User Experience Design: Improve with Best Practices

Anna RubkiewiczJune 11, 20209 min

The Key to Launching a Successful Product

It’s a proven fact that UX design can make or break a business by heavily impacting its customer loyalty levels. In fact, according to PWC, 82% of top-performing businesses admit that they prioritize usability across their digital touchpoints.

By taking your audience’s experience and opinions into account, you can raise their satisfaction levels and increase sales of your products or services. These are metrics that you can actively improve by surveying your audience and researching their preferences.

In the following article, we discuss several best practices to improve the user experience and share examples of rich user experience design implementations.

Improve user experience

What is User Experience Design?

In the most simple terms, UX design is the process of increasing user satisfaction and making sure that the services you provide to your customers genuinely deliver value. This is often measured through metrics like mobile app use, the number of returning visitors, conversion rates, and others.

User Experience Designer & Information Architecture pioneer Peter Morville does a great job of explaining UX design by breaking it down into 7 key areas, known as the UX Honeycomb.

7 key areas

Source: Semantic Studios

According to this theory, the quality of user experience design lies in the following qualities: usefulness, usability, desirability, accessibility, findability, credibility, and value (for the business and its sponsors).

That being said, let’s now see how you can improve the digital experience for your service.

UX Best Practices - How to Create a Good UX Design?

An effective UX is all about catering your design process to your audience so that they feel confident and comfortable while achieving their end goal. What’s more, if people find your user interface design easy and satisfying to use, they will be less likely to leave you for a competitor.

Below we share several top UX design best practices – whether you’re an interaction designer or a product manager, make sure to cross them off your checklist.

Understand who your audience is

Any UX design program should start with gaining an intimate understanding of who your current and potential users are. There are several methods for learning about their needs and expectations including by running surveys, talking to them directly, and collecting insights from analytics software to identify their mental models. You should always make design decisions by looking at your product through the eyes of your users; ask yourself, “what are they trying to get out of using our product?”

Here are a few questions you should aim to answer in the discovery phase of your product:

  • What problems are users looking to solve?
  • How can this product address their goals and needs?
  • What makes people choose this product over competing solutions on the market?

Seek simplicity and familiarity

Have you ever visited a website with completely different graphic design principles than what you’re used to? Perhaps it doesn’t have the typical hamburger menu, or there aren’t any tabs at the top. Odds are that you got frustrated, and you might have even left the site altogether.

Your audience doesn’t want to relearn how to use an app or a website, so it’s your job to not completely reinvent the wheel when it comes to user experience design. Rely on known behavioral patterns to design solutions that your users are familiar with. Simplicity and familiarity in your designs and core features will help your users achieve their goals faster and more efficiently.

Observe how your users interact with your design

You can’t know what to alter or improve unless you know what the user experience is truly like by user testing. Conduct session recordings or in-person usability testing to find out about the kind of physical interaction a target user has with the design that you’ve created.

What do they like, what do they struggle with, and how can you make elements of your design more intuitive (and thus create a faster, more efficient experience)? If you want to observe how your users interact with your website or service, sign up to LiveSession for free.

Make sure the entire user flow is consistent

A user flow shows all of the steps that someone has to take to achieve their goals. When you consider how a user will move throughout your website or app, you should ask yourself:

  • Do they achieve their goal in the end?
  • Do they encounter any interruptions along the way?
  • Are there any steps that could be simplified or omitted altogether?

User journey mapping is one way that you can narrow down any underperforming areas in user flow and address it in your finished design, eliminating any common misconceptions you might have had about certain visual elements by making assumptions rather than analyzing data.

User Flow Design

Source: UXdesign

Prioritize readability (and accessibility)

The text you display in your product needs to be legible and promote maximum readability, which means how easy it is for the reader to understand what’s written. While you may have text that is grammatically correct, that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s easily readable. Aim at making it easy to understand for a wide range of human users by using familiar language.

Depending on whom your product is targeted at, you should also consider accessible design ideas that extend beyond the screen – for instance, by creating a voice user interface (VUI) for the visually impaired or other such solutions for people with disabilities. If you wish to explore this further, we recommend taking a look at the accessibility guidelines described on the Interaction Design Foundation site.

4 User Experience Design Examples

The biggest companies often lead the way in positive user experience design. Just think about it – if they are able to dominate the market and become global favorites among users, there must be something to their design thinking and business strategy.

That being said, UX design doesn’t only apply to big companies or brands. It just means that they’ve done a phenomenal job of putting emphasis on user experience design for their products, and it’s proven successful. If you’re currently looking for ways to better your company’s position and achieve your business goals, good UX design can help you connect with your customers and foster brand loyalty.

Below, we share 4 of the best UX design industry examples.

1. Google Search Engine

Google just had its 23rdbirthday on September 27th, 2021. Today, it is by far the world’s largest search engine with over 3.5 bn searches made daily. If there’s one secret to Google’s search engine success, it’s UX design. All you have to do is type an inquiry into the search bar and hit ‘Enter’. Before you know it, a wide range of hits matching your inquiry pop up.

Google example - autocomplete

Source: Hackernoon

As the simplest and fastest search tool ever created, customers know exactly what to expect. In the past 20 years, Google’s home page has varied little in its design, only getting simpler if anything. Thanks to removing unnecessary links, even new users won’t get confused about what to do. Click, type, and search. It’s about as easy and familiar as it gets.

2. Facebook

Facebook was launched on February 2, 2004 from a Harvard dorm by Mark Zuckerberg. Today, there are over 2.7 billion monthly active users. Learning how to create a good UX design for all of these users has been challenging for Facebook, but they’ve risen to the occasion.

Over the years, they’ve added new features about users’ locations, languages, interests, activities, potential friends, groups, and more to help them connect with their network. As they’ve added more features, they’ve improved their customer experience design process and the value they offer as a social media network.

Facebook example - navigation

Source: Techcrunch

Every few years, Facebook’s dedicated team of industrial designers also updates its interface to ensure that it’s serving its audience effectively.

3. PayPal

PayPal was officially established in December 1998 as Confinity, which developed security software for handheld devices. However, with little success in that field, it switched its focus to online wallets as digital products. Its first version was an electronic payments system launched in 1999. Today, PayPal is the most trusted and secure online payment method.

PayPal example - summary

Source: Opayo

However, the platform was complex before they released a redesign of both their websites and optimized them for mobile in May 2014. The redesign launched in 24 countries to 154 million customers and sought to cut down on the number of words and links that overcomplicated the product experience for its audience. Their main priority was to reduce the time that users needed to spend on their website. They also incorporated a mobile-first methodology so that their site could be used on smartphones as well.

4. Starbucks

Starbucks is another user experience design example worth looking at. It has come a long way since being founded in 1971. On September 23, 2009, Starbucks launched its app, which is now the most regularly used loyalty rewards app amongst major restaurant chains. Nearly half of all Starbucks drinkers (48%) use the mobile app, and its digital engagement is largely credited for its success.

Part of this is a user-friendly mobile experience and personalization. The app design makes online ordering easy by recording purchase histories and patterns. By narrowing down the menu items to a shortlist of the physical products a customer has previously enjoyed, it makes the checkout process a more streamlined experience. If you’re a Starbucks regular, it’s unlikely that you look at the full menu every single time you order but rather choose one of three or four drinks that you’ve had previously. The Starbucks app also highlights new drinks in the “Featured” tab so that customers won’t miss out on anything they may want to try, even if they’re creatures of habit.

Starbucks example - app

Source: Starbucks

After selecting a drink, the user will see suggested food items that may pair well, plus suggested locations for picking up the order. Starbucks’ geolocation feature highlights the closest physical premises to the user. All the while, users will be gaining rewards points (“stars”) for their purchases and thus earning free drinks or food items periodically.

The Starbucks app is quick and easy to use, which is why it’s been so successful with its customer base.

Final thoughts

Making good user experience design decisions helps to increase usability and customer satisfaction. You might have a great product, but if its visual design and core features aren’t laid out in a user-centered design then your audience won’t be able to use it effectively.

Companies like PayPal sought to redesign their customer experience by seeking simplicity, which ultimately boosted their presence on mobile devices. Starbucks, meanwhile, took a look at their audience and implemented personalization features to improve its app’s usability test results.

Ultimately, when you focus on user experience design, you increase your company’s potential and give yourself the opportunity to provide greater value to your customers.

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