Content is king, but if your user experience isn’t good, then that beautiful content and your services could be lost on potential customers. Natasha Martindale joins us as a guest expert to discuss UI/UX this month. Before we dive into her interview. Here are a few basics about what UI and UX are to keep in mind.
In review, a user interface (or UI) refers to the point of interaction between a user and a device or platform. This can involve touch screens and buttons on a website. Therefore, to ensure the user stays on the website, UI design addresses the service’s “look” and visual design. User experience (or UX) design refers to the entire experience via a given platform (i.e., websites, applications, etc.). The best UX frameworks instill a desire in users to want to return, serving as the ‘journey.’
A solid user experience should address the following:
1. Usefulness: Am I useful? Do I serve a significant purpose?
2. Strategy: Am I envisioning a good customer experience? Should I realign my goals?
3. Aesthetics: Does my website look good? Would customers want to return?
4. Usability: Is my website interface easy to understand? Does it need adjustments?
Interview with Natasha Martindale
Designer and UI/UX Professional
JENN: Welcome, Natasha! Thank you for taking the time to chat with us about UI/UX.
Why is it important to consider UI/UX while designing websites?
NATASHA: UI/UX principles are essential to ensure your customers have a positive experience with your site, consider your business a trusted source for information or products, especially when purchasing, and prioritize your customer’s time and effort, so that they want to advocate for your company and return for more.
JENN: What are the most valuable results businesses see from applying UI/UX? NATASHA: If sound UI/UX principles are applied to your website or application, it’s sure to provide your customers with an easy way to find what they’re looking for and complete tasks for which they came to your site (potentially purchases or form leads!) Additionally, if users have a positive experience on your site, they’ll likely become repeat customers and tell others about their experience with your site, services, or products.
JENN: What common misconceptions about UI/UX can you give us a heads up about?
NATASHA: UI/UX is about more than just usable web experiences or good navigation. It’s about considering a variety of users, especially those with varying accessibility needs, and all that may impact users as they visit your site or learn more about your company. (Think font size, color contrast, legibility, internet speeds, device size, time of day usage, etc.) Be sure to involve your customers when designing your experiences – Get direct feedback about what’s working and what’s not.
JENN: How is UI/UX evolving? Are there changes coming we should all be ready for?
NATASHA: UI/UX is quickly expanding to other mediums and is no longer just for web experiences. UI/UX can apply to wayfinding signage, store displays, mobile applications, kiosks, wearable devices, electronics, and more. As long as you consider different constraints for different mediums and test your experiences with users, you’ll be set up for success.
JENN: Do you need special training to be a UI/UX designer? How do you stay on top of the latest practices in this industry?
NATASHA: You definitely need special training to become a UI/UX designer, as it entails much more than design. Research and data go hand-in-hand with designing interfaces and are extremely important elements for creating positive digital experiences. Learning about who your users are, what they want, and what motivates them to buy will help define your design decisions. Data is vital for understanding how existing experiences are performing and what adjustments you need to make to see positive changes in your business. To learn about current UX trends, I look to industry leaders, subscribe to tech newsletters and blogs, and get inspiration from other UX professionals.
JENN: Is UI/UX practical for all companies? Any tips for businesses with a shoestring budget to apply best practices while building their marketing budget?
NATASHA: UI/UX is important for companies of all sizes and budgets as it’s all about your users. Ensuring your customers have a positive experience with your brand will ultimately lead to your company’s success. Even with a tight budget, you can take steps to apply UI/UX principles to your brand:
To start, consistency is key. Ensure your brand colors, logo, language, and visuals are consistent across all channels.
Don’t over-complicate things. Reduce the clutter and any unnecessary design or text elements so that users view a clear and concise visual message.
Don’t reinvent the wheel. Look to your competitors to see what they’re doing and if it’s working for them, and take steps to implement similar positive features while highlighting your company’s competitive edge. (For example, don’t use unusual or vague naming conventions for your navigation and confuse your users. Your competitors may already have this figured out with easy and intuitive phrases.)
Involve your users. Reach out to users for their feedback early and often so that you can ensure your customer-facing experiences are working for your business.
After gleaning from Natasha, we hope it’s clear that UI/UX is integral to customer experience-led marketing. To create a brand that caters to customer satisfaction, identity, brand-first marketing strategies, and excellent UI/UX are essential. There’s so much that can be done and incrementally scaled for the size of one’s company to implement this kind of work for your business to ensure you deliver on your promise and build an army of brand ambassadors loyal to your brand.
Thanks again for sharing your insights, Natasha!
Author/Interviewer: Jennifer Hart, Hart House Creative
Guest Interviewee: Natasha Martindale, UI/UX Designer and Hart house Collaborator
Sources for definitions: https://rezaid.co.uk/debunking-misconceptions-ux/
About the Author: Natasha Martindale, Natasha Martindale is a product and visual designer with 19 years of experience helping companies and clients create engaging and effective user experiences across software, web, and mobile platforms. Specializing in user experience and design systems, Natasha uses that knowledge to help clients optimize their digital presence focusing on usability, consistency, and customer satisfaction across all channels. She currently resides in Las Vegas, Nevada, but has lived and worked across the entire Southwest region of the U.S.
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