In 1991, the world’s first website went live courtesy of Tim Berners-Lee’s efforts. Between that time and early 2020, the number of websites has grown to a little over 1.74 billion. Initially, web developers simply wanted to get something running but that has since changed. Today, visitors to websites are into much more than just a platform that has information they need.
The need to design a website from the user’s perspective is more urgent today than ever before. This is because competition is higher and users want the best experience online. For example, few if any users would want to use a website that takes too long to load or the platform layout is uninspiring.
What is a good website?
Load time is especially critical for business websites like ecommerce. In fact, no user is willing to continue with your ecommerce website if it takes more than five seconds to load. After the five seconds lapse, users will retry and if the wait persists, they are off to another site. However, load time is not the only crucial aspect of a good website.
A good website is one that enhances the user experience (UX) and has a robust user interface (UI). Simply, a UI/UX designer focuses on the kind of experience that the user will have while logged on the platform. The designer ensures that the page loads fast and that the platform is generally eye-catching. While designing the website from the user’s perspective, it is imperative to ensure that it considers diverse tastes and preferences. This is because a website is a public platform and users are drawn from different parts of the world.
Additionally, a good website serves the purpose for which it was designed without slacking. For example, if your website is for ecommerce purposes, it must be able to serve all the needs of visitors looking for an online shopping experience. The users must be able to find whatever item they are looking for as well as clear product descriptions and the price tag. Further, the visitors must be able to place orders and pay for them. This should be accompanies by a means to track their orders to keep them updated on the status of the order.
- Easy to navigate
Designers do not create a website for their own use otherwise, it would not be necessary to put it up on the internet. As such, users must be able to find their way around with ease. The website must have properly laid out tabs indicating different sections of the website. Clear labeling of the sections gives users an easier time to search for relevant information. If the platform is built for ecommerce purposes, then all sections must be properly shown. For example, the website should group all the items on sale in categories such that users can easily find whatever they need to buy.
- Content that is relevant to users
Obviously, a user visits a particular website because he/she believes the content on the platform is relevant. Relevancy of the content feeds into the UX. Users have a better experience when they find that the content they just went through is exactly the kind that they were looking for. Say your website is built to educate users on how to cook. As such, users will expect to find a bunch of well-explained recipes accompanied by nice photos of sumptuous meals.
- Optimized website
Users visit websites through many devices. For example, a user might want to buy a bracelet from your ecommerce website using a smartphone. This user will expect to have the same great experience that he/she would have when using a laptop of desktop computer. Additionally, the user interface (UI) must be as great for the user to continue with the website. The same is true for a user visiting the website from a tablet and other devices. An optimized website supports readability across many platforms. Further, a website should be optimized across different data speeds, different search engines, and so on.
If you are the one creating the website, it is needful for you to learn the tricks that go into designing the best website for the user. Better still, you can hire an expert UI/UX designer to do the work for you. Note that it does not matter how the work is done but the product that the user will interact with is king. However, it is best to learn such skills to cut down on costs.
How to become a UI/UX designer
It is clear that a website that does not enhance UX and does not have a great UI does not attract great traffic. Interestingly, there is no shortage of designers who help you achieve these goals. However, as they say, there is no job done better than the one done by you. You are the one who understands the purpose of the website to bits. Should you just dedicate yourself to learning UI/UX designing? Absolutely. Here are the steps you can follow toward that goal in 2020.
Learn the basics of web and visual design
As usual, any great career is built on a strong foundation. The foundation of UI/UX designing is built on understanding the basic principles of design. Ensure you have mastered color and the role it plays in web and visual design. Specifically, understand color vocabulary and the fundamentals of colors. Another basic principle you should understand is grid systems, and how to apply them in UI design. Additionally, learn the design principles related to balance and composition. Other basics that you need to master include typography and contrast. A dedicated UI/UX designer will make sure to go the extra mile to ensure that all these basic principles are understood to the last bit.
Understand the UX design process
The design principles discussed above mostly go into UI design. However, any good UI/UX designer must master all aspects of UI and UX. The design process for UX is flexible but more complex compared to UI design. Particularly, you need to understand design thinking and be able to follow through every step successfully. Design thinking is a process of UX design that enables a designer to create a product from the perspective of the user. The process begins by empathizing whereby the designer understands the wants and needs of the users. The next stage of design thinking is to define the problem based on the insights gathered from the first stage. Defining the problem is crucial in the third stage, which is ideation. Ideation entails generating solutions to the problem defined earlier. Here, the designer can use various techniques including brainstorming, body storming or mind mapping. At the end of the ideation process comes the prototype. The prototype stage entails development of a product that represents your rough ideas. Obviously, the prototype will have numerous flaws that you iron out at the testing stage. During the tests, the designer is simply validating the prototype before working on the final release.
Sharpen your design skills
At this point, it is crucial to understand the details of UI/UX design. Here, you will get familiar with different patterns of UI/UX design. This is the point where you read wide and connect with other designers worldwide. For instance, you could learn a lot from a UI/UX designer India by simply connecting and sharing your experiences.
Work on concept projects
It is not enough to copy top designers and to acquaint yourself with different UI/UX design patterns. You need to put those skills to actual use. A good place to start is by working on concept projects. Simply, these projects help you to practice the craft and nothing more. Consider the concept projects as content for your portfolio. This is what potential clients will look at when you go out there to search for job opportunities.
Read the Blog: How Frontend Developers Can Enhance Design?
Research learn how to use different design tools related to UI/UX design
The internet is awash with tools that facilitate UI/UX designing. There are numerous tools on offer, most of them worth a fortune, but you only need a few that are relevant to your job. Notably, majority of the tools focus on a certain part of the design process, so you might need to master just one for each task. For example, Adobe XD is great for designing the prototype while Framer facilitates creation of an UI that is interactive.
Never stop learning!
The world of design is fluid and things change quickly. You need to keep abreast of all new developments that may impact the industry. What best way to do this than to sign up for online classes. Alternatively, you could buy books, or better yet, read the numerous articles that discuss latest developments in UI/UX design. There is a lot of content on the internet just for learning and there is no better used than using them to expand your bounds.
UI/UX design is dynamic especially in 2020 because new concepts and changing needs by users. Particularly, many users are learning about the internet and their knowledge of what is best for them is higher than ever. This way, their expectations in terms of the UI/UX design of a website are higher. As a designer, it is up to you follow (and to improve on) the steps detailed here to be able to meet these expectations.