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The Role of UX Research in UI/UX Design

UX Research: Learning from & Designing for Your Customers

When you are designing, redesigning, or simply tinkering with your eCommerce site, improving its UI/UX should be a central concern. When you offer a smooth user experience (UX) and an intuitive user interface (UI), your customers will appreciate it. They will reward you with purchases, and will do so repeatedly. This is also why good UI/UX is such an important driving force for conversions.

UI/UX customer flow chart

This blog will provide a brief introduction to the role that UX research plays when designing an eCommerce site. It will give you a sneak preview of some of the methodologies we use to gather data about customers, which then informs our UI/UX design process.

Defining UI & UX in More Detail

User experience (UX) describes the emotions that a person experiences whilst using your website. It is dictated by how easy and enjoyable your site is to use, and therefore by aspects such as:

  • Ease of navigation
  • Page load speed
  • Personalized product recommendations
  • Content quality

User interface (UI) describes the visual elements that the user will interact with whilst using your website. UX design is all about how the site feels, whereas UI design is about how the site actually looks. Examples of UI elements include:

  • Menu bars
  • CTA Buttons
  • Visual indicators (progress bars, tooltips, pop-ups)
  • Font size, style, and colour

Considering that you experience any given site through the elements that you see and interact with, UI and UX design are closely related. They must, however, be treated as separate practices. Before you can think about designing the interface (UI), you must first identify and solve user problems (UX).

UX Research: How Do You “Research” User Experience?

Whilst there are certainly best practices that should be followed, there is no set way to create a good user experience. Much of it depends on your customers and how they interact with and feel about your website. That’s why UX research comes in.

Customer Feedback

You must be aware of what your consumers are saying about your site. Being able to take their criticism and adjust accordingly is a great opportunity to discover ways to improve.

Using single-ease questions (SEQs) and net promoter score surveys (NPS) will give you easy-to-read data that should inform your design process. It can also indicate when your updates have benefitted your customer or if they are hindering their experience.

Session Recordings

Using software that records user sessions will give you insight into how people interact with your site. More importantly, it can show you at what stage they give up on a transaction. If you understand the usability problems that are frustrating customers, you can start to solve them.

For example, if you notice that your users click or hover over certain phrases or images that are not clickable, it may be useful to turn those areas into internal links or buttons. Creating a smooth user experience is all about matching a user’s expectations with reality. When these two are not aligned, that is when your site’s conversion rate will begin to suffer.

user testing

A/B testing

A/B testing (or split testing) is a great way to test different designs to see which one works better. It involves presenting two or more versions of the same webpage to your users and seeing which one encourages more conversions/desired actions. 

A/B testing can be used to test something as big as the overall layout of a website to something as small as the colour of a single button. It’s a great way to find out what works best for your users and, in turn, what will be most profitable for your business.

Broken Link Audit

It is a well-known fact that broken links can be damaging to your SEO efforts. What is less talked about, however, is the impact they could have on your site’s user experience. Given that UX is highly dependent on ease of navigation, you cannot afford to show your customer a 404 error code whenever they have clicked on a product or service they want to buy.

You can use SEO analysis tools such as SEMrush to run an audit of your website to find all your broken links. You can then check if those links can be fixed or if they need to be removed and redirected. 

Free Online Tools for Your Business

Developing New UI/UX Features

Once you have conducted user research and identified any issues, you must now develop the UI/UX design solutions that will help to rectify them. Even if your changes are informed by UX research data, it is important to remember that you will not get it right every time. That’s why you must constantly monitor performance.

Only by tracking any changes you have implemented will you be able to see the effect they have. Has your new checkout flow layout led to a decrease in shopping cart abandonment rate and an increase in conversions? Has your new menu bar led to more pages per session? Alternatively, if your change has had a negative impact, it’s time to go back to the drawing board.

Using a UI/UX Design Agency

Whenever a client approaches us to improve their website’s UI/UX, the first thing we always do is conduct an in-depth UX audit. This involves employing various UX research techniques – including those discussed in this blog – to uncover any usability issues that could be hindering performance. The next step is to create tailor-made design solutions that will remedy these issues, all of which will be clearly laid out in our audit report. 

We will then give our clients the chance to opt into our ongoing UI/UX design services. This will give them access to a steady flow of UI/UX fixes that will ensure their website continues to satisfy and, thus, convert their customers. Importantly, every single design decision we make will be informed by user research data. 

We are a London and Dubai-based digital marketing agency that specializes in growing eCommerce stores in the UAE. Contact us now at +971 58 572 4299‬ or schedule a 30-minute discovery call and find out how we can help your online business.