Helping brands forge an exceptional user experience (UX) for their customers is at the heart of our mission and product, and it’s impossible to discuss UX without also mentioning user interface (UI).
The main arm behind the production of memorable digital customer experiences, save for web development and programming, UX/UI is a sector in its own right, and deserves a hefty amount of credit.
This is not to undermine the other disciplines that contribute to experience development, such as marketing, merchandising, analytics, etc.
Nonetheless, we’d like to spotlight the UX/UI discipline — and what better way is there to delve into this topic than with the first-hand insights of a UX/UI designer? So I sat down with Fanny Pourcenoux, our very own head of UI design.
And Fanny did not disappoint. I was able to derive heaps of insight into the practice of UX/UI. Aspiring designers ought to take note.
What are some of your go-to UX/UI elements/tricks?
It’s very important to keep in mind that every website is unique, and has a dedicated audience, experience, product range, brand story… Here at Contentsquare we work with international brands in many verticals: retail, luxury, banking, automotive… The goals and challenges are always different and you can’t apply the same UX/UI best practices for all your customers. Based on the global client knowledge we’ve acquired over the past 7 years and our daily handling of our data, my team is able to quickly find and suggest unique & personalized recommendations from Contentsquare insights.
What are some of the biggest changes you’ve noticed in website design in the past 5 to10 years?
Mobile first is the biggest, of course, from a global perspective, but there are also two other big must-haves.
The first one concerns fast & easy navigation. Visitors are more and more demanding when it comes to having a fluid and intuitive navigation. Today this is perhaps the most important goal for an e-commerce website: to facilitate access to menu/search and cross-category/products navigation.
The second is about immersive experiences. In the same way that brick-and-mortar shops are doing their best to make you live/feel an in-store experience, e-commerce websites are striving to offer an immersive & secure digital experience. Since you are only 1 click away from their competitors, brands have to show you quickly their most popular products, and leverage images and video to show to wear/use them. All this in an environment where your personal & payment data is completely safe (think visible and meaningful reassurance elements). Customer reviews are also a very important decision factor in the buyer journey.
What are the main trends you’re noticing now?
There are you classic trends such as visual signifiers that encourage scrolling, sticky nav or CTAs on mobile, cross-navigation links and blocks…
There are more and more bots, too: to guide you, to assist you with purchases, to answer to your questions… Shorter checkout and forms are also popular. Everyone knows it’s often the most painful part of the purchase journey, and we’ve seen a lot of improvement in form length, social and guest login options, interactive and playful checkout experiences…
What are some of your biggest pet peeves in UX?
Filters! A lot of choices, but a small area to display them. How do you make the best choices to ensure they are easy to use. Cross-selling too —what content to showcase, how does it fit in with the overall goal of the page, where to position it, etc… Each case is different and represents a unique challenge.
How has data transformed the job of a UX/UI designer?
Before using data, UX/UI jobs were only based on UX laws, UI trends and user feedback.
Now it’s so much more powerful!! You can directly access the behavior of thousands of visitors on your website and analyze their behavior patterns in seconds. You can stop relying on intuition to optimize, and instead identify actual pain points to improve and solve. We also have benchmark data for every vertical to be able to compare behavioral data with averages before prioritizing actions.
What advice do you have for aspiring UX/UI designers?
To be passionate about digital. Spend a lot of time every day browsing international sites and apps to prospect/ buy items and services (from a dress to a plane ticket, to booking an appointment with your doctor or hairdresser). Read articles about the latest tech innovations and trends, cultural preferences when it comes to digital, take part in events with other UX and UI designers so you can share knowledge and learn from your peers.
And don’t be afraid to be wrong. You can have good intuition but “without data, it’s just another opinion.” Identifying the best optimization opportunities based on data has to be your daily motivation.
Ease of use, an intuitive navigation and indicators of safe payments are key UX/UI tricks that will elevate your user experience. While some UX/UI best practices are everlasting, or at least seem to be, many emerging and existing ones should be taken with a grain of salt. This is to say that trends change, along with user expectations. But most importantly, the way your own site visitors navigate and interact with your site can change — sometimes suddenly and abnormally. Luckily, you can make timely UX/UI changes with a secure AI-based alerts system in place.
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