A great user experience is not just seamless, it’s stealthy. It can draw your user into a positive experience without them even realizing that they’ve signed up for the ride. And at the end, it converts them into customers and sends them on their way with a positive feeling about your company. UX isn’t just about graphic design. It’s about structuring your website in a way that lets the experience unfold. Here are a few simple tips to keep in mind when updating your UX.
Don’t be too flashy
You want your website to impress users, but users just want to use your website. A good UX is lean and efficient. It delivers only the necessary information, in small doses, at the right moments.
A lot of rookies get over excited about having cool graphic design elements, but remember–the best design isn’t there to impress your customer; it’s there to make the experience easy for your customer. In fact, having too impressive design elements can obscure what is is that you really do best.
The best design is invisible. It showcases your company’s strengths instead of its own. So the first thing a user thinks when they land on your home page isn’t Wow, what great design! It’s Wow, what a great widget company!
Your design should be localized. Remember that not every audience is the same, and different markets around the world will respond differently to your content–that includes colors, textures, patterns and line. So find a good localization service to help translate your visual and written content.
Use Only a Handful of Simple Graphics
Let’s say you’ve partnered with high end brands, but you also do low profile projects that leave more room to flex your creatives. You want to display the full range of your abilities, but too much info overwhelms. A wall of buttons that covers the screen screaming “AND we do this, AND we do this, AND we do this…” will send your customers running for the hills.
Why? Because it’s information overload. Don’t make it hard for them. Break down all your services into a more digestible hierarchy. This is a simple matter of organization. Instead of sacrificing this or that piece of information, try just reorganizing into broader groups.
A handful of simple icons or menu items, say for the 6 most broad categories of services you offer, will be way more effective than sixteen more specific ones. These 6 clickpoints will guide the user deeper into your website, where you will add information little by little. They’ll be learning about your company without even knowing it.
After a pleasant browse, they’ll emerge as from a dream, unaware that your seamless UX has delivered a payload of valuable information about your company to their minds–information that will turn them into customers.
Tell a Story
That information has told the user a story. It had a beginning, a middle and an end. The user might not even realize this. In fact, all the better if they don’t. Like good design, a story well-told doesn’t draw attention to itself. Effective UX walks users through a story without them even knowing it.
This part’s tricky. Web copy that starts with “Our Story” can come off as hammy and precious. Dose your information in a way that sparks curiosity. In moviemaking they say you never show the monster in the first reel (think of Jaws–you don’t see the shark until the end). People go to the movie to see the monster. But if you show the monster right away, what incentive does the audience have to stick around?
Your ‘monster’ is the full picture of your company’s powers. An “Our Story” page kills the experience because the user doesn’t have a reason to care. Consider these two examples:
All over the world, people are struggling in widgetless environments.
UNICEF supplies 2,000 widgets per year, imported from overseas widget mills. But they never seem to get the job done.
Cheap widgets break, attract tigers, and are easily lost. What’s the point?
But now there’s a solution.
Introducing the Anti-Widget. (This is where you reveal the monster!)
Based on cutting edge technology, the Anti-Widget removes the need for a widget before it even arises.
Thank you, Anti-Widget.
That’s a story that has a beginning, a middle, and an end. It builds anticipation, delivers a reveal, and concludes with a positive message about your company. Compare it to this:
The Anti-Widget started in 1994 when I had a dream of opening the biggest, best widget factory that the world has ever seen. I grew up in a remote corner of suburban Los Angeles where our access to widgets was limited, so I always knew what it was like to want widgets. Then one day I decided to quit my boring day job once and for all to pursue my dream of widgetcrafting. I developed the Anti-Widget, which serves underwidgeted environments by implementing cutting edge technology to remove the need for widgets before it even arises. In places all over the world people are struggling without widgets. But with Anti-Widget technology, we can help them. We opened our first factory in Des Moines in blah blah blah blah blah
At this point (if not after the first sentence) the reader is thinking why am I reading this? Who cares? And they’ve moved on.
With a subtler storytelling technique, your user stays engaged with your interface every step of the way. They’re receptive to the payload and moved by your message. That’s the power of good UX.
When you sit down with your UX team to design your future customer’s experience, keep these three simple rules in mind. You’ll know when you’ve nailed it because your friends and family–and even yourself–will be enthusiastic about how simple and clear the interface is. They might even become ambassadors of your company without realizing it and convert some leads for you! Thank you, Anti-Widget.
Brian Oaster is a Content Writer at Day Translations. He has worked all over the world as an arts educator, English teacher, basket exporter, rare book dealer, fortune teller, and as the first mate of a private sailing yacht. Educated in the visual arts and an avid reader of news and literature, his focus is on international arts and culture, world religions and global politics. Follow him on Twitter @brianoaster.