UI and UX, abbreviated for User Interface and User Experience, are relatively new concepts being thrown at Marketers and are sending us into panic. Do not fear, marketer! It’s actually super interesting, because UI/UX goes beyond marketing. It dabble in a multitude of fields: design, psychology, computer science, and business.
Those who are professionally trained in the UI and UX field are a jack of all trades, and are extremely valuable assets to companies large and small alike. It takes a creative eye, but it also takes a strategic eye.
So what exactly is UX? Fast Company tells us that it’s all about optimizing the users experience and how the product feels.. Nothing is worse than going to a website and maneuvering through an unorganized, ugly, annoying page. That’s why UX designers are concerned with site flow, mapping, and storyboards. These guys work closely with UX Researchers (occasionally, the job will overlap). UX Researchers are the ones doing A/B Testing (we discussed this in a previous post). They’re the snobby people in the office that say “From our research, a typical user….”.
Lets make sure that we don’t think UI and UX are the same thing. UI is more concerned with how the product is laid out. They’re going to be designing the individual page – the color scheme, the content, the everything. They’re the ones that say “There should be content right here”.
That’s enough background on UI and UX. Lets say you’ve already landed yourself a UI/UX job at a fancy-shmancy firm. Maybe you lied yourself into the position and really don’t have that much experience (tsk tsk), or maybe you are totally capable of being a designer. Either way, there are some basics you should be aware of. So let’s talk about that.
What you need to know: As told by UXMag
1. Study those around you as you would study your users
Remember, your users are the people around you! Put your coworkers, family, everyone in your surroundings into your design exploratory. Ask them to try out the design you’ve created, see their reaction, their frustrations and what they seem to be enjoying about the experience.
2. Study Isn’t Enough — You Must Have Empathy
You’ve got to understand your audience, and cater your design to their needs. Rather than trying to get your user to meld themselves into enjoying your website, you’ve got to meld your website into a way that your user will enjoy it. Does that make sense? Basically, you need to work together as a team with your user. Whether you’re designing a B2B or a B2C website, bring in your ideal user to the office, have them toy around. Cater to their needs.
3. Take the Long View and Build Relationships
This is where the psychology part comes in. It’s about creating relationships with your user, so they return as long-term, revisiting customers. A returning customer is pivotal to your success; and creating an awesome, unique experience is a major part of that.
4. Remember! People May Not Understand UX
Don’t you love to hear that people may not understand your job? You’ll need to have patience with people. As mentioned before, UX is relatively new, and lots of people don’t know the lingo and the details of the job. It’s going to take a lot of explaining, to both your partners, coworkers and your users, what it is that you’re trying to convey. Imagine wanting to implement a certain design and your boss saying he wants you to go a different way after you’ve spent hours coding and coding. Frustrating right? Take a deep breath and realize that your boss is an idiot, and then overcome your annoyance and try to respectfully understand what your vision was, why you believe your way is better, and find common ground.
To left is a screenshot of a website called Dangers of Fracking that I remember one of my sustainability professors showing us, that came to mind as soon as I started reading about cool animated websites.
It’s basically just one long scroll on one page, rather than moving horizontally (meaning, from link to link), you’re going to move vertically to absorb all your Fracking information. You get to follow a water drop through the process of fracking, and inevitably learn about the evils of mankind! But seriously, it’s really cool. It’s much more interactive than reading paragraph after paragraph to learn. You get little tidbits, and hopefully it’s something you want to share it with other people.
Take Spotify as another example. Aesthetically pleasing, and they plug “Try Premium!” at the top, which is what their ultimate goal is- to get you to sign up for their paid service. Attract –> Convert –> Close –> Delight. Spotify has this down. Free users are more likely to convert to paid users. The slotted banners at the top of the page are “Try Premium free for 30 days”, “Get a Student Discount”, “Save with the Family Plan”, “Premium on PlayStation – Take Gaming to the Next Level”. They’re literally appealing to every possible group here, including Call to Actions in 4/4 banners. Way to be, Spotify.
On their “Try Premium” page, they keep up their good work by highlighting the benefits of trying their premium service. “Play any song, download music on or offline, no ads, better sound quality.” These are the key features of their top of the line service.
Keep these Landing Page Best Practices in mind as you go along your UI/UX job, and keep in mind that landing pages are very, very important. It drives your entire users experience.
For more information on User Experience and Web Aesthetics from a real designer, check out this blog on HubSpot written by some guy that designs websites.
Till Next Time!