The Importance of User Experience in Website Design

What makes a website successful? Is it the content? The design? The online marketing? What makes a website successful is a topic that I felt should not go unexplained seeing as more and more businesses are looking to the internet to present their identity, advertise and gain leads. It seems having a successful website is becoming more of an asset to businesses, large and small, than ever before. After some research as to how a website is successful, it turns out it requires content, design, and online marketing, but is a bit more complicated than that. There are some key ingredients, which are fairly self-explanatory, but could take another whole blog entry to explain their importance. Those ingredients include appropriate content, appropriate marketing (SEO, advertising, blogging, social media), and appropriate design. But there is more thought that needs to be placed in the design process, aside from making sure the visual brand is upheld, that can turn a decently successful website into a website that is responsible for generating 50%+ of total leads per month. And that thought process applies to what is called the user experience (UX).

The user experience is how the user feels when navigating through a website and how they may respond, physically (in terms of actions), intellectually and emotionally to the website. The way the user interacts with the website will actually help determine if they will take action and complete the overall goal the website was designed to incite. If the way a user might feel when navigating through the site is taken into account before and while the website is being designed, the final product will generate more leads.

There are many factors that go into creating an optimal user experience. They involve combining form and function to carry out a final goal. Breaking them down into steps will help give more insight into creating the optimal user experience.

Consider the industry the website will be applied to and the target audience that may become users of the site. How are they expecting the site to look and function?

Think of the goal of the website and what action you would like the users to complete. Is the best possible outcome a potential lead contacting your company personally? Is it purchasing a product?

When beginning to design the site, it is important to utilize the idea of flow. Creating this flow involves the visual design, content and navigation of the site. Is navigating the site cohesive yet stimulating, easy to understand, yet entertaining to peruse and keeps the user’s attention? In creating the main pages and sub-pages, it is important to make sure that the visual flow, as well as the flow of the content, are seamless to make the path to the final goal seamless. This seamlessness can also create a feeling of flow within the user. Flow, as an action, is defined as the state in which one becomes fully and positively immersed in an activity to the point they lose conception of time. Some athletes would describe flow as “the sweet spot.” When users feel flow, they are fully immersed in the exploration of a new and relevant website and are more likely to follow the flow and fulfill the ultimate goal.