A good design aims to solve a problem; beauty is simply a by-product

By Will Morris, Managing Partner at Alchemy Digital

If you’ve ever had any discussions about websites, then there’s no doubt that the concepts of UX and UI will have been flouted. Rather than being considered industry buzzwords, these two aspects are critical in the developments of a website – but what exactly are they?

The User Interface (UI) is all the relevant components of a website contributing to the User Experience (UX) of that site. If the site has been carefully implemented with the correct UI tools, then the resulting website will offer a seamless experience for its users and maximise its effectiveness for that particular brand.

Essentially, effective UX and UI is achieved by understanding a problem, and finding a solution to tackle this. Whether a user is reading, learning, sharing content or purchasing from a website, all these actions must be considered for. Great design comes from a site’s ability to create bespoke paths and a flow of relevant information that enable users to complete those actions, while fulfilling business objectives.

While both UX and UI are distinctly different – without one, the other simply cannot survive. Unfortunately, this has led to a raft of people thinking they can do a designer’s job. But website design (and development) has a structured and tactical way of thinking about a brand; it’s not painting by numbers. Good designers have the skill to faultlessly transfer the presence of a brand to an online domain. Other designers tend to run off the premise that the ‘prettiest’ websites are those with the most elaborate of bells & whistles and complex configurations.

For example, take a website filled with lovely pictures of hip people doing hipster things and having a much better life than anyone using the website. The user might think it looks great and aspirational, but if it’s not supported with real, dedicated content that’s relevant to your brand then you’re going to see high bounce rates. On top of this, if the images used are so large that it’s causing the site to load at a snail’s pace, then users will not be sticking around long enough to see your amazing website.

An interesting study by Kissmetrics found that just under half of consumers (47%) expect a page to load in just two seconds or less, with 40% of people abandoning a site after taking more than three seconds to load. You’re playing with fractions here and for every one second lost due to page delay, can cause a 7% reduction in conversions. There’s only a tiny window of opportunity to reach your audiences. Do not pass this up.

But there is perhaps a more human element that some designers tend to overlook. A website needs to be responsive and intuitive to its user’s needs. With growing number of users visiting websites through handheld devices, ask if your site easily accessible – and is it made for the thumb? Is your content appealing to the right audiences? Is there actually a thought-through strategy, or a journey that you want to take the user on? Understanding these concepts and ensuring ease of navigation, whichever platform is a must to yield an effective UX.

A responsive and intuitive website is critical for ensuring your users get the most out of their visit, and your brand gets more conversions. If you’re looking to better harmonise your UI and UX, then give us a call now to let us show how this winning combination can help achieve your business objectives.