When it comes to creating websites, many clients do not realize that just having a nice design is not good enough. A nice looking website may attract users, but then will be quickly abandoned once it causes a frustrating experience to them.
It is no different from picking a book with a nice cover to find it boring or hard to read or from meeting a beautiful person who turns out to be difficult to deal with. If a client thinks only about their business goals and neglects user needs, their website would become less appealing to visitors – no matter how many cool features it has or how beautifully it is designed. Even marketing and SEO won’t solve this issue.
There’s a saying that it’s easier and cheaper to keep existing customers satisfied than to attract new customers. According to the Customer Service Institute, “65% of a company’s business comes from existing customers, and it costs five times as much to attract a new customer than to keep an existing one satisfied.”
Often clients ask to have their website designed without discussing their site objectives first. Content is often an afterthought, and so are user experience, usability, accessibility – they make a strong foundation for a user-friendly site. It is important even for a small and simple website.
Jesse James Garret illustrated the UX components very well in his The Elements of User Experience book that are required to create positive experiences. As he explains, visual design is just surface – something that can you see. Below is user-centered design process from concept to completion and from abstract to concrete:
- Strategy: User Needs / Site Objectives
- Scope: Functional Specifications / Content Requirements
- Structure: Interaction Design / Information Architecture
- Skeleton: Interface Design / Navigation Design / Information Design
- Surface: Visual Design
We actually need to start deep down below the surface with the content and figure out how to make it easy to use. Content is said to be the king, and there’s no question about it.
There are 97% of websites that fail at UX and accessibility and cause frustrations to users, and developers spend 50% of time fixing issues that could be prevented if UX analysis had been done from the beginning.
Below are slides of Trevor Van Gorp who says that visual design is just a tip of the UX design iceberg and a great illustration of Giraffeling to describe that concept.