The concept of user experience has become a commonly touted term in the digital landscape. Everyone wants to ‘improve their UX’ and offer users a great experience on the web. Good user experiences means that a website provides value, that it is easy and pleasing to use, and that visitors actually want to use it.
With this field quickly gaining ground, there are a lot of myths and gaps in knowledge that we wanted to address here:
1. User experience and usability are not interchangeable.
User experience and usability are not the same thing, though one can be an important factor in the other. The fundamental difference is between the experience and the functionality: user experience means that someone wants to use it, usability means that a person can easily use it.
A good user experience means that visitors enjoy browsing a website, but that doesn’t make the site usable. In fact, some websites offer great user experience but fail in their usability. What’s most important is balance.
2. UX design is expensive.
Too many companies believe that doing user experience properly means integrating full-time UX support throughout the design process. Of course, a full UX team is great in the ideal situation, but those circumstances of rare. It is better to do some UX than none at all.
Set aside a part of your budget for UX and prioritise where UX will make the most difference to your project. UX experts can help with concept development, fine-tuning the project, or user experience testing prior to launch.
3. Good user experience is about minimalism.
It’s true that cognitive load makes humans tired – compiling and analysing information is a process that uses a lot of energy. It follows that a minimalist design should help reduce cognitive load and increase the amount of time that users spend on a site before they get tired.
This is true up to a point: humans also crave information, often more than we can process at one time. To reconcile these two opposing facts about human cognition, it’s important to offer the right information. Don’t make users search for information that can be made more obvious but don’t overload them with information or decisions to make either.
4. Users want to feel safe.
Security is still one of the major reasons why visitors don’t make online and in-app purchases. Customers are afraid of having their data stolen when shopping online, which is why they are more likely to use websites they know and trust to make purchases.
Trust signals and familiarity are an important aspect of good user experience design: the more robust they are the more comfortable customers will feel on your website.
5. User experience projects offer excellent ROI.
Charlie Claxton, the Chief Creative Strategist at UpTop, gave us this spectacular statistic: Every dollar invested in UX yields a return between $2 and $100. He has led design projects for major brands like Amazon and Expedia, so he certainly knows about UX design and conversion optimisation.
User-centered design helps you avoid common mistakes that are made during IT projects. If the UX project is an improvement project you can measure the ROI based on new sales or conversions; if you’ve engaged a UX professional in the development process, you can calculate cost savings through time saved and increased productivity of the project.
6. User experience theories are based on scientific research.
Many people argue that UX design is just common sense and others believe that it can be picked up by reading a book. In fact, UX is based on 200 years of scientific research and 30 years of applying that research.
Research from the behavioural sciences influences what UX designers know about how humans carry out tasks; psychology and cognitive science provides us with data on how people think, what we are motivated by, and how we process information. Industry best practices come from academic study and experience – it’s just recently the term UX has entered the everyday lexicon.
Don’t underestimate the usefulness of user experience design – it has a longstanding history that can be used to improve your website and increase conversions for your business. It’s all about knowing how and when to employ a UX professional to get the most out of your budget.