Design Thinking for Better Website UX

Go Beyond What's Expected with Design Thinking

In today’s online environment, most website visitors have grown accustomed to a user experience (UX) that’s not just “acceptable” but “delightful.” Anything less can send them to a competitor within a matter of seconds. A strong UX can mean different things for different types of sites. For example, an ecommerce site must include a smooth checkout process while news sites must incorporate intuitive navigation for visitors to find their way among various topics.

Without such enhancements, a site may do what it’s designed to do — such as enable purchases — but it might not give visitors a sense of pleasure when they interact with it. This sense is part of a larger effort toward greater customer-centricity throughout the business world. Customers now demand ease of use, customized recommendations, and hassle-free troubleshooting. Savvy businesses are smart to provide these things to them.  

Yet, most website developers are trained to make features, not experiences. To create the whole package, developers must work with UX engineers who understand what users are looking for and how to make it happen. Here at BairesDev, we have both kinds of professionals to ensure our clients can provide what their customers expect. Below we look at this behind-the-scenes relationship, which can mean the difference between mediocre and magnificent and that has one crucial component – Design Thinking.

Passion for Technology Solutions

What Is Design Thinking?

Design thinking goes beyond features and functionality to consider the people who will be using them. Because website creators aren’t always trained on this aspect of the development process, they may consult with designers who are. Together, this team works through several phases to come up with a site that satisfies both technical and usability requirements. Design thinking isn’t a once-and-done process. Rather, it involves the following recurring steps: 

  • Empathize – perform research to understand users’ pain points
  • Define – create personas that reflect common user scenarios
  • Ideate – generate new ideas that redefine the UX for the project
  • Prototype – bring these new ideas to life
  • Test – evaluate whether these ideas solve the original UX issues

Features of Excellent UX

The design-development team will likely incorporate some elements of UX that have been successful before:

  • Speed. When users navigate to a website, they expect it to load within a couple of seconds. The longer it takes, the more likely they are to move on. Speed is a factor not just with the standard website pages, but also with special features like file uploading and gamification elements. 
  • Navigation. Website visitors should never have to ask the question, “Where do I go next?” Site structure should be arranged such that it’s very obvious how to accomplish common tasks such as logging on or updating a profile. Achieving clear navigation typically requires putting considerable thought into the site structure. 
  • Clean design. A cluttered design leads to confusion, while a clean look and feel helps site users see what’s important. For example, if a big part of your business is having people call for an estimate, the phone number must be prominently displayed on every page, not buried amid other (less important) information. 
  • Responsiveness. A strong UX means users can access your website from any device and still have no problems using it. When users switch between laptop, tablet, and phone, the design may not appear exactly the same. But it should be similar enough that users can easily access the components they need.
  • Strong CTAs. Calls to action (CTAs) prompt users to take certain steps or suggest them directions they can take. Website design should reflect ways to get them to take actions such as placing items in a checkout cart or signing up for a newsletter. CTAs should be very obvious, which can be achieved through color, size, and placement.

How to Spot a Website That Needs a UX Revamp

When creating an excellent UX, starting from scratch is often easier than trying to fix up a website that isn’t performing well — because you may not know why it isn’t well received by users. Company and marketing managers can consider the signs on this checklist, which point to common reasons that customers may not be feeling the love: 

  • Complaints from site users about specific features or lack thereof
  • High bounce rates, that is users land on your site then leave quickly 
  • Incomplete transactions, such as abandoned shopping carts
  • A steep decline in site traffic and users 
  • Reports or metrics that show visitors have stopped using a particular feature or features on the site
  • Security issues
  • An interface that looks old or outdated
  • Problems with your service that turn out to be website-related
  • Site doesn’t perform well in user testing

Design Thinking Skills

At BairesDev, we take UX seriously and have professionals on staff who work with our developers to ensure it’s built into every new website, as well as all our custom software. Our UX engineers have developed a keen eye for identifying UX issues and have enough expertise to propose solid solutions from the minute they get on board with any project. 

To get inside the minds of website users, these engineers use strategies like heat map analysis, unused feature reports, performance checks, A/B tests, and analysis of other websites. 

They also use focus groups to watch how visitors actually use a website, which might be very different from how they describe their use when asked. For example, maybe you think adding videos is a good thing, and test viewers agree if you ask them. But, through focus groups, you might find out they really prefer a more straightforward approach and written communication. 

Analytics and business intelligence (BI) are other useful tools for websites that are already deployed. Analytic algorithms provide data to better understand users and their behavior on your site, which can uncover improvement possibilities. Analytics in combination with artificial intelligence (AI) can help automate the process even more. 

BI comprises a wide range of tools and strategies that have one specific goal: to provide you with detailed reports about your business and its assets. You can use BI tools to gather the information you’ll later use with analytics to better understand your audience. Additionally, BI will provide features to view information at a granular level, allowing you to easily visualize and learn from it. 

It all adds up towards one of the key priorities in today’s website development – to create the best experience possible for different audiences. That’s a tall order but with all these tools and guided by design thinking, you’d certainly be closer to overcome the challenge.

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