If you really want to understand the importance of UI/UX design you need to go back a few decades. Remember the days without laptops, mobile phones, and tablets when only personal computers worked and that too only in the DOS command format?
Only those with coding knowledge were able to operate the computer and use its limited features.
Millennials would not know it, probably, as they grew up in the times when sophisticated operating systems took over – such as Microsoft Windows and Macintosh – and changed the entire paradigm of the world of computers.
The black and white screen that was available initially was replaced with a colorful screen including icons and display options. This was the upgrade in the User Interface (UI).
And, the commands used to perform every single process were replaced with sophisticated short keys, folders, and more. This was the upgrade in the User Experience (UX).
Today, with billions of websites and mobile apps operating globally, the importance of UI/UX design has only escalated.
Well, that’s precisely what we’ll be discussing in this blog. So, be attentive!
What is UI/UX design?
In the simplest of terms, UI – a.k.a. User Interface – is what users see on their screens when they visit any online page. How this blog, which you are reading right now, comes across to you as a user (its colors, spacing, font style, and size, etc.) is the interface.
UX – a.k.a. User Experience – on the other hand, is the overall user experience provided to the customer when they visit a website or a mobile app. It is all about getting someone from point A to point B, on your website or mobile app, in a seemingly effortless way.
Some concepts that involve a user’s experience include:
- The process they go through to discover your company’s product.
- The sequence of actions they take as they interact with the interface.
- The thoughts that arise as they try to accomplish their task.
- The impressions they take away from the interaction as a whole.
A good UX design creates quality and satisfactory interactions between a consumer and a company’s products/services.
UX and UI designs are two sides of the same coin. Neither works well without the other.
UX design is more analytical and technically aligned whereas UI design is closer to graphics design and overall website layout. Both are mandatory for the success of a website or app.
Why do UI and UX matter a lot?
The entire idea behind creating a website or a mobile app is to communicate with the target audience and provide solutions. Simply put, websites and apps are precisely user-centric.
In such a scenario, when the main focus is on the user, one cannot simply let the experience of visiting your website or using your mobile app become a pain for the users.
Putting that in perspective, in today’s fast-paced society, the most successful websites/applications are those which respond quickly and efficiently. If your website takes even a few seconds longer, as compared to your competitor site, to find a specific product, you are faced with the threat of losing potential customers.
An effective combination of UI and UX design for websites or apps help you overcome such bottlenecks by keeping the audience engaged by offering simpler navigation through the pages and easy to comprehend designs.
Most of the popular social media channels are good examples of an effective UI/UX design.
Take FB for example. It is simple for any new user to understand the functionalities, where to find what, and how to reach a segment intended to.
How UI/UX benefit a business?
So far, we have discussed and understood (we hope) what UI/UX designs are and why they matter for an effective website or mobile app.
Detailing things a little further, we now look at how effective UI and UX designs encompass the entire process of website/app design and development; including branding, functionality, design, integration, and usability.
We know that “content is the king”. However, a king needs his professional entourage for the audience to take notice of his overall personality and the royal aura. What this analogy means is that simply using plain texts is not going to attract and engage an audience on your website. You need to use well-designed images, proper call to action, and relevant references to fine-tune your content and make it attractive for your readers.
Creates loyalty and recommendations
Who doesn’t like their experiences to be the best for everything? By offering great user experience through websites or mobile apps, brands can easily generate a set of loyal customers.
An easy to use app or website backed by great service will encourage a user to come back to your website again.
And, how does a happy customer do for a brand? Awareness! Word of Mouth Publicity!
The ease of use of a well-designed site or application and the usefulness of it will encourage people to tell others about the product. A part of UI design is to make your brand worth sharing and that of a UX design is to make the sharing easier.
A free recommendation from a user is far more effective than a paid advertisement on any given day.
Reduce cost and increase profits
The key behind creating a successful UI/UX design for a website or mobile app is to understand what the users want.
Most professional UI/UX designers and developers follow what they like to call the “Customer Journey Map” in order to understand if a user’s interaction with the website has been smooth and trouble-free.
This ensures that development time is targeted on the areas of functionality that matter and helps in identifying the products that people want. This would allow sales and marketing efforts to be focused on profitable products as well as the pain points of the users which need to be addressed.
And, what does all this help in achieving? Yes! Increase in customer pool.
From how fast the pages load, to how easy it is to sign up and place an order, the easier a site or an app is to use; the more people will use it.
Websites and mobile applications have come into existence with the sole idea of helping businesses grow exponentially and expand the overall audience reach. And, while consumers are becoming more experience-driven the global online spending is increasing at a pheno menal rate.
This clearly indicates that the businesses which don’t adapt to the principles of graphics design and understand the importance of UI/UX design may soon trail far behind the competition.