by Grace Everitt
If you’re getting ready to launch an e-commerce store or another kind of website, chances are you’ve run into these two abbreviations: UX and UI.
What are they, and are they even important in the first place?
The answer to that second question is a resounding YES! UX and UI are both critical to your website’s success. In order to understand why, let’s start at the beginning.
What is UX?
UX is shorthand for “User Experience” or “User Experience Design” and it’s a concept with many different dimensions and definitions. At its core, UX is the process of designing products (digital or otherwise) that are useful, easy to use, and bring delight to the user.
UX dictates the experience that a consumer will have when they’re interacting with your product. Good UX helps consumers see more value in what you’re offering. Poor UX can cause frustration and confusion, and perhaps even lost sales.
Let’s take a website for example. UX covers things like:
- Is it intuitive to navigate?
- How long does it take to load?
- Are action buttons positioned in logical places?
- Can visitors easily find what they are looking for?
What is UI?
UI is an abbreviation for “User Interface” or “User Interface Design.” If UX is the actual internal experience that someone enjoys when visiting your site, the UI is how they enjoy it--through screens, buttons, pages, colors, sounds, fonts, images, and more.
According to Usertesting.com, “UI designers work not just on computer interfaces, but mobile phones, augmented and virtual reality, and even “invisible” or screenless interfaces like voice, gesture, and light. Today’s UI designer work[s] on websites, mobile apps, wearable technology, and smart home devices, just to name a few.”
A cornerstone concept of UX/UI is understanding what your customer wants and then giving them exactly that. Take Google’s hyper-simple design. Google knows that visitors are there for one thing and one thing only--information, delivered quickly and cleanly.
Also critical is knowledge of your customer’s pain points, either through user research or tracking software, and then avoiding them.
You might be wondering “Okay, so why is UX/UI important?”
That’s because bad design can cost you. If your website is difficult to navigate, customers may become irritated and frustrated. Not only are they less likely to complete a sale, but your brand may also be perceived as unreliable, unorganized, or untrustworthy. Yikes!
Let’s look at one of the examples listed in the beginning: page loading speed. If a page is taking too long to load, you risk losing the user’s attention and they’ll click out of the page. Just think about the last time a site took more than a second or two to load for you. How badly did you need to see that content to hang around?
- 47% of consumers expect a web page to load in 2 seconds or less
- 40% of consumers will wait no more than 3 seconds for a web page to render before abandoning the site
52% of online shoppers stated that quick page loading is important to their site loyalty
What does good UX/UI design look like?
If you’re more of a visual type, here’s a perfect example of great UX/UI design from The Interaction Design Foundation:
How would you feel if you were trying to park in busy downtown Los Angeles and had to de-mystify these signs? How long would it take you to figure out if you could park there?
This is the definition of information overload. Brooklyn designer Nikki Sylianteng decided to think about it more creatively from the user’s perspective. If you were pulling up to this spot, you have only one question: “Can I park here, yes or no?”
Here’s her ingenious solution:
Nikki opted to use color as a commonly understood symbol in Western culture: green means “yes” and red means “no.” To take it one step further, she added the symbology of stripes for those who are colorblind. She also opted to structure the information in the format of a table, making it easier for users to search for information.
How’s that for great design?
Fortunately, you don’t have to be a UX or UI expert to have a great site. Tako Agency specializes in developing and designing beautiful, user-friendly sites that work. Shoot us a message to find out how we can help.