Does your website have user experience at its core? Considering UX in web design.
Over 140 billion pounds was spent online by UK shoppers in 2021. That’s a pretty enormous pie; in fact, even the tiniest slither of that online spending could catapult your business into a whole new stratosphere. The beauty of the online spending train is that it shows no signs of slowing down. On the contrary, it continues to grow year on year.
Online spending growth was one of the very few benefits to businesses from the coronavirus pandemic. As the shop fronts rolled down their shutters and the high street became reminiscent of the start of 28 days later, the world of online trading was a lit touch paper ready to explode.
However, two years on and it turns out we actually really love online shopping. Even those who hadn’t already bought into the digital world have since seen the light. The older generation, who can be less likely to purchase online, found that the endless product ranges actually have everything they could need. Twinned with the fact that you don’t have to leave your comfy chair until the courier arrives, online shopping has become the norm.
However, as businesses move online at a rate of knots, the pressure has been turned up on the web developers of the world. It’s no longer good enough to exist online now you must offer your consumer an experience that is more pertinent than ever before.
In the blog that follows, we are going to unravel the reasons behind why your main online priority should be user experience. So, without any more time-wasting, let’s get this show on the road.
Why is User Experience (UX) web design important?
Firstly, it should be noted that user experience or UX web design, as you may see it referred to, isn’t just an essential facet of your website; it’s absolutely critical. In fact, for want of using too many descriptives, let’s just call it the most important priority of a website.
The reasoning behind it is something that is totally out of our control. Humans are genetically predisposed to take in information in a certain way; it’s not something we alter along the way or that we can pick up and put down; it’s just how we work. We decipher and interact with things based on a known set of outcomes, and those predisposed outcomes are the basis behind the design of most things we use.
So here’s where psychology helps us. If we know the way humans inherently interact with something, we don’t need to build a product or interface that they need to adapt their behaviours towards. We can manufacture something that fits into these needs and cuts out any period of uncertainty between the consumer and the product.
Believe it or not, there are a number of psychological laws and methodologies that govern the user experience and product relationship.
The psychology behind it all!
OK, so we are really keen to offer the complex psychology behind UX web design as a digestible and understandable piece of information. To do so we are going to break the features of a UX focused website down into factors. We understand that you may not have heard some of the terminologies before, but don’t worry. Bear with us, and we will help you make sense of it all.
The term heuristic relates to self-discovery, it’s pivotal for developing a website that allows your consumer to learn about what you’re offering with ease. Several laws and theories fall beneath the terminology when it comes to building a great user-friendly website.
Aesthetic usability effect – Users generally perceive something that is aesthetically pleasing as ‘easy to use’ regardless of their experience of it.
Takeaway: Keep your website on-trend, with lots of open spaces that bring the user peace of mind and create a simplistic and aesthetically pleasing look.
Goal gradient effect – A user is more likely to reach a goal in closer proximity.
Takeaway: Don’t hide your lead generation form way out of sight or horrendously far down the page. If your user reaches the pinnacle of Everest, they need to know that they’re there.
Fitt’s Law – The ability to reach a target is a product of the distance to and size of that target.
Takeaway: Similarly to above, putting what you want people to reach, see or purchase closer to where they enter the website increases the chances of conversion.
Hick’s law – The time it takes to come to decisions is related to the number of decisions to make and the complexity of said decision.
Takeaway: Hick’s law highlights the importance of product placement. Users are more likely to purchase from your online store if they have fewer decisions to make. Therefore, you should be focusing on displaying the products you want to sell front and centre.
Miller’s law – The average person can only keep seven plus or minus two items in their working memory.
Takeaway: Ever scrolled through a website, put things in the basket, and then forgotten what’s in there? We have! This is Miller’s law in practice. Essentially it benefits the user if you have your products grouped in smaller, more digestible groups, that way, you remain at the forefront of their mind whilst making decisions on purchase.
Jakob’s Law – Your users spend most of their time on other sites therefore, they find confidence in your site if it works in a similar way.
Takeaway: Think about your competition when it comes to the knowledge your users have. By duplicating similar functionality, it’s not copying; it’s just making what your potential customer know better.
Parkinson’s Law – Every task on your site will have an expected time taken to complete.
Takeaway: If your website is able to process in a way that is quicker than your user expects, it will improve your site’s user experience.
In psychology, Gestalt theories relate to the way pieces are put together to form something greater than the sums of its parts. For example, all of your design elements are pieced together to build a complete website.
With UX web design, fundamental laws regulate how your web developer should piece together your website.
Law of Proximity – Items that are in close proximity should be grouped together.
Takeaway: By placing your grouped products in close proximity, you can educate your users on the traits of your products from positioning alone.
Law of Pragnanz – Users will interpret confusing imagery as the simplest possible form as it relies on the least cognitive ability.
Takeaway: The human eye simplifies things it doesn’t understand; therefore, when it comes to using icons and shapes on your website, keep it simple and processible.
Law of Uniform connectedness – Visually connected elements are perceived to have more similarities than those that aren’t.
Takeaway: Any elements within your website which are similar should be grouped via lines, colours or shapes. For example, if you have drop-down menus containing similar products, highlight them via colours or icons.
We are subconsciously biased despite doing our best to avoid being when it comes to human nature. These Cognitive Biases affect the way our brains process information and should always be taken into account whilst designing websites. Here are the biases of which we should be aware.
Peak End Rule – People judge experiences based on how they felt in the middle and at the end, not as a sum of the whole process.
Takeaway: In terms of your user journey, you should be paying the most attention to the peak and end points; if these are memorable, so too are you.
Serial Position Effect – For anything which is laid out in a series, people generally remember the first and last thing which occurred.
Takeaway: Placing your most popular items at the beginning or end of your lists could mean they are remembered the most and, therefore, will help your success.
Von Restorff Effect – When lots of similar items appear grouped together, it is the one that is most different from the rest that is likely to be remembered.
Takeaway: Make your key information more visually appealing than the blurb surrounding it. Standing out from your website will increase how memorable that information is to the user.
Zeigarnik Effect – As a rule, people tend to remember incomplete tasks more than they do those that were completed.
Takeaway: Including elements within your site that indicate the progress of a task makes people more likely to complete that task in the long run. For example, highlighting how much more information is required to fill in your data capture form will lead to increased completion.
We understand the necessity for people to turn to cheap and cheerful web designers when it comes to getting online for the first time. However, a lot more goes into building a memorable website that reflects your business than simply throwing pages together.
At Create8, we specialise in UX web design. We take immense pride in taking all the customers who use our client’s websites on a journey they never forget. We know that we can give your business the greatest chance of online success by following the psychological blueprint.
So, anything you’ve read caught your eye? Or fancy reaching out and getting in touch with us? We can’t wait to hear from you.