How to design a good user experience?

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Tips for improved user experience when designing a site or system

User experience or UX is today in every company’s vocabulary. And everyone wants to create great UX, of course. Is it easy done? How are you aware if the user experience is good?

There are some important aspects if you want to give your users a great experience on your site. But there are no exact rules or “perfect process” to do so. Experiences are individual and to create an experience for other people (our users), we have to look at our site from the users point of view.

We often have a tendency to look for the perfect process, the process that will fix all problems. We tend to concentrate on the process. When we work with UX, we need to focus on the people, our users. Our sites and systems should be designed to solve problems, not create additional problems.

This might sound obvious, but how do we succeed if experiences are unique? It’s not possible to satisfy everyone, is it? You just have to start with your goal and your market: who are your customers/users? You can do a great deal for a great user experience and it all starts with your users.

To find out about what your users need or expect from your site you need feedback from them. When you design a site or system or maybe make improvements, as soon as you have something to test or show make prototypes! You can use online tools like:

All tools above have pricing plans but you can try them for free. I prefer InvisionApp, but all tools above are rather easy to use.

I do prototypes to get feedback on many things: navigation, layout, functionality, how the site “feels” and so on. You can make several prototypes to check different things. If the goal is to get feedback on navigation and functionality it might be enough with handmade sketches, you do not have to make perfect drawings of all details for that. You save time and can move on developing extra things for your site.

I know it can be hard to take time for prototyping but I have worked in web projects and system development projects where we have spent numerous hours correcting things when the project is done. Things that our clients weren’t satisfied with. It has ended up as an expensive experience for us and some irritation of the clients. With an iterative design and development process you can avoid this and get closer the expectations when it be the time to deliver.

If you do your own website, I think you can save time and have more returning users if you ask for feedback before you publish your site for the first time. It might be feedback on your design (layout), market or usability. I written about usability testing on this site in an earlier post, read more in the post “usability testing on your blog“.

Usability is important for the user experience, so is beginning with the users and to work with continuous improvements.

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17 Replies to “How to design a good user experience?”

  1. Hi LindisAker, great post describing the important of User Experience. I am totally agree with you. User Experience determines the success of a website.
    I would like to know the step by step how to design a website user friendly. Any suggestion?
    I will check out the links you recommend for more information and better designing of user experience.
    Thanks.

    1. Hi and thank you! To design a user friendly website there are some things to keep in mind: Who is your users? Why are they visiting? Can they find what they are looking for? To find out you need to do some usability testing. You can involve people you know and set up tasks for them to complete on your site. If you observe them you will find out if they can navigate easily, if the purpose of the site is clear and to on. The key is to start with the users, not with you, and to test with users.

  2. I was just thinking about this sort of thing for my own website and finding this was quite timely for me. I love the recommendations and your other guide you have on testing it out on your own.
    What would you say is the biggest mistake people make when designing a site that inhibits the UX?
    Thanks,
    Ethan

    1. Hello and thanks for commenting! Glad to hear that my site might be for some use:) Biggest mistake is to just focus on functions, layout and content without having the readers (users) on their mind.

  3. Your post on designing for a good user experience was interesting. It was very nicely formatted and easy to read.

    I had heard of user experience; but never heard it called UX. I like that you say we need to ask people what their experience is with our site so that we will know how to rearrange or change it.

    I had no experience and no plan when I started. I learned as I went and by trial and error. I’m still not satisfied with my design; although I am reasonably happy with my content. It has evolved to something much broader than I thought it was going to; but it still targets my niche, I think. I am trying to decide on something for a brand or logo and I’m having a little trouble with that. Maybe I’m too particular.

    Thanks for a good post.

    Jeannie

    1. Thank you! I guess its important to know a bit about what users want on your page, and a way of doing that is to find out what people are looking for, which keywords they use and so on. When someone visit a site they decide quickly if they are going to stay and read or leave, and that is where UX and usability comes in. The content is an important part to keep users on the page:)

  4. This is definitely a work of someone who knows what they are talking about.

    I mean thank God for WrodPress if you ask me but i sometimes i wish i knew more about designing. Because there are huge market opportunity in the niche waiting to be tapped.

    You article explained a lot about UX and if i may ask what is the best tool to recommend for someone who is starting fresh with a new client?

    1. Thank you:-) I guess there is not one special tool for designing websites that are better than others, for design I use paper and pencil, Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop, Invision App to create prototypes for user testing. WordPress is as good as any tool if you like to work with themes and avoid coding. The important thing is to try to think from your users perspective, and the best way of doing that is to involve users in the design process.

  5. I definitely agree that user experience or UX is an important process for developing any website. At least, if they want people to stay and read their content.

    Your advice on UX being thought of before publishing is something that many websites seem to lack, for I’ve seen so many that fall short. Instead of thinking of what their users would want, these sites cram irritating ads and pop ups all over the first page you go to visit…often causing the site to “jump” and skitter all over the place as you’re trying to read the very first lines.

    This is very annoying, at least to myself, and I end up clicking out of there as fast as I can!

    Using a prototype is a great idea… I’ll have to check those tools you’ve mentioned out sometime. I haven’t tried any of those before, so I’m glad you’ve mentioned them. As you’ve pointed out, It certainly would be great if more website owners would view their own sites through their users eyes. Making it easier for visitors to not only read the content, but also to navigate around it too should be the top priority of site owners.

    Thanks for sharing such helpful info about the user experience and how very important it is to think first of your visitors!

    1. Hi and thanks for your comment. You mention something important here: you leave when you have problems on a site. And many of us do. Even if we create blogs with tools like WordPress it is possible for us to think through things about users need, their experience with our site, and why they visit. The content should be easy to find and we should provide ways to contact us or subscribe. Even if work with tools that creates our sites there are things we can think about and the most important thing are our users.

  6. I will definitely check the links you shared. Thanks for very useful and informative post! User experience is such an important process for developing any website. I learned a lot!

  7. I love it when a website creates great user end experience. Thank you for the great tips on how to create better user experience. After all, they are the ones who are going to buy from us. I agree that a website should be organized, so it’s intuitive and easy to follow for readers. Love the message you are getting across. Really enjoyed reading your article.

  8. You have covered a very important topic. Gaining our users’ perspective can go a long way to improve the look and feel of a website. I am very new to this field; are the products you have recommended very technical? I would get discouraged very quickly if I were to use one of those and found it to be too difficult. In one of your other articles, you wrote about testing our blogs for usability. The methods you described there seem like a better fit for a newbie. What is your opinion? Thanks for your help!
    Kathy

    1. Hi and thank you for commenting! The tools for making prototypes are rather easy to use, in my opinion, but I haven’t let someone not experienced try them so it might take some time to learn.

      But I think that the tips about user testing on blogs are better suited in this case: https://moreusability.com/usability-testing-on-you… I wish you all luck with your blog, what is it about?

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