When it comes to web design, it’s one thing to make a strong first impression with a site that’s easy on the eyes. It’s another to make a good-looking site that’s easy to navigate, easy to use, and functions with a specific goal in mind. If it’s the latter you’re after, then it’s UX and UI you need.
Before we go any further, let’s get one thing straight: UX (user experience) and UI (user interface) are not at opposite ends of the spectrum. UX and UI are two sides of the same coin, and one without the other won’t buy you much of anything.
UI focuses more on the aesthetics of a website, while UX focuses more on functionality. UI is how you navigate a website, while UX is why you navigate a website. While having the best of both worlds under one URL might sound like a breeze on paper, the reality of the matter isn’t so easily obtained. After all, web design trends come and go, and if you let visual appeal of your site overshadow your reason for having one in the first place, you’re not exactly helping your cause.
So, how does one strike this highly sought-after balance?
In this day and age, every business needs a website. However, it’s one thing to have a site that simply exists and a site that actually works.
Ask yourself: What do I need for my business to thrive?
If you’re running a non-profit, the answer might be donations. If you’re running an e-commerce site, sales are probably paramount. Whatever the need, make it front and center. As much as you may enjoy admiring every page of your site, the more time your customers spend clicking through your site to do what they came they came to do, the more likely it is that they’ll leave to go somewhere else.
Good UI grabs your customer’s attention. Good UX keeps them there.
The reign of the desktop is fading fast, and if you’re not designing your website for mobile users first, you’re going about it all wrong. No matter the size, no matter the device, good UI and good UX is custom-fitted to your customer’s screen of choice. By designing your site for mobile first and then building it out for desktops, it’ll also help you keep your business goals at the forefront once the creative juices start flowing. Because once the design process gets going, it can be hard to pull back on the reigns.
Like we said, the most important part of the design process is to keep your eyes on the prize. Good looks only count for so much. That being said, good looks don’t hurt either.
Great examples of UX and UI are the kinds of things people remember, the kind of things they want to tell their friends about, and talented designers are always coming up with new ways for people to navigate and engage with a site. From bold uses of imagery to reinventing the scroll wheel, if you want to stand out, you’ll want to keep up with the Joneses.
If you want the perfect marriage of UX and UI, it can be a long road from the drawing board to the keyboard. But, rest assured, it can be done, and it will be worth it. After all, you’ve already got a website, why not make it work?