User Experience or, to give it its cooler undercover name, UX, is a term you’ll have heard countless times. It pops up a lot whenever website or app design is on the table. And with good reason. Because great UX is at the heart of every successful website and its digital strategy.
It’s all over the major goals of brand awareness, brand building and conversion. Attention-grabbing SEO? Reducing bounce rates? Increasing dwell time? UX is across these essentials also. So whatever your business or organisation, it’s crucial to get it right. And at Hookson we can help.
In our previous post we looked at digital marketing trends. In this first post of a two-part series we’ll look at just why airtight UX should be at the core of your digital marketing strategy. To begin, though, we’ll trot back along the alphabet, to UI: User Interface.
Two ‘U’s. But Not Quite Two Peas.
Too often UI and UX are mashed together and presented as one and the same. The truth, however, is that they’re separate disciplines. But they are closely related. And when UI and UX are working hard, your websites and apps are working hard too. That’s great news for you, your business and, of course, your visitors.
Let’s start by separating out and defining this digital dynamic duo.
When UI and UX are working hard, your online presence is working hard too.
User Interface. Here we’re talking about an application’s graphical layout: the items your visitor will interact with. These can include:
- Page layout and organisation
- Text – and the fields your visitors might enter text into
User Experience. UX determines how visitors interact with UI’s graphical elements. Here we’re looking to create a logical, intuitive journey: an app or a multi-platform website that’s easy to use, holds attention and invites repeat visits.
It’s easy to see, therefore, how the two disciplines are at the centre of every results-driven online presence. And, to be fair, it’s easy also to see how they can seem so interchangeable that they merge into one.
Understanding the Differences. Understanding the Power.
At Hookson we understand the differences between UI and UX. We understand also the powerful impacts each has on your website and the digital strategy that’s driving its success.
Let’s look a bit more closely at some terrific UI must-dos. At Hookson, these processes and many others help us create a user interface that’s primed for a winning online experience.
Consistency is King
Visitors adore site-wide consistency. Thoughtful use of colour and typography eases their journey. Consistent (and jargon-free) terminology assists clarity and understanding too. And when it comes to buttons and prompts, users look for consistent actions, be they double-clicks, swipes or drags. So much of UI is concerned with anticipation: solving problems before they happen. And site-wide consistency is a clever route to a site that’s loaded with solutions.
So much of UI is concerned with anticipation: solving problems before they happen.
Room to Reverse
UI is a discipline with a human at its centre. And humans make mistakes. But great UI makes it easy to undo errors. So, in a shopping cart, that could be providing a fast and simple way to ensure that 1, and not 11, jumpers are shipped to your customer.
You are Here
A lost visitor is a lost customer. Brilliant UI ensures a visitor knows how s/he arrived at a page – and how to get from there to somewhere else. Thoughtful use of page titles, visuals and highlighted location buttons quickly give visitors the confidence to explore. The ‘three-click rule’ is also worth a mention here: ideally, users should never be more than three mouse clicks or, increasingly, the same amount of taps or swipes, from completing an action.
Front-up with Feedback
A simple UI device, but a powerful one. Acknowledging actions – a button-press, say, or a form submission – reassures visitors and makes for an interactive experience. Examples? When clicked or tapped, buttons can change colour. And when a form is submitted, a pop-up can confirm its delivery. These are features we take for granted – until, that is, a poor UI design neglects to offer them.
A Visual Metaphor is Worth a Thousand Words
Visual language is a huge part of fantastic UI. Well-learned symbols like trashcans, credit cards and envelopes speak instantly to us. Smart use of these icons helps move the visitor journey along. So whether you’re snagging a sale, offering a download or looking to harvest details, these small-but-powerful components of UI can win the day.
Be Creative. Be Bold. But Beware.
Great UI harnesses creativity and imagination. But it also respects established rules and patterns. These patterns have become conventions. Ever wondered why nobody logs into a site on the bottom-left? It’s because nobody logs into a site on the bottom-left. And making them do it isn’t clever. But it is annoying. So striking a balance, and knowing when to bend the odd rule, is paramount.
This post has acknowledged the connected disciplines of UI and UX. It’s recognised their roles and functions. And it’s expanded on one: UI. In our next post we’ll be doing the same for UX.
Can Hookson Make my Digital Strategy Fly with Rock-solid UI and UX?
Of course we can. It all begins by understanding your organisation’s goals and your visitors’ needs. So for a site that’s offering the smoothest, most user-friendly journeys, send a message or call us on 0131 524 7940