Simple ways to create a great user experience for digital.
There are a lot of ways that you can enhance and upgrade your digital prowess. Here we will explore some easy and simple ways to improve your website or apps’ user experience so that people are engaged, and love using your service.
I have the attention of a goldfish when it comes to browsing the web, it often feels like my ability to retain interest in a particular subject online quickly fades like flour through a sieve. Countless times I’ve completely forgotten why it is I’m on a particular website, and then inexplicably how I find myself scrolling through Instagram. The original mission I set out on, a distant memory.
This might sound familiar, maybe you’ve had similar struggles. We’re not alone. According to a 2015 Report from Microsoft Canada the average attention span is down from 12 seconds in the year 2000 to eight seconds now. Our attention span is a finite resource these days, which is sadly becoming rarer by the day. Just like a precious endangered animal we should strive to look after it if we’re fortunate enough to capture it.
With this article, I hope to give you some pointers on how to get the most out of the visitors you have to your website or app.
Get to the point.
Keep it simple. Be clear. Ultimately your goal is to communicate effectively to your users. It used to be the case that if somebody didn’t understand your website they would usually blame themselves for not being technically minded. Those days are long gone now, people expect, and rightly so, that a digital product is clear and easy to navigate.
When it comes to written copy, remember that less really is more, and I know the cliche alarm bells are going off, but this really is cliche for a reason. It is timeless advice.
Everything online these days is screaming for our attention. ‘Like’ this! Share this! You must read this! As mentioned before you’ve not got a lot of time to say what you need, so be as concise as you can. Users want the information that they are looking for in the simplest and easiest way that they can digest it.
Good copy can easily get buried under a poor layout. The same information offered up in a different format will yield vastly different results from your users. Hardly anyone is going to start at the top of the page and read every single word until they get to the bottom. They’re going to scan to find the essential information, so make your page rapid-scroll-friendly™. Provide users a visual that is easy on the eyes, no small print or hard to read fonts. Make sure the colour of the text is high enough contract with the colour of the background so that it doesn’t strain the eye.
Speak to the user.
A common mistake is assuming that your digital product is clear because you understand it inside-out. When we get too close to our own product it seems unimaginable that somebody else can’t understand your brilliant and innovative ideas. Walk it through as if your talking to someone who has never encountered any of the of the things you are talking about. Talk to who you are aiming your message at by addressing them as “You”. It’s a simple technique that will make users feel like you are talking to them.
Design for the user.
Beautiful aesthetics are essential and features can be magically intricate in functionality, but if any of that complexity spill outs into the use of the product, It can be immensely frustrating for users. It’s tempting to design to your own tastes and preferences, but your taste may not necessarily align with your users’ needs or expectations. What you’ll find is that just because something makes sense to you, it make may not necessarily make sense to the person that will be using it.
Imagine your designing for a toddler.
A lot of my friends have recently had children, It’s amazing how quickly they understand how to unlock their parent’s phones and tablets. Good design is intuitive, the design shouldn’t get in the way of using the product. By making buttons and other inputs bigger the interface automatically becomes easier to use. Use colour to as an instructional tool. Simple colour coordinated sections make it much easier to understand how elements relate to each other. If you were designing your product for a toddler you would want it to be easy to understand and follow a linear path, making it difficult for them to get lost or confused when navigating around.
Charming aesthetics and functional animation.
Every good user experience is rooted in great design concepts. It needs to look good and be appealing to the target audience. The first time somebody interacts with your digital product you want to assure that person, you want that perception to match the quality of service that you offer.
Since we are visually driven the impact of good photography only increases relatability to the story you are telling.
Use functional animation to hint the navigational flow of the Interface, we are naturally drawn to movement. If Incorporated at the right time and used tactfully, good functional animations can help the user understand better your message.
Become the User.
There’s this great old clip of Bruce Lee speaking adaptability in martial arts:
“You must be shapeless, formless, like water. When you pour water in a cup, it becomes the cup. When you pour water in a bottle, it becomes the bottle. When you pour water in a teapot, it becomes the teapot. Water can drip and it can crash. Become like water my friend.”
I love this. This metaphor fits perfectly with the mindset that you need to adopt to really understand the circumstances by which user engages with your product. They haven’t been to all the meetings about the user journey and may not be as well verse in the fine art of mobile navigation.
Are they browsing? Shopping? Booking something? Watching video? Trying to complete a task? Looking for specific information? It’s the our job to look at the entire experience with fresh eyes and new enthusiasm to make sure that your users’ needs are met.
The more conversations you have with the end user the more you’ll understand how they use your product, including the good bits and the bad bits. Their feedback this will give you a better idea of how to address their issues.
Write descriptions with FAQs in mind.
How do you do this? Where can i find that? Anticipate questions and seed within your descriptions to avoid future headaches. Anything you think is obvious, write it down step by step. You want your copy to be as clear and easy to follow as possible. Think about the kind of questions a user may have about your product, or better yet, ask the people who are using your product.
Don’t make them beg for information.
How infuriating is it when you have a task you want to complete but what you are looking for is hidden within a menu, within a menu, within a menu. Good Information architecture is the foundational work that goes into designing an intuitive navigation scheme. Your digital product’s navigation should make it easy for users to find desired information or actions. Prioritise useful information and CTA (Call to actions) on each page.
The difference between a great user experience and a horrid one is in the details. How you communicate and how you user visitors. If you have a point to make, make it, as quickly and simply as you can as attention is at a premium. Speak directly to your users through active voice, refer to them as ‘you’, it will feel to the reader as if you are talking to them directly, which is what you are trying to do. Design with the user in mind, try to think about what will benefit the person who will be using your product. Make your interface easy enough to use that a toddler could understand what they are meant to do. Aesthetics can charm your users and animation can guide them. Empathy can be a great tool for understanding your users, observe how they use your product and ask for feedback. Put the important information upfront so user don’t have to go digging to find it and write your copy with the intention of answering common questions ahead your customer having to ask.