Websites are far more complex than in recent years.  What was once a one way and very static medium has quickly evolved into an experience that is interactive and rich.  Why?  Ever changing technologies accompanied by changes in customer expectations will continue to be the driving force behind web design.

But the one thing that continues to hinge on the success of a website is how it is perceived by the end user.  Designers will always ask themselves at various stages of design whether it offers value, is user friendly and whether the experience is a positive one.

But the questions do not stop at this stage as these same questions will be in the mindset of the visitor and will form the basis of their decision on whether they wish to continue using the website.

The end user now expects the same functionality and beauty they receive in the physical world and it is the role of the designer to ensure this happens.

As previously mentioned user experience (UX) designers will target a large proportion of their efforts learning about how a user may feel when using the website.  They will look at a range of measures such as:

  • Usability – Is the website easy to use and navigate around?
  • Add value – Will the website have a number of additional features to enhance the experience such as Twitter and Facebook feeds, calendars, weather updates for a travel website etc
  • Efficiency – Ability to perform tasks with ease

They will also look at sub sections of the website such as the e-commerce element to study whether the checkout process is easy to follow.  Once the user has made the decision to make a purchase and ready to take the final step the process should therefore be easy with their hands held every step of the way.

Failure to meet the needs of the user at any stage can lead to a frustrated user who could potentially choose not to make a purchase and go to a website where the user experience is a positive one.

In addition to this users are now accessing the internet in a number of ways; mobile devices, smart TV’s, and traditional methods such as desktop computers and laptops.  To complicate matters further users have more than one type of browser available to them and varying internet connections.  Regardless of the method used the user experience should remain the same and designers, as part of their testing will ensure this is the case.

It has become very apparent that designers go much wider than simply adding an aesthetic appeal to a website.  With their attention to detail and eye for error they will create the user experience, challenging it every step of the way so that the user does not have to.

With all these changes, the websites that continue to stand out are those that are easy to use and make the experience a pleasant one.

The driving factor behind website build of today is one that meets the needs of the user and gives them the experience that they crave.