user experience vs design - example of good environmental design

User experience vs design – how to integrate user testing?

Happy New Year. I hope that you had a relaxing summer holiday. Are you feeling refreshed for the year ahead?! I am wishing you all the very best of everything for 2017.

I saw this great image the other day, that I thought might illustrate the importance of User Experience vs design.

user experience vs design

It sums up what can happen on your website, if you don’t engage in user testing and design for user experience.

Knowledge is power – analytics and user data

Obviously, the more you know about your customers and their behaviour online, the more powerful your website design can be. Websites should be integrated with powerful statistics reporting. This allows you to see what pages in your website people are viewing. And how they are interacting with your website.

Bounce rate is the percentage of people who press the back button when they reach your site or a page on your site. Bounce rate is a very useful statistic. It tells you whether your customers consider your website or landing page relevant to their needs.

It is possible to measure and monitor bounce rate as well as other important metrics through Google Analytics. This can be added to your site using a code snippet generated by Google.

User testing

To ascertain how useful and user friendly your website is to your potential customers you can engage in testing. It can be achieved with a small budget. And can help us to see areas of your website that are not working.

The process for this is to watch users similar to your ideal customer, achieve certain tasks. You can see them interact with the website and have them narrate out loud what they are doing with your website. This allows you to see the flow of interaction on the website and areas that may not be working so well.

It is not particularly helpful to concentrate on subjective assessments of your website, such as colours or fonts. But if there are areas on your site that typical users often stumble upon, that would be good data to inform a redesign of your website.

How do I integrate user experience design into your website design?

Another helpful way to gather data about user experience vs design is to get ideal customers to engage in a card sorting exercise. This determines a logical and user friendly navigation and information architecture of your site.

I do this with a few different people who are similar to my client’s ideal customer. I also ask other ideal clients to comment on the design of the information architecture and the labelling of content areas.

Something that makes sense to you, might not be readily understood by your ideal customer. So it can be good to check your assumptions. Testing your design with people not otherwise involved in the project can achieve this.

User experience vs design

As shown in the photo above, people will interact with their environments in ways that designers did not expect or plan. People will try to achieve their objective in ways that are easiest and make sense to them. It is important to design your website so that people do not get frustrated and give up and leave your website. The best way to ensure this is the case, is to engage in testing. This ensures that your ideal customers can easily achieve their objectives on your site. And leave with the impression of a positive interaction with your brand.

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