User Experience: Just Because it’s Pretty Doesn’t Mean it Works

We talk a lot about creating digital customer experiences here at Delvinia. It’s what we do. Understanding the customer is the first step in any project. And, once we’ve collected those insights, we have to apply that knowledge through the design process.

That’s Andrea Reck’s job. She’s our Senior User Experience Lead. I recently sat down with her to chat about what that means and what she views as essential elements in user experience design. Here’s what she had to say.

“It’s like a puzzle,”  Andrea says. “I take all of the pieces and organize them on the page where it makes sense. I always try to take a step back as if I was going to the site for the first time. I ask myself; why am I here, what do I want to do and how do I want to get there?”

Is your website working for you?

Although Andrea says there is no cookie cutter approach to user experience design, she follows certain principles in her work. Here are a few:

The process needs to be intuitive. You have to design a site so it takes the thinking out of it and empowers the user to let them know they’re on the right path.

When it comes to the home page, I’m a minimalist. Don’t put everything and the kitchen sink on there. The home page is a gateway that should lead users to relevant areas of the site.

The site navigation is very important. Depending how deep the site is, I look for breadcrumbs; it’s just one more way to make the user’s life easier. You don’t want a user to rely on the back button. If that’s the only way for a user to recover, that’s wrong. Give them multiple options. Know where you are, where you came from and how to get back there.

Don’t put your user in a dead end. Always give them a place to go. If they scroll down, give them a way to get back to the top of the page. Give them a call to action. Keep them moving.

Keep it simple

Don’t overwhelm your users. Too much animation and interaction can be overwhelming.

Make sure each page has its purpose and its place.

Users scan. They don’t read. Avoid large blocks of text. Use bullet points. Make the information easy to digest.

Anything important shouldn’t be more than a few clicks away. For example, a user shouldn’t have to go five pages deep to make a transaction. If it’s important, either keep it global (on every page) or have a minimum amount of clicks.

As much as each page is its own beast, consistency matters. Within a few clicks users should get a sense and feel of how the site works.