Before jumping into the syllabus, my course instructor for UX/UI Design gave us a grave warning that went something like this: You will never be able to look at a website the same way again. If you’re someone who enjoys browsing sites and wants to keep it that way, seriously consider not taking this course.
I found it humorous at the time, and a few students chuckled at his wryness. But now, more than a year later, I totally get what he meant.
Undergoing an education in UX/UI Design can cause one’s brain to instantly analyze every site or product they encounter. Call it an occupational hazard. However, when called upon, this perspective can benefit any web app, in as little time as a day.
Here are 3 benefits just a day of UX/UI Design can bring to any web app:
1. 85% percent of usability issues can be discovered with just 5 user tests
UX/UI Designers are strong allies for users on a site. They’re not only well-versed in research methods used to study user behaviour, but they’re also keen observers of human-technology interaction. If the designer is able to observe just 5 test participants while they interact with a product, up to about 85% of usability issues can be uncovered.
Depending on the scale and complexity of the web app, user testing sessions might take longer to plan and execute. However, small-scale testing of specific pages or flows of the app can be carried out more frequently. Even testing with just one user can bring out a third of usability issues existing on the design.
Hence, bringing together a designer with a couple testers can help identify the most pressing problem areas to fix in order to improve your users’ experience on your app.
(Why you only need to test with 5 users by Nielsen Norman Group)
2. Reduce visual inconsistencies and harmonize the entire app
A designer’s sharp eye and knack for organization can help your business identify and put together a visual style guide to polish off the entire app. Method and art both come into play when a designer creates a standard design language for your app to follow. No more text headers of different sizes, or buttons of a 1000 shades of grey ;).
A library of common visual elements to draw from and reuse across a site will make the site look uniform and professional, instilling trust in users. Furthermore, designers draw upon colour theory and visual design concepts to reinforce a company’s brand identity throughout its app. A simple style guide can be put together in less than a day, but its contents can be referenced and built upon for months.
Here’s a helpful site I came across that anyone (even non-designers) can use to create a style guide- DesignGapp.
3. Rectify crucial errors that defy web standards and turn users off
An experienced designer could point out right away technical and/or visual flaws that harm your users’ experience. If an element a user encounters frequently around the web (for example the close button on the top-right corner of pop-up’s) is suddenly placed out of their conventional place on your site, it will be disorienting and frustrating to the user. Often, it is better to stick to conventional design than reinvent the wheel, as humans are creatures of habit, and we like the familiar.
There are web and UI standards to follow that help improve user experience, and that address the 7 factors of UX. It could be as simple as increasing font size by 2px for better readability, or adding an undo (cmd+z) option to certain actions. Just like an editor/copywriter can weed out grammatical or spelling errors in language, a designer can help hone in on technical aspects to quickly improve your app.
Now I’m not saying that you can get a site makeover in a day; it takes time to create thoughtful design, and years to develop expertise. Design is both a creative and technical skill, and I wouldn’t rush anyone on this job (albeit there are some who work better under timed pressures).
Like they say, good things take time, and the cumulative result of design thinking and practice adds great value to a site (on average, every dollar invested in UX brings 100 in return.) However, these are just some of the ways (of many) that recruiting a designer’s unique lens can benefit your web app, and therefore business, in less time than you might think.