Digital worlds such as websites or mobile applications truly are a form of art. And just like any other, they have the power to evoke emotion and inspiration in visitors—one of the hallmarks of great art. Well-crafted user experience can motivate users to engage, share, sign up, purchase and more. Here, we’ll outline some of the steps you can follow to create one.
Focus on functionality, not appearances
While you may have visions of building an extravagant website or mobile application,, what visitors ultimately care about is how easy your app is to use and navigate. For this reason, you should be laser-focused on user experience. As Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of Amazon, once noted, “The number one thing that has made us successful by far is obsessive-compulsive focus on the customer as opposed to obsession over the competitor.” In web and mobile application creation, this approach takes the form of developing captivating functionality, centered around the needs of your site visitors—always with an eye to accessibility and user-friendliness.
Reduce the noise
Imagine how you feel when visiting a website with dozens of disorganized pages. It can be overwhelming, puzzling and exasperating. One of the key attributes of all well-crafted user experience is simplicity. Avoid clutter and reduce the noise by limiting the number of buttons, links and animations on your site. These elements can be distracting. The more to the point and digestible your content is, the easier it will be for users to focus on what they want to accomplish. Visitors to your site will appreciate clarity and organization.
On a related note, another top priority should be ease of navigation. Unclear navigation leaves users lost and unsure where to go next. Just because a particular app architecture is effortless for you to navigate doesn’t necessarily mean that your users will have the same experience.
To make your site easy and usable, focus on simplicity (there’s that word again) and consistency. Changing the structure and design of your app across pages—or over repeat visits—can frustrate users. For this reason, it’s best to pick one design and navigation approach and stick to it.
Use a universal page design
When building your app, keep in mind that not all visitors may be as internet-savvy or fluent in English as you are. For this reason, you should ensure that your website functions universally across all platforms, browsers and devices. The site version that appears on mobile devices should mirror what users see on their desktop. For mobile devices that may not automatically adjust to the desired site type, be sure to include a feature for visitors to opt for a desktop version. Also, your website should look the same to users on Chrome, Safari and Firefox.
Choose your color scheme wisely
Color scheme is a critical aspect of user experience creation. Different colors have the capacity to tap into user psychology and stimulate certain behaviors. For example, restaurant websites and apps often use shades of red, which are believed to stimulate hunger. Hospitals, on the other hand, tend towards blues, which are thought to foster feelings of loyalty and trust. Think about what you want your customers to feel when they visit your site and do some research into the types of colors that can help generate those emotions.
Another important consideration is picking website colors that support accessibility. Accessible sites require certain levels of color contrast. Color-safe is a useful tool for determining web-accessible color palettes and other design elements.
Use your words
Words have power. The tone and voice you use on your web and mobile app will deeply impact your ability to connect and build trust with customers, as well as differentiate yourself from the competition. Think about your objectives, your audience and the key messages you want to convey to them—then choose your words accordingly. Also, stay away from using jargon, acronyms or abbreviations that your visitors may be unfamiliar with. Use simple, direct language, and spell out or explain anything that might be misunderstood.
Another good rule of thumb is to avoid large blocks of copy as they are difficult to read on-screen, both desktop and mobile. This can sometimes get tricky as you focus on SEO for your site by adding relevant keywords and phrases. It’s possible to write clear, strong copy while still prioritizing SEO, but it takes strategy and thoughtfulness.
Bring your vision to life
As the famous Mexican painter Frida Kahlo once said, “I paint flowers so they will not die.” While this concept can be applied to many aspects of life, in user experience design, it’s all about the vision you create and keep alive. This means perpetually innovating to engage users and give them rich, evocative experiences. To ensure that your app is performing as desired—and meeting your users’ wants and needs—it’s a good idea to establish website goals and keep a close eye on analytics. Then, use this data to inspire ongoing innovation and improvement.
Though it’s virtually impossible to build the “perfect” web or mobile app, if you focus on simplicity, functionality, consistency and performance, you’ll be well on your way to creating your own work of art.
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