The world is shrinking more and more each day as our digital lives become more entwined and connected to the web. We use our smart devices to connect to the internet more than we use our desktops. Indeed, our internet experience has become more personal than most of us might have anticipated.
Our search engines know all about us: what markets we order from, what brand of petrol we buy, and what banks we visit online. Advances in something we call UX makes this personalisation of our web experience possible and increasingly important by the day.
(Photo credit: Flickr user jennychamux)
1. What is UX web design?
In a nutshell, UX web design means “user experience” design. It refers to the process of improving a consumer’s web experience and, by extension, their loyalty to a business.
UX aims to improve the user interface, making it easy—and yes, even pleasurable—to carry on the online interaction with the business.
2. OK, but what does that look like? What are some everyday examples?
Have you ever noticed when you are online that the adverts in the sidebar reflect the products that you recently bought or reviewed online? That’s not by accident. Your reflected shopping list is personal to you.
Inclusion of the list pleases customers because it’s like your computer is your personal shopper, doing your shopping for you—or at least finding similar items which might spark your interest, based on past buying behaviour. Or the adverts might remind you that you looked at a few items but did not checkout your shopping cart selections. In this way, businesses reach back to you to try to convert the sale.
3. How does UX do that?
The simple answer is twofold: websites collect and remember information about your visits through your login ID and/or cookies. Your personal information saves to cookies and, every time you visit that same site, the site collects new information.
There are many factors that can aid in making your visits more personal. Information may include what you searched for and what keywords you used; whether you searched from your desktop or from your mobile; who referred you to the website; and the date and time of your visit, how long you stayed and how often you come back. With these pieces of information, the site can serve up more personalised content, products, or even shift design elements to cater to your preferences and past behaviour.
In addition, retailer websites remember your buying history (and you thought that was for your convenience!) and your location, especially if you allow GPS to determine your location. Of course, shoppers also leave footprints that indicate age, gender, and other personal information with every click. Some customers may turn off all their cookies, but many of us appreciate the personal touch.
4. How do designers plan for this when they design a website?
Designers have access to some of the personal information during the design phase. A login, for example, that connects through a social media website already has the pathway to begin data mining.
Just think about it for a minute. Facebook knows who your friends are (at least the ones on the same network), your location, interests, and habits. We voluntarily divulge all that information on our Facebook page. So the data mining pathway opens up once you connect to another website through Facebook (or Instagram, Google, etc.).
So product analytics, data aggregators, and loyalty programs all have access to the same personal information once you log onto their sites through social media. Having a good sense of who you are and how you take in information are valuable titbits when building framework for an easy, straightforward user experience on a website or mobile app.
5. How does mobile use UX?
One thing websites do to make the most of the mobile experience is to map from the user’s current location. This definitely makes the user feel special and like their needs are being addressed, while making the experience pleasurable and helpful in finding nearby stores, restaurants, or services in the user’s area.
6. How does a website deliver custom content to visitors?
Take a page from Netflix’s customer service. Netflix allows multiple users to set up their own individual user profiles under the master account.
(Photo credit: Flickr user Wesley Fryer)
This means that Netflix can deliver specific content to each user in the form of suggestions, reflecting the viewer’s expressed likes and dislikes and ratings for a more pleasant, personal viewer experience. This is the ultimate in personalisation techniques. Further, parents of all stripes certainly appreciate the ability to keep adult video fare off their children’s viewing profiles. (Plus, children feel special that they have their own list of interesting kid videos and telly fare!)
A win-win for all, affecting the current customer as well as grooming the future generation of users.
7. So does all this mean that emails & newsletters are a thing of the past?
Not at all. Newsletters and personalised emails are another way to make that connection to customers all the rest of the time that they’re not directly interacting with your product, website, or service. Brands that connect their apps and websites to newsletters and other emails that bear information of particular interest to a customer will reap the benefits of staying top-of-mind and the customers feeling that personal, thoughtful touch.
Content for Web Design
You’re a designer or developer and not in the business of writing. In fact, you might write rubbish. Or, you could be a brilliant writer but have no time to keep a company blog running or whip up content to fill your customers’ newly-designed websites.
So, where can you turn for content for web design to stay relevant, nudge your customers to launch your service or app, have links to share in your emails and newsletters, and establish thought leadership as a web design or UX shop? We hear that BlogMutt’s a real lifesaver.
Have you some questions you’re wondering about? Submit the form below, we’d love to get in touch.