The 10 Commandments Of Good UX Design

When it comes to the design of any website or application, user experience should be at the top of your priority list. Most people are tech-smart enough these days to know they don’t have to put up with bad UX and one of your competitors is only a page away with a website that looks the part and works flawlessly.

This is especially true for eCommerce websites and even more so when it comes to the mobile internet. You can’t afford to make life difficult for people if you expect them to cough up their hard earned cash for your goods. All it takes is a click too many or a contact form refresh and you may as well be telling them to take their money elsewhere. This isn’t just bad UX, it’s a terrible business plan and suicide for your eCommerce store as the standard of UX design improves every year.

If you’re new to designing for user experience, this article will give you everything you need to get your UX journey started, while even user experience pros will benefit from constantly reminding themselves of the 10 commandments of good UX design.

#1: It’s About The User, Not You

This golden rule of UX design shouldn’t need explaining, but it can be hard to stay impartial when you’re passionate about a project and the solutions you come up with. You have to be able to take that step back though and remember the only person that matters is the end user.

#2: Love The Result, Not The Method

Part of this is learning to love the result, not the method. Users don’t care how many hours you put into the UX, how intuitive your design or sick the code may be – all they care about is the end result. This needs to be your priority too, which means taking pride in the overall user experience ahead of everything else.

#3: If It Needs Instructions, It Doesn’t Work

Instruction manuals were never cool and if users need to click a help button or visit an FAQ page to figure out your design, you have got it all wrong. Your design has to be the user guide, instructing people what to do with visual signals – and this is particularly important for mobile sites or applications where there is limited screen space.

#4: Keep It Simple

Keep things simple and create a design that communicates functionality – especially when it comes to navigation or taking action. Apple got this spot on with iOS7, refining call and function buttons into a minimal, yet informative design that helps users choose from a number of call options in a short space of time (a matter of rings for an incoming call).

#5: Give Them Directions

You also needs to guide users through your application, with a clear sense of direction running throughout your design and a mastery of calls to action. Arrows can be a wonderful tool for helping users get to where they need to go and you can get creative with how you implement them into your design.

#6: Be Unique, But Be Consistent

When you use design to communicate direction or functionality, consistency is vital. Not only does each design need to be consistent throughout, but you should be mindful of changes for updates – especially if you have a unique UX. Big changes can alienate users who know and trust your platform so aim for gradual improvements that users can easily pick up.

#7: Keep Them Updated

Communication is key and that includes keeping your users up to date from the minute they land on your page. Use client side validation to give live feedback on forms and confirm every little detail along the buying process. Tell customers when their payment is received, when their item is shipped and when they can expect it to arrive. Keep them on an emailing list (with consent) and update them on any changes to your website, services or policies.

#8: Make It Quick

Speed kills, but in this case a lack of it will spell the end for your UX design and you need to do everything you can to keep users moving fast. This requires a fine balance between killer features and making sure you don’t ask too much from browsers or devices – especially for mobile. But it also takes intuitive design, all the way down to the structure of your site or app and a navigation that gets users from A to B in a flash.

#9: Remember You’re Designing For Humans

With so much talk about optimising for mobile devices it can be easy to forget we’re not designing for smartphones or any other device. We’re designing for humans; real-life people that use these devices and its our job to understand the potential and limitations of the technology they’re using.

#10: Listen To Your Audience

A large number of these real-life people will be your target audience and they will have lots to say about their frustrations with technology, design and UX. Use this to address the major obstacles in your project and do everything you can to solve their UX gripes – especially the ones your rivals are guilty of. And, of course, you need to listen to your audience to better yourself and create better products for the future.

Got anything to add?

I’d love to hear from any UX gurus or creatives out there who have something to add to this list. If you have any suggestions, drop us a comment bellow and help us make this article even better for your fellow designers.