The Podcast Episode with Christian Vasile
The Importance of User Experience
We live at an age and time where everything is accessible but also in an era where people’s attention span gets shorter. Therefore, in a race to attract prospective customers, companies of all sizes and shapes come up with ways and means to do that. In the process, the World Wide Web receives an abundance of things, both useless and useful. The sad thing, however, is the useless things grow in numbers ruining the whole user experience.
Ruin might be too strong a word according to Christian Vasile, a web architect and also one of our writers here on 1WD. For him, a good web designer is still able to turn it around and re-design into something better to enhance user experience. However, this process involves a lot of factors, which involves the cooperation of your clients. The greatest question, however, is how do you get that cooperation, and how does it contribute to the whole idea of user experience.
User Experience and Client Trust
Most, if not all, web designers understand and are aware what user experience is. They know how essential it is to conversion. Any good designer will not only think about how awesome a website looks like, but he will also consider other factors, such as functionality and user experience, when he creates a website.
Clients, on the other hand, especially those who have no background or idea whatsoever about web design (and there’s a great many of them), do not know these factors. What they want is for you to build them a website that’s good to look at, or a website they saw because it’s doing well. They will pay you to get the job done without worrying about the specifics.
Therefore, it is your job as a web design professional to sit with your clients and tell them about these specifics and make them understand why one element is necessary, while the other element is not beneficial.
For a web design professional who has already had a portfolio to show and the experience to back him up, this is not a problem. All you have to do is show them that portfolio and you won’t have a hard time convincing them. They might be a little hesitant at the beginning but knowing you have done similar successful projects in the past will encourage them to take risks.
The problem is when you are a new web designer who is just starting to carve a name in the industry with no portfolio or experience whatsoever. More often than not, clients will even think they are doing you some sort of goodwill for trusting you even without prior experience. Rarely does it happen, and it would be a very special case, that a client will take the risk and follow a newbie.
That can be pretty frustrating because you, as a designer, knows that the red button on the takeout field is a bad idea. So, poof! There goes what is supposed to be a good user experience had your client only listened.
The Important Element
Web design professionals have their bad days, but there are also good days and one of them is when your client decides to listen to you and follow your advice. When it happens, the challenge is to identify which element needs to be changed or improved.
There are many elements in a website, including speed, navigation, About Us page, space, contact information, and so on. Where do you begin and how do you even choose which is which.
The answer is simple – It depends a lot on the type of web page or the type of business your client has. For example, if you are working on an e-commerce website, the most important thing you have to look out for is their forms and their check-out process. How quick is that? How difficult is that? Are you asking for information that you don’t really need?
You can draw inspiration from your own experience. Remember when you go and purchase something in an e-commerce website, which one do you remember as a consumer – the form where you only have to enter two types of information or the long one where you have to provide a lot of information, some of which are even unnecessary to your purchase?
You, of course, will remember the one which gave you a convenient and favorable experience. Depending on how fast you write, you might even finish filling out the two-field form within 15 seconds. You not only remember the experience, but it is also the very same reason that brings you back to the website.
On the other hand, if you are working on a freelancer website, you have to pay attention to the content as well. Many times you will see a very awesome website in terms of the aesthetics but has awful content where the freelancer brand themselves as a jack-of-all-trades.
This is bad for business. You have to determine what you are best at and make it your brand. If you are good at design, brand yourself as that and not as a can-do everything designer. Brand yourself on your niche.
The Importance of Copy in Web Design
One of the elements often overlooked by web design professionals is the copy as well as how they structure the design in order to highlight the copy on that page. A lot of web designers are so consumed with the aesthetics believing that a good-looking website is the best website.
So what most designers do is spend a lot of their time building mock-ups and keep postponing until deadlines come and we just throw in any text that comes to mind to fill that beautiful website. The website is still beautiful, but the low-quality copy ruined it.
It is a fact that most, if not all, web designers have been programmed to be visual beasts blinded by the aesthetics. Little do most know that a low-quality copy will pull down and make the design suffer.
The truth is design and copy are two inseparable entities. When a user visits a website, they don’t just see the design or the copy, they see the website. And both contributes to the whole user experience, which can be good or bad. Unless you are creating a website for fun and not for something professional, your design should always make the message stronger and not the other way around.
The Importance of Communication
As mentioned earlier in the article, your clients are also a big contributing factor in creating a good user experience for the websites you build for them. That is if they do not want what you suggest is good for their website and they insist on what they want, then you cannot do anything. The old age adage is still true that the customer is still king – they still have the final say.
In order to do this, communication is very important. Communication is easy if your boss or client is just around the corner. However, if you are working remotely, that would be quite a challenge, especially of you’re working with several clients because each client are different. Some clients want you to report to them regularly while some will give you all the freedom and will not communicate until the project is finished.
What differentiates a great designer from a good designer is how well you’re able to communicate with clients and how well you’re able to manage your clients. This is also a big factor why clients will return to you because, for the first time, you did quality work for them and they feel that your collaboration with them went smoothly.
A good web design and good user experience does not just happen when a user visits your website and enjoys its aesthetics. It is not just what’s happening in the front end but also at the back end. It does not even start when you start putting those codes together to create a website. Instead, it starts with your client trusting you and how well you communicate with him. That is because when a client understands what you are doing and you clearly communicate why you’re doing it, he will trust you. Then, you can create something that you, as an expert, know will work and not just because your client tells you to do it.