When it comes to designing UX, it’s a good idea to take a proactive stance.
This means anticipating everything a user is likely to do, or want to do, and providing a simple way to make it possible. It means making the use of your site as effortless as you can make it, and making the experience efficient for the user.
Good UX design results in good UX, which in turn will reward you (or your clients) in many ways; usually increased page views, more social sharing of your pages, better page rank, and possibly also more sales and conversions.
On the other hand, bad UX design will have exactly the opposite effect, and users will be more likely to look elsewhere, only coming back to your site if there’s no other choice, and certainly not recommending it to others. When the UX of your site is poor, users feel that you don’t care about them and their needs.
Keep it simple
Users shouldn’t ever have to “figure out” how to do what they want, it should be completely obvious how to do it. One thing you should never do is hide important features away, requiring some kind of metaphorical voodoo (like having to click on an icon) to get them to appear. It’s different if there’s a well-known and accepted standard convention already in place (such as the now ubiquitous “hamburger menu”), but otherwise you need to be cautious about being too creative.
When standards exist, use them
It’s not a problem to be original, but you should try to stick with accepted standards so that you don’t run into the problem of users having to figure things out. This means, for example, that the navigation should be at the top, on the left, in tabs, or a combination of these things.
If you’re using hidden navigation, then the means of revealing that navigation system must be located at the top left of the page, and should be easy to identify (such as by using a hamburger menu icon, or even a text directive).
A search box belongs in the top right corner, and moving it elsewhere will create confusion. If you don’t have room to have the search box always visible, the icon for it should be a magnifying glass (nobody knows why, but that’s the most usual convention, even though it has nothing to do with searching), a pair of binoculars, or a button with the word “search” on it.
Don’t add gimmicks
Plenty of things look cool, and that’s great. But if the only reason they are there is because they look cool, and they don’t serve the needs of your user, then they’re in the way of efficiency and you should get rid of them.
Featured image, UX design image via Shutterstock.