These days, everything is online. If you don’t have a website, you don’t have a business. And it can’t be just any old website – it has to be a great looking website that works with all internet-enabled devices. Partly for this reason, and partly for the other benefits they offer, many businesses have built apps to provide customers with improved usability and design. Whether or not you need an app is a blog for another day. (There are some arguments for in this article, and some against here.) Today I wanted to use our knowledge as app designers to talk about user experience and aesthetics and why we think you should design around your customer.
What is UX?
User experience or UX is how well something – usually digital technology – does the job it’s intended to do. So, if an app is reviewed as having a seamless user experience that basically means it is easily navigable, intuitive in its use and layout and effortlessly functional. There’s no pain on the user’s part in getting the app to perform as intended. Though aesthetics do have a major part to play in ensuring a seamless UX, having a beautiful app doesn’t guarantee a good user experience (though research suggests it may take people a little longer to realize that the experience is bad).
What is UI?
UI stands for User Interface, which refers to everything about the technology with which a user can interact. UI is more to do with the look of the thing than the actual framework – therefore good UI doesn’t provide a good UX. However, due to the relationship between form and function, it may be that a good-looking app that performs poorly will initially rate almost as highly with a user as an ugly app that performs well. People are often guided (or misguided) by appearance.
Form and function
Clearly the ideal is for a beautiful UI with a well thought-out UX – a great-looking product that also does the job for which it was created. Though the construction of a website or app is predominantly the remit of technical engineers, and the look comes down to the design team, there is a lot of marketing insight going on here in terms of the structure and content that also makes it a marketing department responsibility.
I’m a designer by trade, so I’m not going to try and school you in customer analysis or jobs theory, but what I do have a few simple website design tips:
- People don’t mind scrolling, so don’t feel you need a new page or tab for everything. Mobile users are used to scrolling through their social media feed. In fact, scrolling is often easier on a mobile device than navigating through pages.
- When it comes to clicks it’s not so much a question of the number as it is the ease. People would rather perform 5 easy clicks than 3 difficult ones. Focus your site design around your customers and their experience, rather than any mythical guiding principles. You know your user-base best.
- On a small screen, white space is more important than ever. Take advantage of the long scroll and spread things out. Bear in mind, using fewer layers and images often means the screen will load more quickly.
- Clarity will win you more friends than wit. Menus littered with inside jokes will be difficult for new customers to navigate so it’s always best to be clear and descriptive when you’re aiming for that seamless user experience.
We designed our app to offer a very intuitive user experience and a sleek, professional layout that all our clients can be proud to show their customers. The whole point of a Sales Enablement app is to make it easier for salespeople to find and share the sales collateral marketing has provided for them.