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What is UX Design? Defining & Explaining the Process

If you design for the web, you know how important it is to design for the user’s experience.

User experience (UX) is a component of web design that can make or break a business’s ability to impact a prospective customer online.

UX is not to be confused with UI—user interface. UI is another piece to the web design puzzle that helps impact the overall experience, but it is mostly focused on the design of the page, or the interface of a digital product.

Think of a website as a product. If the product is built without the desired customer’s needs and behaviors in mind, it just won’t stick. Beyond the aesthetics, it has to work in the way they need it to.

In this article, we’re going to strictly focus on UX and how to design for it. Once you’re ready, check out the video here, too, to see how Jose and Chris prep a website design project by starting with UX.

What is User Experience (UX)?

User experience (UX) is the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the user and product.

UX mainly focuses on research, user behavior, business goals, and process. UX designers typically provide sitemaps, wireframes, and user stories (customer profiles) to the UI designers.

You can usually tell the difference between a good experience versus a bad one. A bad user experience neglects the user’s needs entirely. It’s confusing, disjointed, and far from personable.

A good user experience gets the user from point A to point B easily and without friction. They don’t have to keep clicking around a site to get the information, product, or service they’re looking for. They also know right away whether the site they’re on is going to be of any help.

Know Your Users

In this specific case, we’re calling ‘customers’ ‘users’ since they are users of a digital product like a website.

You don’t have to go to a meet-and-greet to find your target users. You can determine who they are with a few simple questions.

Just like in a brand strategy session where you would map out customer profiles, you’d do the same for your users. If you’re building a website alongside a client, you can also include them in this process. There are three things you need to define:

  • Their pain points
  • Their story
  • What solution(s) you can offer

Users are coming to a website because they’re looking for something in particular that can help them with a specific problem they’re facing.

Let’s say you’re designing The Futur’s website. A user profile you would create would look something like this:

  • John Doe, age 28
  • Freelance graphic designer
  • Wants to learn how to make more money with his design work, earn bigger projects, and learn to negotiate

Now here are a few solutions you can offer to John. With The Futur’s site, you’d include specific sections about your mission (to help 1 billion creative entrepreneurs), courses and resource material on topics like negotiating and pricing, and educational content.

Once you’ve mapped out an ideal user profile, create 2-4 more. You want to stick to between 3 to 5 profiles so you don’t stray too far from the ideal user base.

Design Around their Objections

When we talk about user-centered design, we mean designing in a way that is focused on their needs and behaviors.

All users are going to have the same three objections coming to your site

  • Is this for me?
  • Does it work?
  • What is it exactly?

You can answer these objections with copy and hierarchy of information.

Usually in the top section of the website—the hero—is where you answer that first question, is this for me? This lets the user know right away whether the site is going to be of good use for them.

You’ll answer how it works with testimonials and empirical data, and explain exactly what it is you do or are offering to knock out that last objection.

And above all, make sure your value proposition is clear throughout the site. Clearly communicate how your business offers the solution users are looking for

Ready to Get Started with UX?

Crafting a good user experience comes with research and planning. UX is much more process-based and is a crucial element to web design.

Now get out there and build a great website! And check out the video above to learn how Chris and Jose plan and architect a user experience.

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