5 Tips to Simplify eCommerce Software

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Global retail has already gone online, with e-stores popping up all across the web—-polished photos of products brandished on user-friendly sights, add-to-cart functions that tempt and tantalize offline customers and new consumers, the convenience of online payments and select couriers shipping orders to your very doorstep. 

For years, ecommerce has witnessed a steady rise worldwide. Data from Digital Commerce 360 predicts that global ecommerce sales will reach $3.64 trillion by the end of 2020, which shows a 17.9% increase from $2.93 trillion in 2018. 

Meanwhile, CBRE anticipates ecommerce sales to hit $892 billion in the US alone. With these numbers, it’s no wonder that most enterprises are dabbling in online retail and acquiring ecommerce platforms. However, this is just the first step to establishing your store’s online presence and gaining success from it. 

Here are some tricks and tips on how to streamline using your own ecommerce software:

  1. Seek guidance from the experts

In order to optimise the functions of e-commerce software, online retailers need to put up clear metrics for growth, which platform vendors can help you hit. Benchmarks of success vary from company to company, so it’s important to partner with an expert or a team that will aid you in delivering your goals and constructing your future. 

Consider seeking out full-service tools from only the top ecommerce software rather than outsourcing piece-by-piece initiatives to various vendors. That way, your projects will be more cohesive and your key takeaways will be more comprehensive. Select knowledgeable experts with diverse technical experience who will wisely recommend you what’s right for your brand and not just what’s on trend.

working-macbook-computer-keyboard-34577 2.Maximize e-store customization features

Although there are plenty of ecommerce software features, what makes store builders like these stand out is the broad range of customization options that don’t demand a lot of technical expertise for you to be able to use them. Just a crash course or two would be enough to make a difference in your e-store. 

With an ecommerce software, you can select fonts, change site colors, organize pages, and upload photos with your platform’s preloaded stock photo collection. There are even ecommerce platforms that provide you power for total customization so you can create responsive and mobile optimised websites

In addition to having the simplest design tools, most ecommerce platforms allow you to have one of the key features of an ecommerce website: having various payment methods as well as shipping options. This is important because integrating with advanced payment and shipping ecommerce solutions is one of the most tried and true methods for acquiring more conversions than your competitors. Besides this, you can also assign shipping couriers depending on geographical delivery zones. 

As for earning consumer trust, you can implement SSL certification to fortify data security. SSL certificates are the strongest and most versatile protection that can be issued to your ecommerce site. It’s fairly inexpensive and most of all, it makes it easy for e-stores to protect sensitive data.

If fundamental features such as these don’t exist on your e-store, then there’s no chance for you to scale growth. Personalisation is important in running an online store, so get the team behind your website development to implement these right away and make the most out of your ecommerce platform’s features. 

3. Create a marketing plan 

There’s a common misconception when it comes to launching ecommerce platforms. Brand, even those with built-in target markets, believe that if they build or expand their business, the success will surely pour in. However, such a magnanimous move requires reevaluating and taking stock of your brand.

You need to ask your company the following questions: How does your current customer base appear? Are you selling them an item or offering them a service with present market acknowledgement? Are you rolling out a shiny new product in hopes that you can convert offline patrons into online ones? Do you have enough budget for acquisition and attracting traffic? Would your brand be better off from existing traffic in a popular online marketplace?

Be it a platform or a product, any successful launch demands marketing budget and scope determination at the outset; hence, the importance of ecommerce marketing and the right online store marketing strategy.

Ecommerce marketing promotes your online shop through an array of marketing channels to potential customers. It helps you in driving traffic to your e-store, which is why we can also dub it as a bigger internet marketing scheme.

This strategy can assist in developing brand awareness, increasing customer loyalty and eventually, boosting revenues, so if you want to drive more customers towards your online store, purchasing the top ecommerce software is not enough. A marketing strategy is a crucial companion for it. 

For example, we all know that organic traffic is necessary for any ecommerce store to thrive in the long stretch, but putting out content is not sufficient these days, especially since there’s so much noise out there in the online market. You also need to promote your products and services. This is where link building services and other marketing strategies help you in standing out from social and PPC campaigns, pushing you forward in the rat race.

4. Always aim for advancement

Like all things in the virtual realm, online retail is currently ebbing and flowing. Innovations from tech giants such as Instagram’s new marketing opportunities keep the entire ecommerce sector at the edge of their seats. Because of this, ensure that you never miss a beat on your performance. Monitor and test your marketing and user experience scale and optimise based on what you can take away from it.

Launching or maintaining ecommerce platforms also means plotting for their complete life cycle as well as calculating your patron’s lifetime values. Customer retention requires a deeper understanding of what’s propelling your online store’s traffic and conversions. It also requires a realization that both of these are shaped by user experience, which can be crucially proven by insights from regular testing.

Upon starting, keep in mind that you will need to exert optimization in two unique areas throughout the course of time to stay ahead of the competition: your ecommerce software by incorporating new and more developed features and your business by adding new items, options and services.

5. Familiarize yourself with security upgrades 

There has been a massive increase in the level of electronic trade since the internet’s widespread global penetration. A broad range of commerce is conducted online, including electronic monetary transfer, supply chain supervision, internet marketing, online transaction processing as well as inventory management solutions, among others.

With this gigantic uptake comes a slew of security threats, and ecommerce software features must always consider meeting four integral requirements: data privacy. Information integrity, identity verification and non-repudiation. Furthermore, online retailers must also protect clients against a number of external security threats, especially DDos. 

Customers can rest easy knowing that their data is secure thanks to measures like SSL certificates, anti-DDos protection, cutting-edge firewall setup, intrusion alerts, and daily security audits, among others.

The most important tip 

When it comes to ecommerce tips, here’s the most important one: stop making excuses and just start now. If you’re still searching for an ecommerce software to help you out on your business, financesonline.com revealed a list of the best POS systems for starting enterprises. 

The success stories you’ve heard about people kickstarting a company and making five to seven figures are real. Believe in yourself and practice these techniques because you’ll succeed quicker if you do.

Web Design Trends for 2020.

No-one can predict the future. Who knows what the new decade will bring us. That being said, let’s look at some of the trends that have been popping up recently.

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Dark Mode

Not just a setting on your phone anymore. Dark mode began to pop up on some of the bigger websites and apps. What started as a way to treat eye strain, soon evolved into is own design trend. Designers love the ultra-modern look that makes color and design elements pop.

Sometimes the most visually stunning trends have practical beginnings. Dark themes are better for older screens – saving power and extending screen life. 

Also, this dark aesthetic also fits perfectly into one of the biggest graphic design trends of next year. Futurism is in. Get ready for glowing neons as well as dark cyberpunk and dystopian styles.

 

Perfect Imperfections

An evolution of the illustration trend, imperfect hand-drawn design elements are going to replace the perfect geometric ones we have been seeing for a few years. With more designers experimenting with programs like procreate, hand-drawn icons and illustrations are going to become more popular. Clients are more aware than ever that it is not enough to just have a professional-looking website. That there also needs to be a personality behind it and hand-drawn elements are a great way to add positivity and fun to a design.  In fact, this trend may be in rebellion to the pixel perfect flat designs- so flaunt your rough edges and add some human imperfection to your site!

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Soft shadows, layers and floating elements

Also known as the 3D lite look, this trend uses soft shadows and floating elements to create depth and interest. This technique can also be just on text and photos, boosting its popularity with its versatility. 

Taking a page out of the material design book, designers are adding a little extra pop to 2D layouts with super soft drop shadows and by layering elements on top of each other to extend depth. These effects give the design a lightweight feel, as if the elements are floating over each other—a sharp contrast from the classic, impenetrable flat design where the layers seem, well, flat.

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Mixing Photography & Graphics

This trend has been around for a few years but will really take off this year. The overlapping custom graphic over real photographs creates a memorial visual impact. This collage-like technique is extremely versatile; you can use it to add a special cuteness and charm to the otherwise bland product photo (see the example above), or you can use more serious graphics to better communicate complicated or abstract concepts. It’s also a great way to customize boring stock photos and add more personality (a recurring trend) to your web design. 

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Frames of White Space

The full-width website has been the trend for most of the decade. Now, designers seem to be moving towards solid framing and playing with the idea of more whitespace. It gives the site a more structured feel. By allowing each element on the page a generous amount of space, the visuals jump out more. Neatly structured frames around websites create a satisfying sense of order and help prioritize and separate all the different parts of a page.   

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Glowing, lighted color schemes

Another futurism trend. Web designers have been becoming more adventurous with color in recent years, but 2020 may be the most extreme yet. Get ready for bold glow-in-the-dark neons and highly saturated colors. This trend pair nicely with the dark mode one we talked about earlier. It also works well with some of the hold-overs from previous years, such a the huge duotone trend.  Next year is going to be the year of hot pinks, blues, and purples. 

 

In 2020, Web design will be more concerned with adding personality and fun to sites with its use of imperfect graphics and combining photo and graphical elements. Also, futurism is going to be a big trend, with its glowly colors and dark-mode layouts. But again, no one can see the future so we’ll see what unexpected design trends this new decade brings us! 

 

Choosing the Right Colors for Your Website

 

Picking the right colors for your branding can be daunting. Color communicates on an emotional level. Good color choice can influence your users and create positive associations. Poor color choices could just make them go to another website.

In short, color is a fast and direct way to make a good first impression. While overwhelming at the start, you can nail down a color story with some basic knowledge of the science behind color theory.

Choosing a color is more than a matter of personal preference. Colors can have different meanings and can influence people in certain ways. Let’s look at some general meanings and what emotions they can trigger.

Warm Colors:

These can have an energetic effect on the visitor, but when they are used alone they tend to over-stimulate. It is a good idea to mix them with cool and neutral colors for balance.

Red—active, emotional, passionate, strength, love, intensity

Pink—sweet, romantic, playful, warm, compassionate, soft

Orange—warm, enthusiastic, success, determination, friendly

Yellow—youthful, lively, energetic, fresh, optimistic

Cool colors

These have a calming effect on the viewer, and that is why they are the most common colors used on websites. But be careful—if they are overused, they can also have a cold or impersonal feel.

Green—fresh, calm, relaxed, trust, peaceful, hopeful, healing

Blue—comfort, clarity, calm, trust, integrity, loyalty, reliability

Purple—glamour, power, nostalgic, luxury, ambition, spiritual

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This web design achieves a sense of loyalty and trust using the color blue. Design by DSKY

Neutral colors

These are great to mix with warm or cool colors and they are often used to tone down primary colors and provide balance in web design.

Gray—respect, wisdom, patience, modern, longevity, intelligent

Black—powerful, bold, serious, elegant, luxurious, dramatic, formal

Brown—friendships, earth, home, outdoors, credibility, simplicity, endurance.

 

Now that we understand the meaning behind color, we can now choose a primary color.

In order to create a color scheme, your first priority is to establish a primary color for your brand. This should be determined from your logo or other branding materials that exist, but if that is not possible, use the color psychology we discussed above.

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This web design pulls its primary color from the brand logo. Web design by Iconic Graphics

Developing tints and shades.

Once you have a primary color, you want to start choosing other colors to support it. Some websites can get away with using a single color for their design, but most of the time you’ll want at least a few shades or tints to work with.

It is not the best idea to use your primary color throughout the whole design. You can tone it down or brighten up the tint to create subtle contrast while still keeping the same base color. For example, the website below uses a lighter shade of their primary color for the background and their most prominent tint for the call to action buttons to make them stand out more.

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If you want to use multiple colors in your design, check out an online color wheel. Color wheels are used in color theory to create and discover complementary colors. Below are some examples of some of the most common color theory structures in web design. 

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The 60-30-10 rule.

Simple but effective, this rule helps your design archive a harmonious palette when you mix colors. For balance, colors should generally be combined in the proportion of 60%-30%-10%. You don’t always have to go with three colors, but it is a good number to be safe and balanced. Using this method, 60% should be the dominant color, 30% a secondary color and 10% an accent color. This proportion is pleasant to the human eye since it allows the visual elements to emerge gradually. 

 

Contrast 

Color contrast is a vital component of good color use. For example, if you need your users to pay special attention to a specific area of your website (such as a CTA button), you can make use of two highly contrasting colors such as blue and orange for your background and button. 

Be careful, if you use high contrast all throughout the site it will be difficult to read or look at the text. I would recommend that you use high contrast items when you want to highlight key items.

 

Working with images.

In some cases, it might be helpful to start your color selection process by looking at images. If you already have images in mind, you may be able to pull out the main colors from them. When working with multiple images, it can be hard to create color harmony in the design. There are several ways of balancing your images:

-Consider turning them to grayscale

-Adjust the vibrancy of the images to bring down the tone

-Use neutrals to balance the images

-Create a gradient overlay with the hues of the color palette that you’ve chosen for the web design.

Colors can be powerful when used correctly. They can promote emotions or actions from your users. While color is an important tool in web design, it is just one among many you need to create an outstanding website. Check out our other posts to get some more tips and tricks in regards to web design. 

 

 Visual Hierarchy

When designing a website, information needs to be conveyed quickly and clearly. Deciding what you want your users to pay attention to and in what order is what we call visual hierarchy. Learning about visual hierarchy can help your site feel more organized, let your users find information faster and promote the content you feel is most important.

Reading Patterns

Recent studies show that readers first scan a page to get a sense of its content before committing to reading the content fully. Using this, most web designers have established two scanning patterns that work well on the web.

F-Patterns

F-Patterns work best on traditional, text-heavy pages like news articles and blog posts.  Readers will scan the page, looking for bold subheaders or topic sentences that relate to the content they are looking for. Anyone that has used Google has interacted with an f-pattern. You scan the bold linked headings only stopping to read the text underneath if you think that one of the results is the content you are looking for.

Z-Patterns

Z-patterns are employed when the information is not presented in block paragraphs. In this pattern, a reader’s eye first scans the top of the page, where the most important information is likely to be found then shoots down to the opposite corner at a diagonal and does the same thing across the lower page.

Place the most important information in the corners and orient other important information along the top and bottom bars and connection diagonally.

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Facebook’s login page is an example of a z-pattern

Size

People will often read larger content first. Large differences in content sizing will typically override reading patterns and order. In the below example, most users will read the title “Mr.Simon Collison” first, even though there is text above it. This is a great example of using size to highlight important information. But use size sparingly. If everything on your page starts off large, it’s hard to use size to emphasize. As a rule, keep your body copy to a 12pt-14pt scale.

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Space 

Spacing is an important but often ignored part of creating a balanced visual hierarchy.  It’s the idea of leaving white or blank space around an element. Failing to allow some amount of blank space can leave your site looking overcrowded and confusing, drowning your users in too much information. Using white space allows your users’ eye a place to rest and a path to travel through the design. Leaving space allows you separate and organize elements on your site. Good spacing allows you to group elements together and isolate focal points. In the example below, the designer leaves plenty of space between and around each section, creating a clean and balanced design.

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Color

People love color. Our eye is drawn to certain colors ensuring the content is hard to miss. Clever use of color on your site can help highlight important information and be a visually interesting way to differentiate between elements on a page. Your brain naturally enjoys things that contrast, so your eyes will focus on objects that stand out due to their difference in color from the surrounding objects.

 

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Fonts

Typographic hierarchy is its own discipline. The way you handle your copy has a big impact on the overall design of your site.  Different aspects of the fonts can really make or break the design such as the category used, decorative, script, sans-serif, serif or script or even the use of uppercase, lowercase, bold or italic, the width of the strokes, etc. In the example below, the designer uses different font weights and italicization to draw the eye to the words “the perfect teas to keep you warm.” This combined with good word placement creates a more dynamic reading experience.  
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When designing a website, an understanding of visual hierarchy will not only allow you to create a visually appealing design, it will also help you determine how to group information, determine what is important and overall improve the flow and usability of your site. 

 

 

 

Typography On The Web

When it comes to creating a good web design, communication is key. You want your users to be able to understand and navigate your site as quickly as possible. One of the key factors in creating great communication on the web is typography. Typography is the study of text, with the goal of making it as readable as possible. By optimizing your text by using typography, you also optimize the readability, accessibility, and usability of your site.

Keep the Number of Fonts to a Minimum.

Having too many fonts on a site can create a messy and unprofessional feel. A good rule of thumb is to just have two fonts, three max. When you add a bunch of different fonts, they start to compete for attention, ruining the readability of your site. Choose a body font and a header font and use those consistently throughout your site. There is no good reason why your homepage should have a different font from your checkout page. Keeping your font consistent will help the flow and UI of your site.

Example of competing fonts

Example of how too many fonts start to compete for attention.

Line Length 

By controlling the number of characters on a line, you can increase the readability of your website. The layout of your site should not decide on the length of your text, it should be a matter of legibility. By following this simple rule of thumb, you can insure the readability of your site.

You should have around 60 characters per line for a legible experience. Having the right amount of characters can help create a neat, sorted look. This is the rule for desktops, for mobile devices you should limit characters to 30-40 per line.

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Ideal character length for the web.

 

Use a Typeface that Works at Various Sizes. 

Your users are going to be accessing your site from different screen sizes and resolutions, so it’s important to choose a font that works well at different sizes and weights. It helps to maintain readability. Some fonts look fine at larger sizes but are unreadable at smaller sizes.

Example of fonts at smaller scale

Avoid all Caps 

All Caps are fine when you are using it in a limited context. For example, logos and headings. But if your text is around four or five sentences, don’t capitalize it. It greatly slows down reading compared to lower-case type.

Be aware of the space between lines.

In typography, this is referred to as leading. By increasing the leading, you are adding to the white-space between your lines of text. Using proper leading you can increase comprehension up to 20%. As a rule, leading should be about 30% more than the character height for good readability.

Make Sure to Have Sufficient Color Contrast

Make sure your text color contrasts with your background color. If the colors are too similar, it lowers the users’ ability to scan and read your copy.  The W3C recommends the following contrast ratios for body text and image text:

  • Small text should have a contrast ratio of at least 4.5:1 against its background.
  • Large text (at 14 pt bold/18 pt regular and up) should have a contrast ratio of at least 3:1 against its background.

Once you choose your color, be sure to test it. 

Conclusion

Good typography can help your website feel crisp and polished. Bad typography can make your site confusing and cluttered. By following these rules and making good typography choices you can maximize legibility, understanding, and readability of your website.

Want more graphic design tips? Check out our Graphic Design Tips for Making A Website.

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Graphic Design Tips For Making a Website.

Designing a website is a daunting task. Even in today’s web landscape of pre-made themes and so-called “foul-proof” design tools, a basic understanding of graphic design can help push a site to greatness, while a lack of understanding can ruin a perfectly good theme. Here are some tips and terms to keep your site looking polished and modern.

Layout

The layout is the arrangement of elements on a page, usually referring to the specific placement of text, images, and style. Layouts can make or break your site. A good layout can help make the site user-friendly, highlight specific content, and push traffic in the right direction. Bad layouts will confuse your users, causing your message to be lost.

Layouts in web design need to be flexible and adaptable. Remember that users will be accessing your site from different devices or browsers. A layout that looks great on a large 1920×1440 screen may end up looking cramped and busy on someone’s iPhone. Even different browsers can have an effect on your layout, as they use different resolutions and process code differently. Web layouts cannot be one size fits all. 

Responsive Design

The number of mobile users across the globe is now estimated at over 3.7 billion and growing. The United States is the third-largest mobile market. According to Pew Research, virtually all Americans (over 95%) currently own a cell phone. Having a website that functions and looks good on mobile is essential. This is known as having a responsive design. This means that a responsive site layout will flex and/or grow depending on the user’s screen size. Good responsive sites will pay special attention to making sure images have specialized sizes for different devices and content resizes in a way that is pleasing without losing functionality. 

Website responsiveness can also affect your Google ranking. Google tests to see how responsive your site is. They may rank your site lower if it is not optimized for mobile users. Your site may even disappear completely if a user is searching for it on a mobile device.  

Hierarchy

Hierarchy is the design process of ordering web elements by importance. Where this differs from the layout, but there is an important difference. Say you have your layout done and you stand back and notice that nothing really jumps out at you. None of your content “pops”. It might not be a problem with the layout or content, but with your visual hierarchy.

Good visual hierarchy will help break up your content into more readable chunks. It helps the user identify what is most important by arranging the content clearly. There are many different ways to do this. The most obvious is to use scale. “Can you make it bigger?” is one of the most common phrases a designer hears. But there are other ways to improve your hierarchy; such as color, space/texture and finally, an understanding of typography.

Typography

Typography is a discipline that has evolved out of the printing press era but today is an important part of web design. Good graphic designers pay special attention to things like font pairing, kerning, line length, line space, and contrast. This all contributes to better readability on your site.

Typography isn’t just choosing the right font. Typography is, in essence, the art and technique of arranging type. It’s central to the skills of a designer and is about much more than choosing a font.  Many great sites have been let down by a poor understanding of typography. A few simple rules to follow when starting out are:

  • Do not use more than two font families on a site
  • Make sure the same font is used across the entire site
  • When emphasizing something in a paragraph, just bold it. Don’t underline,  Make it bigger or  MAKE IT ALL CAPS.  It throws off the hierarchy. 
  • Keep it simple. A clean san-serif font like Arial is always a safe bet. 

Want to learn more about typography? Check out our Typography on the Web guide.

Color Palette

Color. Simple to understand, hard to master. When it comes to web design color must be used carefully. An understanding of color theory can help you choose what colors will work best on your site. Tons of research has been done on the feeling certain colors evoke in people. There is a reason restaurants use red and financial institutes’ logos are blue. Red makes people feel hungry, while blue evokes a sense of trust and stability.

That being said, choosing a beautiful palette is not all there is to color. You must keep in mind things like contrast, complementary colors and the cultural context around each color. The last one is particularly important when it comes to web design. For example, making the cancel button green and the confirmation button red will just confuse your users and lead to frustration.

UI

UI can be one of those terms that people use but don’t understand. UI stands for User Interface. UI is the design of the interface of your product with the focus on maximizing usability and user experience. It basically encompasses all the topics discussed above and all these disciplines are used to serve the UI. But unlike say, good typography and color; good UI will go unnoticed. The goal of user interface design is to make the user’s interaction as simple and efficient as possible. To have the user achieve their goal easily without mistakes. 

So if good UI is unnoticeable, how do you check if you achieved it? When critiquing your UI –or anyone’s for that matter — ask the following questions

  • Can the user complete their tasks with little difficulty?
  • Does the interface allow the user to complete tasks in a timely manner?
  • After leaving a website, how likely will the user be able to remember how to use it the next time they visit?
  • What steps does the interface take to lessen the chance of user error, and how do they let the users correct an error?
  • Does the user enjoy interacting with the design?

User testing is also a very useful tool in UI design.  The more people interact with your interface, the better. Proper usage analytics can reveal differences in how users navigate your website. By monitoring these analytics you’ll see if there is a step in the process users get stuck on or if they are spending a lot of time looking for specific information or pages.  Once you have this data, you can go back and find a better solution. 

UX 

User experience refers to the singular and accumulated experiences that occur for users as a consequence of them interacting with an object in a given context. User experience is a design philosophy where all design decisions are made to enhance the user’s satisfaction and create a certain feeling when using your product. 

Due to their similarities, UX and UI are commonly confused with one another. It helps to think of UI as the discipline that reacts to an established product and as trying to create a visual language for said product. UX, on the other hand, is a discipline that creates the context in which the product will be formed. UX designers are looking at factors, such as how users expect established design language, what their competitors are doing and how the website will navigate from page to page.

UI is visual, while UX is data driven. UX is less concerned with the look and feel of a site and more concerned with how it functions; especially in regards to how users will interact with it. UX design starts at the very beginning of the design process and asks the question of how should this website work, unlike UI which is more concerned with how it looks

For example, say that a travel site needs a page for users to book a ticket online. UX designers are responsible for deciding what information needs to be on the page, how users are going to find it, and if it needs links to other pages or if other pages need to link to it. They will also research how other ticket bookers work on other sites and possible structural approaches.  With the UX design done, it then passes to the UI phase. Using the data from UX, UI designers will create something visually using all the disciplines discussed before. Now that has been established, how can you create good UX?        

To create a good UX, you must know your users and what kind of experience you want them to have. Ask the following questions when designing: 

  • Who are my users? 
  • Why would they be coming to this site? 
  • What are they trying to do on the site?
  • What information are they trying to find?
  • How am I making sure that they can find it? 
  • How do I want them to feel when visiting the page?
  • In what context are they interacting with my site? 
  • What is the problem or need we are aiming to solve or improve? 
  • What does the site need to do? 

The answers to these questions should inform any design decision you make. Great UX is the foundation of any great design. When applying any of the design lessons from above, make sure to keep these answers in the back of your mind. All the other terms and disciplines discussed are just tools that you can use to improve your UX.