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Why Your Website Project Needs A UX Designer

You want to stay informed with the latest newsletter. Was it a pleasant experience the last time you clicked the ‘Sign Up Now’ button? Or by contrast, were you presented with a long list of password requirements and a form that took what seemed like ten years to complete? If your experience was seamless, chances are the team who created it had a UX Designer on board.

Rule #1 of Google’s “Ten Things” Philosophy: “Focus on the user and all else will follow”. The User Experience Designer, by definition, functions to enhance customer satisfaction, improve usability, and the pleasure gained from the interaction between the visitor and the website. Using something called a ‘user-centered design process’ their work affects the ‘who’, ‘what’, ‘when’, ‘where,’ ‘why’, and ‘how’ of the website visit. When all of this is done well, there are many benefits outside of the obvious enhanced usability improvements.
 

Attract and Retain

Users have all the power, and online reviews and social media give them the ability to be vocal about their horrible (or wonderful) online experience. Formerly known as the ‘letter of complaint’, now their comments can be posted for all the world to see with the click of a button. Chances are good when a company doesn’t invest in UX design efforts they’ll lose money - along with their customers - to a competitor who DID make that intelligent move.

Not investing in UX can negatively impact the success of a website, as frequently seen in projects that have excluded a customer base, such as sites not tailored for older visitors. It’s been estimated that as much as 47% of all customer spending can now be attributed to those who are over 50 years or older. As Baby Boomers begin aging, there is an increased need for accessible digital solutions. Making sure those users with accessibility needs have a pleasant visit should be a priority! Many people have the misunderstanding that website accessibility means ensuring the colors translate as intended for the color blind, or that your images have’ alt text’ for those who use screen reading devices. Accessible considerations also include people with dyslexia, or difficulties with movement, thinking, remembering, learning, communicating, hearing, mental health, and/or social relationships. The top layer of accessibility guidance includes the principles of ensuring the website is ‘perceivable’, ‘operable’, ‘understandable’, and ‘robust’ - all successful criteria for a user experience that provides optimal usability for EVERYONE.

“The impact of UX is crystal clear: the more satisfied your users are, the more likely they are to do whatever it is you are encouraging.”

- Abby Covert, ‘How to Make Sense of Any Mess’

Don’t tell them, but it’s not ALL about the user. The UX designer also makes careful considerations for the needs of the business, which are translated into the ‘goals’ of the website. The UX Designer asks all the questions that will help define why you’re doing ‘this’ in the first place. They will craft an experience to target YOUR users’ needs and wants through a user-centered process that will help you reach your goals. They’ll analyze your competition to assess opportunities and threats, analyze your visitors’ habits to determine potential issues (and obvious successes), and then develop a unique value proposition that will set you apart from the rest.
 

UX Design Impacts ROI

A pleasant user experience is the difference between a website winner or loser. Do you do much online shopping? Online shoppers abandon orders just because the checkout process is too long and complicated or because they’re required to create an account in order to continue. eMarketer reports that by 2020, e-Commerce sales will grow to more than $4 trillion worldwide, and as much as 35% of money is left on the table because of bad UX, according to the Baynard Institute.According to these calculations, even small UX design improvements can literally save companies billions of dollars. Every dollar invested in the UX design can bring $100 (or more) in return.
 

Good UX Design = Good Business

Input from a UX designer has been proven to reduce the amount of time developers spend re-working a product by up to 50%. Along with time (and cost) reduction, it also will improve decision making when prioritizing the development tasks. This can mean quicker releases especially when time is not spent developing a product that doesn’t achieve the intended goal.

“The value of UX is not wasting time and money developing the wrong solution.”

- Jeff Humble, CareerFoundry

Including a UX expert at the very beginning of your website project is key to building a website that your users will flock to. The UX designer needs to be involved in every step of the process – from concept to execution to implementation. The UX role is complex, involving skills in the expected areas of process, workflow, and usability but also in marketing, design and project management. Wireframes, prototypes, user testing, and process testing are all considered part of the plan along with coordination with digital strategy, UI design, and frontend and backend development. Though commonly confused with the User Interface (UI) Designer, the UX designer is not responsible for visual assets, responsive considerations, or maintaining the strength of the brand. UX focuses on improving the quality of the interaction between the user and the product (website) by using the science behind the competitive analysis, customer analysis, and user personas to develop a content structure that will address each person visiting the site.  

User experience is what drives the desirability of your website. You want that, right? Even small user-focused design changes can have a major impact on your visitors’ first impression. And first impressions, well... they do matter: According to Justin Mifsud, founder, Usability Geek,“88% of online visitors are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.” So keep ‘em coming back with a UX Designer on your team!
 

Additional Resources
Design to Development: Collaborate for Success | Mediacurrent Blog
Think First, Then Design | Mediacurrent Blog
For the Love of User Experience Design | Mediacurrent Blog

Cheryl Little

Meet team member, Cheryl Little

Cheryl brings six years of Drupal experience to her role as UX/UI designer at Mediacurrent. Her strengths lie in conceiving visual solutions to design problems that create an engaging, user-friendly...

Learn more about Cheryl >