Top UX Design Agency London

Top UX Design Agency London

Monday, 7 May 2018

As one of the top User Experience (UX) design agencies in London, we thought it might be helpful to create an article about UX design. This article will contain information on how we believe a business should approach UX design and the key criteria for a meaningful and successful user experience.

What is UX?

There are many different definitions for UX, if we take the Oxford Dictionary, they state the following. The overall experience of a person using a product such as a website or computer application, especially in terms of how easy or pleasing it is to use.  This is exactly what UX is, creating an experience that is pleasurable, easy to use, meaningful, creating a fulfilling experience for the end user from their interaction with your website.  If you conduct a search on Google, type in ‘what is UX’, there will be thousands of examples, well perhaps a little more, 70 million results were found!

What is the Difference between UX and UI?

This may be obvious to some, but there are a lot of people that are not too sure of the answer to this question.  UX is the acronym for user experience, and UI is the acronym for a user interface, they both are very important to website design in their own right.  UI usually refers to the website interface, and the goal is to make this as simple and well-organised as possible. 

The UI doesn’t have to look incredible for the UX to work.  One of the most obvious examples is Wikipedia, the design is quite basic, however, the UX is excellent and it is one of the most widely used websites, listed number five in 2017, and currently the same position for 2018.

Why is UX important for websites?

Ask any top UX design agency in London, and they should all state that the importance of UX in web design cannot be underestimated, it is not just important, it is vital.  By creating a great UX, you don’t just impress your site visitors, you also create a positive impression for your business.  A study by Forrester Research found that a superior UX can increase conversion rates by 400%. Numbers like that need to be taken seriously and that is why any top UX web design agency will put UX at the forefront of the design process. As a top UX design agency in London, we understand the importance this will have for your business and ultimately conversions.

Examples of Good and Bad UX

It is not my aim to shame or point out any websites that I feel could improve aspects of their UX, so for the ‘bad’ examples I will be generic in their description. 

Before we start showcasing examples, it needs to be added that UX can vary between different end-users.  A broken link we all find annoying, however, some people may like a particular navigational setup and others may find it too finicky.  If you disagree with anything I say, it would be great to hear your viewpoint!

Let’s start with the bad, here are some generic examples.

  • Navigation that is difficult to use and confusing
  • Information overload
  • Poor image selection
  • Hidden or gard to find information
  • Non-responsive design
  • Poor information architecture
  • Inconsistent style and layout
  • Slow load time with poor optimisation
  • Overly complex website design and interface
  • Long forms
  • Broken links with missing pages
  • Too small text or text that clashes with the background
  • Annoying popups etc.

For good UX design, a top London UX design agency should go through a checklist similar to this:

  • Good UX starts at the beginning of the web design process, during the wireframing process
  • The logo might not tell you exactly what they do, however, the website needs to immediately!  There must be no mistaking the core service or product offered.
  • Provide immediate access to call to actions
  • Constant everpresent navigation, no matter where you scroll on the page
  • The menu must be easy to use with minimal layers, the structure needs to be logical and make sense. Every item on the website needs to be accessible with just one click.
  • Have the ability to make contact from any page, at all times
  • Images that enforce what the page content, there is no room for confusion
  • Links that are obvious and follow the same setup
  • Search to help navigation
  • Optimised images with alt tags
  • Keep the website simple, keep away from making it too technical
  • Make the website intuitive, don't make the end user think too hard
  • Conduct usability testing throughout the process and at the end!

Techniques Used to test and help improve UX in websites

Wireframes – Regardless of UX testing or not, all websites should start with wireframing before any design works takes place.  Using Balsamiq, Sketch or a similar software package, it is possible to create a highly accurate blueprint of how the website will look and feel.  Wireframes will help you envisage the layout and structure of the website, you can work through all the interactions and functionality requirements, potentially spotting any UX pitfalls and improving the overall user experience.  Wireframes will not only help with the overall UX, they will also save you development time by creating a smoother and hassle-free design process.

User Testing – This is a technique used to understand how the website actually works from the end user’s perspective.  The design may look fantastic, however, if the website is not functional, it will fail.  There are numerous testing methods listed below:

  • In-house/beta testing – This is when internal staff or selected applicants test the website once the initial testing has been completed. Not only does beta usually testing find new ‘bugs’, it can also increase the awareness of a website pre-launch.
  • A/B testing which is outlined a little later in this article.
  • Expert review – This pretty much what the title says, you pay experts to test the website and provide their feedback with regards to the UX.
  • Moderated user testing – This process involves users testing your website whilst you are observing them and giving them tasks to complete. By observing their behaviour and issues encountered, UX flaws can be discovered and squashed.
  • Use Heatmaps – Heatmaps are a great way to observe website UX, by looking at the findings you can usually locate any ‘pain’ areas.  There are numerous software packages available, some free. Just do a search on Google.
  • Collect feedback – The good old-fashioned way, ask for user feedback via the website, newsletters etc.

Navigation and Structure – Consistency with your site navigation and structure is vitally important, one of the key dimensions to usability is an intuitive and easy to use navigation.  Vital information should be readily accessible, not hidden in the depths of your website only accessible through a maze of confusing links.  Techniques that have been used to improve navigation include:

  • Links should always look the same and be made obvious
  • Make use of Breadcrumbs
  • Limit the number of navigation levels (this is backed up by a study of 100,000 websites by Moz)
  • Location indicators allowing users to know immediately where they are on the site
  • Don’t use confusing categories or headings
  • Provide other options such as search functionality

Interaction – By creating a website that people can interact with, this does not just improve the website UX, it also creates an environment where people are more likely to use your products or services.  This will also create a positive impression, as site visitors are more likely to gain from using your website.  The interaction process could be downloading a document, asking a question, sharing on social media or adding a comment.

Ease of Use – Creating an easy to use, logical website will benefit the overall UX and help convert your visitors into customers.

Understand user Persona – By understanding the persona of your typical website visitor, you can try and build the around this to improve the UX.  This can be achieved by understanding the characteristics of your typical visitor such as their motivations, needs, beliefs, wants, values etc.

Accessibility – By creating an accessible website you are automatically improving the user experience. W3 (The World Wide Web Consortium) define web accessibility as an essential element that creates a ‘high-quality website’ that works for all its visitors, whether you have a disability or not.

Analytics – By using Google Analytics or a similar package, you can help you find what is and what is not working on your website.  There might be a page where visitors are leaving your site or has a high bounce rate.  This could be due to the UX design, and by having analytics installed it can help you pinpoint these pages.

Observation of Users - By understanding your site visitor, you can build the website to meet their UX needs. If your target market is typically aged 60 years plus, then you may want to consider making the text a little larger, use different colours to aid navigation, simplify forms etc.

The aforementioned techniques pretty much sum up what any top UX design agency should be implementing to improve the overall user experience.

If you would like to talk more about your website UX with a top London agency or have any questions please call Michael on 020 8948 5808 or complete our contact form.  For examples of websites, you can visit our showcase.

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