17th April 2019
Fundamental Concepts of User Experience Design
From UX to UI to SaaS to SEO. There are just so many letters when it comes to web design! But don’t worry, we’ve got you sorted with this quick guide to web design terminology.
You might have read about the term on our other blogs or heard web designers using the term, but what does it actually mean? UX is a buzzword in the design community and it stands for user experience.
User experience is simply the way that we experience a product, service or system.
There are lots of instances where you might hear a web designer or web agency talking about ‘UX’. Below we explain each of these terms:
User experience research is often carried out before making any changes to a pre-existing website. Web agencies will carry out an analysis of your website by looking at journeys that your users (based on your most popular demographics) are likely to take. There are many websites that can help to analyse this data, the ones that we use the most being Google Analytics and Hotjar.
UX design is the process of designing products, both digital and physical, that are useful, easy to use and generally delightful to interact with.
UX and UX design does not just refer to web design. Any product ranging from a ketchup bottle to an online service needs to look at their design from a user’s perspective.
By prioritising the user’s needs over personal preference and aesthetics this will ensure that whatever it is that you are designing, be it a digital or physical product, will be successful and popular with your desired customers. Think about it like buying a present, if you are buying a present for a relative, you should buy something that they are going to love using, rather than something that you yourself love. In an ideal world, something that fits into both categories is perfect, and this is something that web designers try to achieve when designing a website!
UX auditing is important for anyone who is looking to make changes to their website but is not sure how or what needs changing. Web agencies will carry out what is called a UX audit to help you improve your website. Carrying out an audit includes reviewing a set of goals that the website is trying to meet such as product sales or email sign-ups. At Angle, we also look at the user journey and come up with ways that it can be simplified so that more conversions can be made.
You can see how we would carry out a UX audit here:
UI stands for user interface. This is the part of the website with which the user will interact with. Therefore, UI design is the process of making interfaces in software with a focus on looks and overall style. Designers will try to create an experience that is simple and well thought out. Typically, (especially in web design) UI refers to visual, graphical user interfaces however it could also include other types such as voice-controlled interfaces.
Try not to confuse UI design with UX design! UI design is more concerned with the surface and overall feel of a design, whereas UX covers the entirety of the user’s experience. You could think of UI as being one part of UX.
Image: Koenig Solutions
Search engine optimisation (SEO), another infamous web design phrase that gets around. SEO is the process of optimising a website so that you rank highly on search engines which in turn should increase your websites visitors. UX can have a serious impact on that search engine ranking.
Search engines always want to give the best result for the query being asked, this doesn’t necessarily mean the best answer but also the best experience. Even if you have the best content on your website and provide the best answer to the query, if your website is messy, hard to use or has poor interaction design then search engines won’t rank it (or not very highly).
Search engines look at much more than content when ranking a site, they also take into account elements such as speed, mobile-friendliness, content structure, internal and external linking and user signals such as bounce rate and exit rate. They try to grasp how humans experience a site, if people appear to have a positive experience then this will increase your rankings.
CRO stands for Conversion Rate Optimisation. This is the process of enabling users to complete a specific action when they visit a website. Whatever you consider as a conversion depends on the specific goal of your website as it could range from an email sign up to a product sale. In web design, CRO is the process of improving and modifying a webpage to increase the chances of conversion, for example by making the user journey more simple by making your call- to- action buttons stand out.
SaaS stands for ‘Software as a Service’. This refers to a service that is provided over the internet (or on the ‘cloud’), rather than say being installed on a computer. Typically, you will need a web browser to access SaaS, however, the benefit of SaaS is that it is easier to maintain the software for multiple users as applications are accessed from a remote server rather than individual machines.
The content of the website can be anything from your contact details to your product descriptions to the white space on the website. Web designers make sure that your website includes all of the content that you require, whilst making sure that it is logical and doesn’t give the user a headache!
Something that can often be forgotten about but is in fact vital. Essentially, it is how accessible your website is for people with disabilities. There are many ways you can keep accessibility in mind in web design, for example, you could include disability guides, simple copy and larger icons on your website to help with navigation.
We hope that cleared a few things up! Remember, there is always learning to be done and improvements that can be made! If you have any questions about web design or our services you can check out our other blogs, services page or contact us directly!
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