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User experience is a very important topic of discussion while designing a product that is expected to be meaningful and intuitive to the users. The users generally don’t like to go for any other alternative until they feel unsatisfied with the current product they are using.
An ineffective or bad user experience may be a probable reason for this unsatisfaction.
What is User Experience?
A good user experience enhances user satisfaction with a product, which can be accomplished by optimizing the usability, accessibility, and pleasure of the user while using the product.
This process involves adopting the user’s perspective and thinking about how easily a first-time user will be able to use the product. It is considered from design an icon to the animation when a user initiates action by clicking a button.
Various components can be considered while designing to improve the user experience. A good UX is one that lets a new visitor on a website or an application navigate it without anyone’s guide or assistance.
Nowadays, websites use user-friendly loaders to keep the user engaged while the website is being loaded so that they don’t feel like wasting their time.
What is a Bad User Experience?
Sometimes when we operate a website, application, or any product and it just does not work the way we want it to and cannot operate; we want to. Such incidents make the user feel frustrated, as they don’t understand what went wrong, why a certain thing is not happening. And this frustration increases exponentially with time. All this is because of a bad UX.
A badly designed user interface makes it difficult for the user to operate the product, and sometimes out of confusion, they end up performing an action they didn’t intend to.
Sometimes, a good visual is confused with a good experience, but that’s not always the case. An object on the webpage may look very attractive, but if a user finds it hard to operate, then that’s a bad experience.
Ways to Increase User Experience
1. Call to Action Clarity
A website needs to allow users to easily access the features or actions they want, or what the website’s owner wants them to access.
The user experience improves greatly if it is easy for a user to perform primary operations. At the beginning of the project, the developer and the owners should discuss and categorize the primary, secondary and tertiary features.
The primary features are the main business of the website or software it is being built for.
The user interface should be designed in such a way so that the user can easily recognize the primary call to action button and relatively the secondary and tertiary.
The objects that urge or invite users to take some action should be included on the UI.
2. Visual Clutter Reduction
Users have a limited amount of mental energy that they can devote to a product. So a user interface with so many visual elements will exhaust the energy of the user soon because the user will not focus on the important elements. This has a very negative impact on the user experience.
Many visual elements on the page make it difficult for users to find what they need and hence they feel frustrated. The user finds it hard to choose what to go with.
Along with being short, the text should not be confusing or unreadable and should clearly explain what it means to say. The text size can be reduced by preventing usage of the same keyword in a paragraph up to a level where it starts irritating a user.
It is also said that a picture is worth a thousand words. So it is preferable to use graphical elements like icons in place of text to meet the purpose.
4. Utilise the White Space
A lot of empty white space on the screen reduces the visual impact of the user interface on the user because it feels like the UI has not been completely developed or developed without interest, and the user forms a negative opinion about the website.
Even from the client’s point of view, it may seem that the developer has been lazy and had not performed his task effectively.
The borders and lines can be removed, which limits the boundaries of an object on the screen. Maintain enough space among the object so that users can recognize them as individuals and operate on them.
5. Optimize the Website Load Time
When users click on a website, they want to use it in the next instant. No user ever likes to wait for a long amount of time to let the website load completely. A website with a long loading time makes users hesitant to use it, and they try to find other faster alternatives.
Load time is a very important metric when it comes to ensuring a good user experience.
Load time of a website can be optimized by putting the minimum number of elements on the page and removing every unnecessary thing from it. The user experience is considered good if the UI is guiding the user in the right direction.
Even if not necessary, a static page instead of a dynamic one and a simple design style in place of a complex one can help in resolving the issue.
Every object on the screen should be optimized to its maximum extent. For example, the excess stuff on the image can be removed, and the lighter images can be used, thus the target device can easily load which makes the user feel like he is not wasting his time waiting for it to load.
You can check if there is some issue in the hosting or your setup and take corrective measures to reduce the load time and user experience.
6. Map the Hierarchy and the User Flow
It is highly recommended that the hierarchy of a project should be planned properly before starting to design the project. This practice gives more clarity, as the designers know where they need to start and what the screen should be to be included in the project.
It also helps in determining the design of the links between the screens. It helps promote a better user experience as websites or applications designed in an organized way improve the user flow.
This hierarchy can be picturized on paper, AdobeXD, or any other tool to meet the purpose.
7. Easy Navigation
Ease of navigation is a major part of website or application design that plays an important role in offering a good user experience. Many of us might have experienced sometimes that while navigating an application, it is hard to find out how to go back from the screen to the last page or home screen.
In such situations, where a user feels stuck, a back button or a close icon can drastically improve the user experience, and the user will feel that the application doesn’t leave them to wonder as to how to exit.
There is no use in designing a great user flow if the user itself cannot access it. The navigation should be simple, easy and accessible, so that the users can be saved from feeling lost, confused, and unable to find what they are looking for in the software. This will help help to keep users stick to your product for a long.
8. Feedback to User
It is always beneficial to provide the user with the feedback that the action they initiated is being processed, and soon it will be completed.
Just think about using an online shopping application. You want to purchase a product, and you clicked on the ‘Buy Now’ button, but it seems nothing is happening. The screen looks the same way it was looking before clicking the button.
The users will feel confused and panicked even if the processing is taking place. This has a very negative impact on the user experience.
So it is always recommended to put elements like a loading button or hover effect to the actions that take some time to load, as it keeps the user feel engaged and be patient with the application.
9. User Testing
Another way to improve the design of UI and UX is to have the user’s feedback on the prototype, which with some modifications could be the final product if the test users accept it.
User’s feedback will let you know what works and what annoys them. The loopholes detected in the prototype can be fixed in the final product. A product built according to what users like and want will be better optimized to offer a good user experience.
9. Social Media Sharing
You will lose a lot of potential customers and traffic on your website if you do not allow your current users to share your application’s or website’s content or pages on social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, or even WhatsApp.
It would let you connect with new users who probably have never even heard about your product.
10. Use Appropriate Images
The images used in the website should not be placed without any purpose. Every image should have a purpose, and it should be of enough quality to serve that purpose.
The images should clearly portray the message you want to deliver to the users, whether it be about the products, services, or location.
A bad quality image or video leaves a very bad impression of your product on the user experience. It would be best if you find a balance between the quality and size of the image, which increases the visual impact of the UI and does not significantly increase your website’s load time.
11. Some Other Practices for Improving User Experience
The speed of a website is one of the essential components that contribute to the effectiveness of the user experience.
The design of the UI should be such so that the users can easily find what they are looking for. A menu button can help the user reach the desired category page. Creating categories help users in making their decisions quickly, and these categories should be easily accessible to them.
It is also important to optimize your product to be searchable on the web. Along with that, blog pages also help in bringing traffic to the website. So it should be easy for users to access your blog posts that share information about your product, services, or any other information to entertain your potential customers.
Ensuring a good and comfortable user experience while using your product is very important for its success. A usable and accessible product that is easy to navigate and understand makes it more reliable for the users to stay with your product for a long time.