What Would Your Experience Be If You Could Only See the Code instead of Design?
When we browse online, we rarely consider how the design affects our habits and behaviours.
The actual content on the websites is what matters, right?
Well, you might be surprised how much you are influenced by the way a website is structured and laid out. The importance of UX (User Experience) in web design has been a focus for many of the world’s largest organisations, and for good reason.
A frictional and seamless user experience can mean millions in added revenue – users today want to find what they are looking for easily. If you want to provide truly exceptional service, you must anticipate the user’s needs before they even discover them and guide them to the next logical step on your website.
Why is design so important?
Well, the best way to answer that question is to see what would happen if we were to take design from the equation. Theoretically, a website could function without design and still provide the essential information and functionality that the user needs. But how would that look like?
Navigating a website without the User Interface
We are so used to having a meticulously planned user interface (UI) that makes our browsing experience easy, it is hard to imagine how we would navigate the web without clickable buttons and links that are placed in easy to spot areas on the website. Suffice to say, without a user interface, browsing the web would become all but impossible for most of us.
You see, underneath the flashy graphics and beautiful design lies a backend code that functions under a set of strict rules. When you push a button or take any action on the user interface, that action creates a command which is then sent back to the system, which in turn fulfills the request.
Even simple actions such as going to a different page become a very technical process in the backend – you would need to input a specific text command and know the exact URL of the page you wanted to reach. And there is a good reason why.
Most websites operate on a strict set of rules that rely on a specific chain of events and actions to function. The user interface actually drives much of the functionality since displaying the design and navigation features correctly and in the right order is as important as anything else. So while browsing a website without a user interface is possible and is used for testing by coders, it would not be easy.
You would need to know specific commands to input, and even one small typo would return an error message. Sorting information without a navigational interface would be practically inconceivable or at least very inconvenient – you would have to find all of the exact links you want to access and input them manually. Browsing a website in this way would not only be very time consuming, but would also completely change your user experience.
And that’s not even the worst part.
The real trouble begins with a more complicated website such as an e-commerce store or a website for making appointments. If filling up your shopping basket on Amazon can be done in just minutes, the same task would be doomed on a website without a user interface. You would need to obtain an ID for the product that you want to want to purchase, then find the right command for adding the product into your cart and repeat for each item that you want to purchase. Not to mention adding your billing and shipping information, which would be even more difficult!
Why UX is so important
We can be very glad that web development has grown in the direction that it has. Companies quickly understood that if they wanted to have people come and stay on their websites, they had to make sure that the layout and design were clear and crafted in a way that is as convenient and easy to use as possible.
What is more, users need to be guided in the right direction, whether consuming more content relevant to them, purchasing more items that match their interests, or simply navigating a website in a way that makes the most sense.
Once you realise this, it becomes clear that the front end of a website is what really matters – without the UI enjoying the countless benefits that the web can bring would be reserved to the select few with the knowledge and patience to navigate the backend code of websites.
But even though the most innovative websites of today provide a very convenient and intuitive interface for users to navigate, there is still plenty of room for making this experience even better as technology advances and our browsing habits evolve.