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26 Oct

Designing an Optimal User Experience

Users arrive to a site for the content but they stay for the experience. What follows are two ways design and user experience are closely connected and how to implement those connections on your site.

Design Supports Content

Initially, users don''t arrive to a site for the design, they are there for information. They value content but that content should be presented in a manner that is easily accessible and draws them in for more. The designer needs to provide the user with a seamless experience, one where they can access and engage with the site. The better the user experience, the more likely the user will stay on the site and the more likely they will return. The strategy here is to develop strong content. You can''t design an optimal user experience if the content on the site is weak.

Think less like a designer and more like a user. This means paying attention to site content and designing around what the user values to create an optimal experience from beginning to end.

Sticky Sites

A sticky site adheres to a user''s routine. They keep coming back. According to UX designers Jerry Cao and Chris Bank, the way to adjust and continuously improve the user''s experience (and thus create a "sticky" site) lies in monitoring the user response to the site. In other words, you''ll have to get to know your users and research their online behaviors. They suggest, "If you have an existing product, reviewing analytics, heuristics, content, product context, and user tests are also quite helpful.”

After analyzing user experiences with the content and existing design, Cao and Bank highly recommend keeping up with that analysis after implementation. They state, "“continual, data-driven product improvement is achieved through measuring and iterating the offering in production, using performance dashboards and analytics."

What About Apps?

This post has focused on traditional websites, but if you are thinking only in those terms, then you are missing a huge segment of the user population. More and more users access information via apps and not simply webpages. What makes for an optimal web page user experience does not always transfer over to the mobile experience.

Fortunately, the two strategies discussed here are useful for mobile app development as well as webpage development but remember that the overall content and design of a website should be reevaluated for mobile use

For information on other design strategies for your website or app, please contact us.

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