Jen McKinnon
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What Does Optimal UX Design Look Like in 2018

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The user experience for any given website has a huge impact on the functionality of the site and, ultimately, the number of users you attract. It’s an incredibly important facet of any digital marketing campaign and can also have a strong effect on SEO. The trends and preferences of day to day website traffic are constantly changing and evolving as technologies develop, and it’s important to stay on top of these UX movements. Take a look at what our designers believe you should consider in order to optimise your website in 2018.

Content is King

In 2018, what you say is far more important than how it looks, so if you can employ a design that complements your content, you will be winning this year. Your content should be easily accessible and should be front and centre when it comes to your website design. The design of your website should be there to facilitate the clear comprehension of the message you’re sending on each page. This can be accomplished with typeface, images, headings and signposts. Techy features are a great addition but only if they don’t hinder what many are now calling the CX (content experience). A good website will find the right balance between content and technology. Clutter is a sin when it comes to web design. You should always ensure that large slabs of content are broken up into more palatable bite-sized pieces, making use of the ‘white space’ to ensure that larger passages aren’t confronting to the reader.

Keeping it Personal

Personalisation is transforming digital marketing and it’s certainly here to stay. We have already seen the simple personalisation of email marketing take off in recent years, so much so that now it’s to be expected. The next trend to emerge takes that even further by using the visitor’s previous web exchanges to form the basis for further instantaneous targeting. Conversational interfaces, like the ever-growing Chatbot technology, allows businesses to provide their customers with personalised, informal and immediate interaction with the brand.

But where is it heading?

Technology has become emotionally intertwined with everyday life, so users are beginning to expect more human qualities online. The highly interactive technology we see emerging today is continuing to advance, with the future projected to incorporate the use of graphical elements, such as images, videos, buttons and menus. This is said to more accurately mimic the universal human communication we experience from day to day over technological platforms.

The bottom line is that websites need to become more intelligent when it comes to how users typically interact with technology, and then reproduce that exchange for their own brand. This could include the capacity to respond to the user’s age, altering font sizes and typeface to optimise the experience for the individual; or, perhaps, their location, shifting the interface to only include information relevant to the user’s geographical position.

UX

Make it Quick!

The world has never been as fast-paced as it is today. People want information fast! We, as a human race, have become inherently impatient, so the UX of your website must take that into account. The average attention span is less than 8 seconds, making it integral that your UX reduces friction in order to save users time. However, it is also vital to ensure the functionality of your site remains intact, which is why it’s such a balancing act for designers.

You can combat this challenge by using common navigation patterns, designing with specific anticipated user pathways in mind; pop-up suggestions, predicted based on prior visitor activity; and context-specific features, which are enabled only when users need them. A linear design-experience that has a beginning, middle and end will also improve the swiftness of the visitor’s journey.

Raise Your Voice

Voice Search is the way of the future, with Siri and Google Assistant becoming widely used every day virtual helpers. 20% of all mobile searches are now performed using the voice search function. Especially since the accuracy of voice-activated interfaces has improved to 90%, this is an important technology to capitalise on. Whether it’s through optimising your SEO for voice search or making adaptations to your site to enable voice functions, get in touch with WME to see how your business can incorporate voice technology into your website.

Augmented Overlays

Augmented Reality, or AR, has burst into the mainstream and is showing no signs of retreat. This technology allows for the customisation of real-world imagery. It is predicted that all screen technology will eventually be replaced by lenses that provide an AR interface. You can stay ahead of the movement by finding ways to incorporate AR into your website. The most popular way that retailers have adapted the technology to date has enabled provided a graphic overlay so customers can see products in their own space before making a purchase. This technology could benefit furniture and appliance merchants to clothing vendors, garden landscaping companies to interior designers.

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Body Talk

Your body could be the new key to your favourite websites, as biometric authentication becomes more accessible. While this isn’t new technology, this year we will see it trickle more consistently onto the web, as biometrics become the norm for identity management and security. This distinct and inimitable form of personal identification will go a long way to shortening the customer journey on your website, as it bypasses the necessity for standard login conditions. Physiological or behavioural characteristics, such as voice or facial recognition, fingerprints or iris scan, can easily replace the traditional 8-character password, opening the gateway for instantaneous access to password-controlled websites.

The Beginning of the End: Forget Those Passwords for Good!

Also threatening to replace old-school passwords are verification codes. Enhancing security and, as a result, trust within your consumers, verification could be performed using unique codes sent by websites to your connected devices. For example, a text message could deliver your fresh access code, or even a simple captcha may do the trick! Users are often charged with remembering up to (and often over!) hundreds of passwords to complete their daily online interactions. With verification codes, we are likely to start freeing up some of our grey cells used to store this stagnant password data.

Mobile Typesetting

Mobile responsiveness and optimisation has been on the cards when talking about UX for a while, but now we’re drilling down further. The typography, colours and font sizes that make your desktop site look schmick, may not actually translate that well to mobile. In 2018, designers will pay more heed to the versatility of the design, ensuring that the content is clear to read across both platforms. This is all in a bid to keep the message at the forefront and the focus on clarity.

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By Jen McKinnon


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