7 Important Rules a UX-Driven Website Should Follow
Every part of a marketing strategy and website construction is all about prioritizing the user. Thus, we have these important rules that every website driven by UX needs to follow.
When it comes to web design and development, it's easy to say that your goal is to create a user-friendly website—a site that responds to any mobile device and is perfectly built to your general target audience's convenience and expectations.
Google and the general population of consumers are obsessed with user experience. It applies to other practices of digital marketing, like SEO, content marketing, and social media marketing. Every part of marketing strategy and website construction is all about prioritizing the user.
It is with no exaggeration when I say, user experience is a broad discipline.
Designing a website that caters to user experience means possessing at least minimal skills across various fields. Thus, we have these important rules that every website driven by UX needs to follow.
Rule #1: Know and understand your target audience
User research: a consensus and natural first step in the web design process.
Even in crafting products or considering services to offer, it's no surprise that one of the most important factors to consider when designing products is the audience. For any business, knowing what the audience actually needs and wants is integral to creating the right product. The same principle applies to developing a website.
User research is non-skippable in the UX design process. Your target audiences are what should come first in your mind when you're designing.
Rule #2: You're not the user
What do I mean by this?
I mean to point out the importance of testing prototype designs on real users.
As a designer, don't make the mistake of assuming that anyone who will use your interface will immediately like them. Avoid projecting your behavior and your reactions onto your users. Thinking and presuming that you, yourself, is a user is a fallacy.
You may have a target demographic in mind, but remember that people included in your target group consists of different backgrounds, diverse outlooks in life, varied mindsets, mental models, and most of all, different goals.
A technique you can use to avoid biases and overcome false-consensus is usability testing. Testing helps you continue building products and providing services that real users would find useful and would love.
It's going to be time-consuming, but it's better to proceed slowly than make thousands of mistakes along the way, and end up redoing everything all the time.
Rule #3: Practice prototyping
In league with rule number two, and to emphasize the importance of testing, you need to have a prototyping stage. Skipping that phase in the design process is yet another mistake that can lead to detrimental results. It's easy to put a lot of effort (heart and soul) into a product you believe in.
You and your team may believe it's great. But after it goes live and you find that it doesn't live up to your team's expectations, it may prove stressful.
Prototyping means creating models so they can be tested. At least, if you know something's wrong during initial testing, then you can make changes in accordance and come out with something bigger and better.
Rule #4: Make your designs accessible to everyone
Users come in all mindsets and situations in life. By that, I mean you need to design your websites with full-accessibility in mind.
Don't forget to make your service and products accessible and functional for everyone. It's easy to get sidetracked and focus on making designs beautiful. So right now, remember to never make aesthetics your priority. Pretty and eye-catching design comes second to accessibility and functionality.
Make your design appealing only after you have usable products.
Accessible design means letting users understand, navigate, and use the digital product successfully. Well-designed websites must be perfectly usable for people with blindness, hearing impairments, cognitive impairments, low vision, or motor impairment.
Rule #5: Prevent errors rather than fix them
It is human to err. But something must be said for a designer who constantly errs because he doesn't bother checking anything before the final output is produced.
Errors on website happen whenever users engage with interface. Sometimes they're user mistakes, and in other times, they fail because of the app itself. But whether you think it's the user's fault or yours, present errors impact UX negatively.
Users hate errors, and hate to think that they're responsible for triggering such behavior out of a website at all. Developers and designers must strive to eliminate error-prone conditions as much as possible. Check everything as you go.
Rule #6: Opt for simplicity and consistency
Experts tell us that this is the hallmark of great user interface and paves the road to great user experience.
In the context of digital products, being simple means a website is easy to understand. Interaction with the product is easy. Your users don't have to read instructions to understand how to navigate through the app.
Part of a web developers' and designers' job is to make things clear, subtly guiding the users from one interaction to another.
Interface consistency must also be a priority. In a bid to be creative and to be memorable, many designers intentionally include inconsistencies as a mark of style. But this messes up your target audiences' familiarity with your design.
Imagine how disgruntling it would be for users if they find that the interfaces aren't the same, and they have to adjust to yet another.
Rule #7: UX is not only UI
And last but not least, keep in mind that UX is not only limited to UI. User Interface is a part of User Experience. Swapping the two terms, thinking they mean the same, is a common mistake among a lot of designers.
Understanding the difference between the two disciplines is important. In a nutshell, user interface refers to the space where interactions between products and humans occur.
On the other hand, user experience is an emotional outcome that happens after interactions with a product.
Understanding the basic rules that govern the practices of constructing great user experience can help set you down the right path. And as you move along, knowing what works and what doesn’t, you learn more.
Just remember that UX, as one part of digital marketing, is an ever-evolving practice. The slightest updates and changes to Google’s rules can shift the way you do your UX.
So always be on the look-out for those updates. And never stop learning what you can about web design and what it can do for your customers.