Designers and developers are probably familiar with the terms “usability” and “user experience”, but what you might not know is that many people think that these terms are interchangeable, as if they are one and the same, when they are not! Without complicating things too much, it must be said the there is a difference between usability and user experience (UX) and it’s important to note that usability forms part of a good user experience UX.
The first step for designers and developers to take is to clearly understand the difference between user experience and usability.
The Definitions of User Experience and Usability
User experience UX
The user experience refers to how a person subjectively feels about a particular product or system. It also includes their overall attitude towards it. User experience principles incorporate focus on the brand perception, psychological expectation, functional scope, and emotions towards the product or system. To put it simply, the user experience includes all aspects of the consumer’s interaction with the company, the brand, the product etc.
When it comes to quality indicators for IT systems, usability is a top contender. In website design and development, usability refers to just how user-friendly and glitch-free a website is. A website with high usability is a website that’s satisfying to consumers and presents no errors. The concept of a website with high usability is to lay it all out for the consumer and make it as simple and efficient as possible. The consumer shouldn’t have to think about anything. Everything should be within reach and absolutely obvious.
It can be difficult to wrap your head around the key issues that both user experience UX and usability present to designers and developers. To design highly effective websites and online systems, essential elements of both usability and UX must be focused on.
4 Elements of Usability for Designers/Developers to Focus on
Focus on these 4 key elements:
Industry design – make sure that the website design is well-suited to the industry and visually impactful to the target audience.
Learnability – using the website must come naturally and need absolutely no prior training or thought.
Functionality – the website must be designed to work normally and without hassles. Test the site extensively to uncover potential errors, glitches, or areas that simply don’t work.
Flexibility – design the site to be flexible enough to do more than just one main task. Added extras keep consumers interested.
Important Usability Design Principles
Constant availability – ensure the website offers 100% up-time and doesn’t fall victim to hardware/software failure, hacking attacks, virus infection, and broken links.
User-friendly and logical layout – design the website in such a way that getting from one page or section to the next is obvious and that it takes no thinking. All information should be quickly and easily available and accessible.
Interact with the consumer – incorporate ways for the consumer to interact with the business via the website. It could be to complete a poll, fill out a form, signing up for regular news or updates, etc.
Accuracy – ensure that the website doesn’t include any inaccurate or false information. Only include links to references and resources that you know for certain are reliable. This aids in creating a trustworthy and reliable online presence which is essential when a consumer is deciding on the usability status of a site.
4 Elements of User Experience UX for Designers and Developers to Focus on
Focus on these 4 UX design elements:
Usability – ensure that the website is easy to use.
Desirability – the website should provide a fun, interesting, and interactive experience for the consumer.
Adaptability – will users quickly adapt to using the website and prefer using it to other similar sites?
Value – will consumers find the website and the product on offer of value? Ensure that you incorporate useful and relevant information and provide something of value to the user.
These definitions and design elements make the difference between usability and user experience UX more obvious. Usability is narrow and focused (and forms only part of the UX) whereas the user experience UX is broader and more holistic.
The Relationship Between SEO and User Experience UX
An interesting piece published online by ecommerceceo.com explains just how SEO and user experience work together for the success or failure of a website. Gone are the days where content with the right keywords would get a website ranking in a Google search result. Nowadays, Google takes the user experience seriously in the process of ranking.
In fact, landing page experience is something that Google has shown particular preference to in the past few years. If a website doesn’t offer good SEO (relevant content) and a good UX, it won’t be found ranking among the top results. And that’s a fact.
To see SEO and user experience examples where the website design and development ties these two aspects in correctly, view the following article by ecommerceceo.com.
5 Top SEO and User Experience Principles & Best Practices
Always do your keyword research beforehand.
Avoid complicated industry jargon. When setting search terms and key phrases, remember that those searching for the products and services aren’t industry professionals. Incorporate search terms that the average person might use.
Create pages that cater to browser intent. Search terms and key phrases can mean different things to different people. Ensure that the landing pages created and the user experience lends itself to providing obvious information that’s quick and easy for the browser to find.
Include a call to action. SEO is not just about ensuring that the webpage ranks well. It’s also about ensuring that the consumer takes the next step. Ensure that the UX entices the consumer to click a button, fill out a form, or buy a product or service from you.
Use relevant and concise title tags. These are the tags that consumers click on when searching for a product or service. There’s 70 characters including spaces available for this. Put time and effort into carefully creating and optimising unique title tags for each of your pages.
Creating a good user experience is not something that can be rushed. There is no easy way out. If you want to design and develop a website and online system that is highly effective and offers impressive conversions, follow the principles and elements involved in incorporating both usability and UX.