User experience design, or UX, UXD or UED, is a web design and development principal that places full importance on design practices that are centred around the user. This involves using specific techniques that aim to result in a design that adheres to the common behavioral practices of the intended target audience of the website. Good user experience web design should meet both the goals and desires of the users, as well as the goals of the company or entity behind the website.
The user is the central concern when it comes to UX. It greatly assists designers and clients in working together when it comes to making changes and new developments to a website. When both parties agree that the design should focus on the user, personal preferences can be put aside in favor of a more common sense and logical approach.
Rather than coming up with a web design that simply looks pretty, as can so often happen when a new site is designed either with or without input from the client, a UX design approach means that the design comes together based on the problems that have been identified in the planning and research process. This means that the overall purpose of every aspect of the site should be considered and thought about in detail before any aspect of the design is undertaken.
Conducting research on the user is therefore the very first step of user experience web design; well before Photoshop or any other design program is even looked at, and before aspects like logos and color schemes and other items are considered. The real goal is to research who will be using the website, why, and how they will use it to achieve a particular goal or goals.
Undertaking research on the intended targeted audience of the site is the very first step in a user experience web design process. Aspects to consider about the users include:
– Who the ideal users of the website will be
– What the user demographics are (for example, their age, location, interests and so on)
– How technical the users are when it comes to navigating and using specific website features (for example, shopping carts and search functions)
Remember, the term user experience refers to, at its most basic, the way a user feels about their experience; in this case, when they are using a website. The goal then of user experience web design is to make that feeling a happy, fulfilling, satisfying and stress-free one. E-commerce websites are particularly suited to being designed with a heavy user experience focus, since it is the actions of the user, from the moment they land on the website until they reach the checkout process in the shopping cart, that will determine whether that user finally hits the payment button.