For a web design agency, UX is a critical part of web design. That’s because it is all about improving the usability, accessibility and enjoyment gained from interacting with the platform. Good UX is what separates successful sites and apps from average ones. It’s what determines whether a visitor or user will return.
What is UX?
Before we launch into the top UX trends that a web design agency needs to consider, let us explain exactly what UX is. Firstly, it’s not to be confused with UI, which stands for User Interface (UI). UI is the aesthetics of the website – how it looks and feels. UX is the general experience on the site and we are about to look at five trends that can really help a user have a positive experience.
Keep it Simple and Logical
When you visit any website, you want the process to be simple and logical. So don’t try and be too clever and redesign the wheel with your design and navigation. There’s a reason why most websites have a certain degree of similarity – and it’s all to do with user familiarity. One way to help keep things simple and logical is to use ‘progressive disclosure’. This means only making information available when the user needs it so that each step is clear and intuitive. The second way to achieve this is to remove unnecessary clutter. This reduces cognitive overload. By including a lot of white space (or negative space) then important elements that you want the user to focus on, are given more presence and importance.
The rise in popularity of video content is hardly surprising. It’s a highly engaging and stimulating medium. When you consider that a study by Microsoft in Canada in 2015 put the average attention span of Generation Z at 8.25 seconds (officially less than a goldfish, which comes in at a generous 9 seconds), then anything that is going to capture and retain attention is a plus! An interesting video trend is the 360 video that allows the viewer to control their perspective whilst watching the content. Live streaming is also gaining momentum with 13% of web traffic from video already coming from live videos.
Augmented reality (AR) refers to technology that incorporates real-time inputs from the real-world to create an output that combines both real-world data and interactive elements from programmed data. Apps like PokemonGO and SnapChat have brought “augmented reality” into the spotlight and proved that they are extremely popular in the mainstream market. In terms of UX it could prove extremely exciting as it means that by mixing artificial intelligence, big data, sensors and machine learning, context-driven, highly relevant content can be delivered directly to the user.
Connect with Micro-Interactions
Micro-interactions are animations that appear in response to a user’s actions or input. The typing indicator in the chat button, the Like button on Facebook and the pull-to-refresh action are all examples that you might have come across. The term ‘micro-interaction’ was first introduced by Dan Staffer, and ever since then, they have become popular with developers as they are an incredibly powerful way engage a website’s audience and help them feel connected.
Voice User Interfaces
Voice User Interfaces (VUI) are fast evolving and promise to be an exciting disruption to website design. VUI allows people to use voice input to control devices. Voice experiences offer a faster and easier way of doing things as they eliminate the need to type, which is especially helpful on mobile devices. In 2016 Google stated that roughly 20 percent of all mobile searches were done through voice activation. When you factor in the massive popularity of virtual assistants, such as Siri, Alexa and Google Now, and the fact that 90 percent accuracy is now the norm, not the exception, then you can understand why we predict that VUI will be the next big thing for website design.
For a web design agency, the emergence and development of all these technologies presents many exciting opportunities. However, they are not to be used frivolously. It’s important that they are appropriate to your prospective audience. We would always advise investing time in conducting an audience profiling exercise to understand user personas and how they might interact with your site. It’s also worth conducting competitor analysis to understand the user experience on competitor sites. If you’d like to find out more about designing for UX or improving your UI, then get in touch.