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Top 5 Tips For Creating An Engaging User Experience

One of the biggest elements of a successful webpage or application is the ability to engage users which is why we wanted to share our Top 5 Tips for creating an engaging user experience.

Attracting and retaining customers is something that is still elusive for some sites and apps and we strongly feel that a big part of that is because they are missing important elements found in a good user experience, or UX, design.

It’s like driving a car, sort of

Let’s think about the UX concept for a minute, but from a different perspective away from a computer or device.

For this exercise, let’s think of it like getting into a car.

Most cars have similar aspects, such as American cars have the driving console on the left, the gas pedal is the right pedal, and so forth. From there a really good car design will incorporate features that are in common locations people are used to so that they intuitively can figure out functions and then they add new features in convenient locations that make sense to the driver or passenger.

But what happens when an American driver sits down in a European car and everything is backwards to them? Or when a new car design like the Prius was introduced? Confusion, irritation and annoyance are often the emotions new users feel as they try and master something they think they should be able to use, but can’t because of the odd configuration.

This is why we always design for the best user experience, to avoid those negative emotions.

5 Tips for an Engaging UX

  1. Always Design for the User – When the internet was young and new to the world there was no set standards. People created websites as a reflection of their own needs and personalities more than anything else. Since those early years standards have been created and although they are not enforced by the internet police, they do exist from a UX perspective. Users easily become frustrated when a website or app doesn’t work “like other sites” or doesn’t allow them to accomplish what they have come to your site or app to accomplish. When you design for the user, you place yourself in the user’s shoes and aim to always meet their needs. What will they be doing? Why will they be doing it? What will their emotional state be when interacting this this? If your site offers divorce advice you can expect people aren’t going to be happy and excited. Use this concept to shape every decision from how to complete tasks and what content should be located where.
  2. Always Do Complete Research – So how do you know what you are supposed to create? From the design side we aim to have serious, in-depth discussions with our clients to understand all of their wants and needs. If you are trying to understand your own clients the same holds true; talk with them via forums and such to understand them. Before you start the design process you want to have the most complete and accurate picture possible. Next check out the competition and see what they are doing, both success and failures. The more data you have, the more information you have to draw ideas, expectations and conclusions even before you get to the testing phase.
  3. Love the White Space – The term less is more should be a motto that everyone embraces because these days it seems like humans have a goal of cramming information into every open space. Why? Why clutter up the world in this manner with excessive noise and distraction? Sites and applications need to reduce noise and input to not confuse or distract so that the user can accomplish what they want to accomplish, or what you want them to do. Users want simply, straightforward, fast and easy consumption of information and navigation options. Less is more!
  4. Design for Kids – More than likely your target users aren’t kids but why does your design need to be overly complex just because it is for adults? One great thing about successful toy lines for children is that they are intuitive and easy to use. More designers should look at what Leap Frog and similar companies are doing and take a page out of their book. Larger buttons, larger sliders, big input fields and the like are made for kids who are learning how to use technology, but you know what? That concept works great for adults too because not everyone has the same level of tech-ability.
  5. Focus on Types of Users – One aspect of marketing that bled over into design was demographics. People would and still do design based on a demographic idea of a user. An example would be men who are 30 to 35 that make $40-50k per year with a house that is primarily a tablet user at night. Does that really define the user from a design perspective? No, that is more of a marketing perspective. Instead look at users based on the actions they will perform. For example, are those men gamers or newsreaders? Are they shopping at night or just browsing while killing time? What are they actually trying to do on your site or application? Looking at users this way can be much more insightful and useful rather than just considering them from the marketing demographic of a user.

Any great website or application while be great for a number of reasons and a good UX design is right at the top of the list which is why it makes sense to incorporate some or all of our 5 tips for creating an engaging user experience for your next project.

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