UI/UX Design

UX Tips for Websites and Apps anybody can use: Round 2

Nathan Allsopp
November 1, 2017
User Experience, come to me.

UX (User Experience) doesn’t need to be scary and complicated. In my last article, I told readers this and provided a few simple ways to allow anyone to help craft great experiences.

I was pleasantly surprised with awesome responses from those looking to step-up their UX game to the next level. So, without further ado, here’s tips and tricks anybody can use to boost their website or app’s user experience — level 2.

1 — Wireframe designs before any designing happens

Wireframing involves designing your product’s “skeleton” interface, using only basic items such as lines, shapes, words and boxes. This is a crucial element of many comprehensive UX processes and is where a UX designer’s knowledge really shines, as they can’t hide behind anything pretty. The focus here is on why and how the interface is shaped the way it is. Wireframes often focus on the layout of information across numerous pages, where information is placed on a page, various key user flows, placement of buttons and more.

Many often think that wireframing sounds difficult, but it doesn’t need to be difficult. Start with a pen and paper (or choose from a vast number of online tools), and sketch out what you have in mind. Consider whether the placement of information makes sense to you, let alone any other users. Show friends your wireframe and see if it makes sense to them.

2 — Run UX reviews regularly as the product changes and grows

Crafting a great experience is never a one-time effort. The dynamic nature of many products means you constantly need to review the UX of new and already existing features. Focusing only on the experience of new features is a surefire way to let the overall experience you work so hard on slip away.

3 — Craft useful empty states

Many people focus on the state of designs and products assuming that information already exists. In an ideal world this is great, but back here in reality most of your busy tables, cards or graphs will start off without any data. The good news is that, with enough thought, these states present a great opportunity for boosting key metrics by encouraging user input. Plus they help keep users occupied on an otherwise boring screen!

What can you consider? Identify the key action you want users to complete and consider creative graphics, messages, tool-tips or so on to encourage users towards that action. Look at what other creative solutions are out in the wild for inspiration here.

4 — Count the number of taps or clicks to complete various flows

Typically, people are wired to find the maximum return from the minimum effort. If your key flows take too long to complete, users will get annoyed and are unlikely to be returning users. As a product grows and changes, the amount of clicks or taps to complete an action can balloon if unchecked. Ensure that, as changes roll in, you keep an eye on how long your key flows take to complete and optimise them accordingly.

Consider booking an Uber. Booking a ride, at its shortest, can take me three taps once I’ve logged in and added my payment method. If I had to add my payment details each time, the experience would take much longer. And I’d probably get annoyed and tweet at Uber to stop such madness!

5 — Focus on data and users, less on the “unrelated know-it alls”

User Experience is a field prone to input from everybody thinking that they know it all. I can’t count the number of times I’ve heard seniors in unrelated business functions say “Change A to B because B is great UX”. I call these people the “unrelated know-it alls”. The truth is, nobody knows everything about UX — not even those claiming to be the best. Why? UX is contextual. Something that skyrocketed key metrics in one product won’t necessarily do the same in another.

The key to making a great experience is focusing on data and user feedback. Most of the time, letting the numbers and voices do the talking for you is a great way to create a kick-ass experience. A sharp rise in a page’s exit rate from 45% to 90% after your boss insisted on a huge change is a great way to let the numbers talk for you instead of having a debate.

6 — Only show users information when they really need that information

We live in a modern day world of information overload. We are bombarded with more information than ever from the moment we rise to the moment we sleep. As a result, many people are actively looking to reduce the constant overload we face every day. At its simplest, your product is just another source of information. Many will seeks ways to consume the minimum amount of information for the greatest return. Providing only the necessary information at the right time is a great way to help users achieve this in a minimal fashion— find what they want quickly and without feeling totally overwhelmed.

Consider a Weather app. Most people use such an app to typically answer a very specific question — tell me the temperature at X. Bar some, most people won’t care much for air pressure or visibility at that time. They just want to know what to wear that day. This is a great example as to why Apple’s Weather iOS app hides such details below the fold — because most people don’t need that degree of information, so why bombard them with unnecessary information?

You can also find this article on my Medium page here

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