• For the Designer: 5 UX Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

For the Designer: 5 UX Questions You Need to Ask Yourself

Posted by Julie Longman | Rare Thinking |

You’re embarking on a new design project. There’s no doubt that you’ve got a million things running through your mind - from color palette to font choices to header images. While all of this is important, it’s just as important to consider user experience in your design. UX is crucial to ensuring that your website is successful - but where should you start?

I put together a quick list of 5 things to ask yourself when designing for effective User Experience. Be sure to keep these handy before starting your new website project!

1. What is the hierarchy of the page elements?

It shouldn’t come as a surprise that users don’t read everything when they visit a site. You skim content, I skim content - and your users do also. With that in mind, consider which elements of the page should be the most prominent. Are you trying to gain leads by having users fill out a form? Are you trying to sell a product? By determining the ultimate goal of the page you’re designing, you’ll be able to lead users there more seamlessly through design.

2. What’s the most enticing way you can organize the page?

A great way to organize your site is through wireframing and/or prototyping. This way, you can play around with the organization of the site before being tied down to specific visual elements. You don’t need to worry about color, imagery or fonts just yet. But the great part is, you’ll be able to create a basic template where you can add these elements later. In the wireframe/prototype stage, you can concentrate on what’s important - the user’s journey.

An important side note: It’s okay to use Lorem Ipsum as a placeholder where you do not have final content, but having your main ideas nailed down in the wireframe stage is vital. Great content plays a huge role in UX, so be sure to keep this in mind.

New to creating wireframes? Some great tools to begin with include Axure, Proto.io, InVision, and Hotgloo. Each of these are user-friendly programs that help to create dynamic layouts with ease. The wireframe phase is also very helpful for your development team, as they’ll be able to get an idea of what you’re envisioning for the website way ahead of time.

3. Does each element have a purpose?

Take a step back from your design and make sure you’re not adding elements just for the sake of adding them. Trendy functionality can be a great addition to the site - but make sure you’re not overwhelming the user with it. Think of the path you want your user to take and ask yourself, “Will this help guide them there?” If the answer is no, it might not be needed.

It is also important to consider white space in your design. This will help other visual elements stand out, again leading the user’s eye in the right direction.

4. Is everything consistent?

Consistency is essential when it comes to a great user experience. For instance, creating consistent expectations for the user will help them navigate through the site with ease. If you’re creating buttons, make sure that every time you add a new button it is treated the same way. The user will pick up on this and know it is something he or she should click on. The same holds true for links.

Side note: Some great resources for UX elements are Codrops and CodyHouse. Check them out!

Consistency should not be applied only to buttons and links, but to every element on the site. Make sure colors, fonts, navigation and functionalities are the same throughout. The more cohesive it feels, the better.

5. Is the experience the same across all platforms?

With the drastic increase in the use of smart phones and tablets, it’s important to consider the UX for each of these devices. You need to ensure that the user has a similar site experience no matter which device they’re using. Text needs to be readable, buttons need to be clickable and navigation needs to be understandable. Earlier, I discussed keeping it clean and simple - that advice is tenfold when it comes to designing for mobile.

Acknowledging these questions in the beginning will create a backbone for successful UX design moving forward. Remember, no matter what user journey you have in mind, you have a lot of resources to help enforce it. So, use them!