicable for your business and design process.
For verification, use Google Analytics User Flow or MS Clarity Heat Maps to visually map out user paths from beginning to end. This way, you can analyze, improve, and validate the HE recommendations on your current design
4. Sketch your initial design based on the recommendations.
Now it’s time to create your newly upgraded website. At this point, your UX design should meet emotional intelligence. Below are some key points to consider in executing this
A. Create a smooth user flow.
At this stage, a UX designer should be able to lay out the user flow of the website, from start to end of the user’s experience. Accomplish this by creating a flowchart or a diagram to map out their experience
Your web design must be user-centric. Therefore, this user experience must be efficient in achieving a user’s goal. Let principle help you as a designer, to decide on the finer details of your user flow.
B. Establish the wireframe.
After creating the user flow, UX designers can now come up with a wireframe of the product or the website. A wireframe serves as the UX blueprint that will outline the website’s visual structure. Think of it as a site map; wireframes allow designers to visualize which elements should be utilized for an optimal user experience.
Wireframes are essential in any UX design project; so make sure to use the right tools to create this essential framework. Some of the most commonly used tools are Balsamiq, Adobe Illustrator, Adobe Photoshop, and Invision Studio.
5. Implement your design through prototypes.
Now that you have a wireframe, it’s time to develop your website and implement your design through prototypes. This is one of the longest processes in UX design; so practice patience and welcome difficulties that may come your way.
At this stage, your website’s backend will be developed, based on the user flow and sitemap from the previous stage. This backend then gets implemented based on the optimal user interface of your website.
Then, once the interface and layout are finalized, add and finalize additional graphics for your website. Throughout this lengthy stage, keep in mind your goal to ensure an optimized and improved user experience for your potential customers.
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6. Conduct multiple user tests.
With any user experience design, you’ll need the actual experience of your users to validate your design. Through the prototypes you developed, your target users can test and comment on the website, first-hand.
- Prototype testing. Analyze your website with online usability testing tools. Websites like UsabilityHub, Userbob, and Indigo Studio offer usability testing; so you can see how your design would work in real-time.
This type of user testing is essential to the overall process. It gives you an initial idea of what needs to be improved in your web design. It might be easy for you to understand your design, but it might not be that clear to your actual users.
By conducting multiple user tests, you’ll have an initial idea of whether the strategy is truly effective or not. These tests will help you determine if the user flow is smooth and user-friendly. Listen to the suggestions of your test users, and make changes to your plans if necessary.
Overall, you’ll need to repeat steps 3 to 5 on this list, as needed, to fully establish your final web design before launching.
7. Launch your UX design.
After designing, implementing, and testing your website multiple times, you’ll finally reach the point where you’re satisfied with your work. If everything seems to be fully optimized and improved, you can finally celebrate and launch your brilliant new website.
However, know that the job of a UX designer doesn’t stop after the website is launched. Remember that UX designers must be updated on the latest wants and needs of users, as time goes on. Your UX project is really more of an iterative process that improves according to user needs over time.
8. Continuously develop updates.
The final step to this comprehensive UX blueprint is to continuously develop updates for your web design. This step is necessary to keep up with the evolving standards of your users.
So how can a web designer come up with regular updates? You can update and upgrade your design by listening to user experiences and feedback. You can also do this by going back to Step 1 with another HE.
As you may have noticed, the past seven steps weren’t linear in direction. For good user experience design, you need to be constantly iterative and open to improvement. This means you’ll go back a few steps a lot of times throughout this whole process.
This back-and-forth between steps can be frustrating for any web designer. Manage this frustration and stress by following a few best practices in UX design, to help ensure that your upcoming UX projects will be smooth sailing.
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UX Best Practices to Keep in Mind
Before you launch straight to your next UX project, study these useful UX best practices that are aligned to the HE concepts:
- Follow visual hierarchy. Prioritize the important points of your website by following the rule of visual hierarchy in your design.
- Divine proportions. Incorporate divine proportions, like the Golden Ratio or the Fibonacci sequence, into your visuals to make them more pleasing to the eye.
- Hick’s Law. The more options you give, the less your audience will be drawn in. Filter out distractions from your design to curate a smooth flow for your users.
- Fitt’s Law. The math behind it is complicated, but the concept is simple: the bigger and closer an element is, the easier it is to use. Keep this in mind when you’re finalizing key elements of your web design.
- Rule of Thirds. Include images in your design and make sure they follow the Rule of Thirds for a more interesting and aesthetically pleasing user experience.
- Gestalt Design Laws. Users will see the whole of your website, first, before its individual parts. Let these Gestalt Design Laws guide you in optimizing your website for an effective user experience.
- White space, clean design, and Occam’s Razor. Once again, remember that simplicity is key. Hence, try to use white space and clean design to ensure a clear-cut customer journey on your website. Follow Occam’s Razor and offer simple solutions to your customers’ needs. You may find that this is the best you can do for your users.
- Credibility principles. Lastly, you can keep your customers coming back for more if they can trust your design. Follow website credibility principles to develop user trust and loyalty over time.
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The user experience design process can be quite meticulous and arduous. Employ an optimal, effective, and up-to-date design that addresses user needs to help ensure customer conversions and keep these key points in mind:
- Potential customers expect a seamless experience to complete transactions. Don’t get too caught up on fancy features that can only confuse your visitors. Sometimes, a simple and intuitive design goes a much longer way than flashy, feature-filled websites.
- Improving isn’t easy, but it can certainly be worth your effort. Heuristics evaluation can be tough. Prototyping and user testing? Even tougher. However, if you keep at it, the possible rewards may more than make up for your hard work and efforts.
- Learn from your customers. Keep an open mind to every feedback you receive from your customers, especially the negative ones. This can serve as an opportunity for growth in every aspect of your UX design.
UX design will no doubt evolve rapidly as the digital age continues to progress. Sometimes, a lot of so-called pillars of knowledge and best practices crumble at disruptive updates.
If any radical changes happen, you can always turn back to these few tried and tested principles, or perhaps sound a call for help! Drop the Propelrr team a line on our Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn for more helpful advice and user experience tips.