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Principles of User Experience Design

UX is an abbreviation for User Experience. You may have heard it referred to as User Interface Design. In recent years, the trend has been to move more toward UX, as it is a more comprehensive approach to design than it’s predecessor. UX takes into account more than just the science and engineering of design. It includes psychology and philosophy of design as well. Creating a great experience for users takes time, and effort. Some of the simplest principles are often forgotten or overlooked. Try to keep these things in mind during your design process.

Give The User Some Space

Remember that people on your site are there to get something done. Do not put things into your design that will distract or deter them. They need to have a clear path to follow. Help them complete tasks quickly and without restriction.

Less Is More

When my wife and I go out for a meal, the larger the menu, the longer it takes for her to make a choice. People need fewer choices, not more. Get rid of the things that are just “nice to have” and focus on the necessary elements for your user’s success only.

Your Users Aren’t Multitaskers

Most people aren’t. They like to focus on one thing and get it done. Make sure that tasks on your site are designed to be completed one after the other and not two or more at the same time. This will help the user stay focused and in the moment.

Layout is Very Important

How close related objects are to one another, the ease of completing common tasks, the colors, the fonts, column widths, size of images, and a host of other factors all combine to create a great layout. Be sure to give the most crucial elements on your page the greatest prominence.

Always Point the Way with Cues and Signposts

Make very sure that your users never get lost while on your website. Use signposts to point them in the right direction. Remind them of where they have been and where they are going.

Don’t Confuse Them With Your Words

Using industry jargon, company speak, or insider lingo is unwise. You want clear, concise, common language for all of your content. Remember, your site is for the user, not you.

Efficient Site=Happy Customer

Make your site as efficient as possible. Combine tasks when you can, provide preselected options, and create fast loading pages. This will allow your user to get much more done in a shorter amount of time, and they love that.

Help Your Users AVOID Errors

If you know a certain action will result in an error for the user, either fix it or redirect their path so they can avoid it. Being proactive will help the user avoid frustration. Make sure that actions are reversible in case the user makes errors…after all, NO ONE IS PERFECT!

Tweak Their Emotions

Making a site that is easy to use is one thing. Making one that is a pleasure to use it quite another. Try to incorporate warmth, whimsy, wit…anything that will make the user feel more engaged and energized.

Be Consistent

Just as it is true in Search Engine Optimization, writing content, blogging, marketing, promotions, and virtually every other facet of your business, consistency is of extreme importance when designing the user experience. Everything should fit together. This includes links, images, terminology, action buttons, everything!

UX Is A Dialogue, Not a Monologue

Be sure you get feedback from your users on the design of your site. If they tell you something is wrong, fix it right away. If you can’t, let them know you are working on it and that their feedback is important to you. Everyone wants to know that their voice is heard.

Now, these are just a few basic principles I have gathered from research and experience. There are literally thousands of tips, tricks, and guidelines for UX out there. Still, if you follow these basic principles, you should be able to produce a site that keeps them coming back again and again!

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