UX Design Goes Beyond Aesthetics: Implementing Design Best Practices

Design team collaborating session looking at a laptop screen.

What Makes Good UX Design?

When considering UX design most people believe the aesthetics of the design to be of utmost importance. While they do play a role, there are many other factors that are just as crucial in creating excellent UX Design. These include, but are not limited to, visual hierarchies, site architecture, content tonality, and user journeys. A lot of these elements aid in the overall aesthetic of the design so they are essential ideas to keep in mind from the beginning. 

Visual Hierarchies

The first of many elements to be considered are visual hierarchies. These are organizational patterns that help establish what information is the most pertinent for users. Simple changes in color, typography, sizes, and more can help differentiate which information should get the most attention. Good UX design is all about getting the consumer to their end goal as easily as possible. A majority of users have short attention spans, so it is imperative for information to be quickly accessible. Choosing colors that stand out from the background is an easy way to direct attention. For example, typically copy headers immediately set the tonality of how an experience will be and the color is a key feature that must also align with the messaging. Punchy, attention-grabbing colors such as red exert feelings of confidence while cool colors like blue give off feelings of calm. 

Larger font clearly directs a user to the most influential information. Microcopy or the copy written in smaller fonts is typically the most pertinent information, however, the eye is always drawn to the larger font sizes. This can distract from the information that the user is looking for. Color placement is also a part of visual hierarchies within headers and copy. Selecting larger font sizes and legible typeface additionally enhances the critical accessibility factor by making a copy more engaging for users with all abilities. These seemingly small changes make a large difference.

Site Architecture

Site architecture, organizing content in an effective and meaningful way, is another critical element. When remembering that good UX allows a user to find what they need easily, it makes sense that organization would play a key role. It is good to remember that less is often better and having too much on a page can be distracting and even confusing. 

The ability to preview certain information can allow someone to figure out what they are looking for much faster than having to click on multiple links throughout a site. Ensuring your website has room for growth is another important part of site architecture. In most cases, websites will have additional information that needs to be added, and it is key to assess a website and collaborate with stakeholders to ensure a sitemap is structured accordingly. This can be done easily if the original design leaves room for changes versus having to start by redesigning the entire wireframe to incorporate growth.   

Content Tonality

The tone of content on your website is imperative to developing good UX design. The words you choose, length of words and phrases, and grammar and syntax all play a role in the personality that your website gives off. It might sound curious to think of a website as having a personality, but it is an important part of how a person experiences a brand. Some brands might scream playful and witty while others give off an intelligent and professional personality. A user visiting a site might decide to stay simply based on the way the site engages them. Ensuring your website gives off the voice your company and brand are going for is an important step in the design process. Knowing the consumer you are targeting resonates with the tonality can help with driving sales and increasing consumer loyalty.

User Journey

A user journey is yet another key element that goes into the development of exceptional UX design. It is necessary to always have an end goal in mind when designing. User journey helps you keep a successful user experience in mind from the beginning of the creative process to its completion. Design can direct users on where they should start on the site and where they should end. It should be clear where the journey is meant to take the user and know who your target users are for all aspects of the design elements. 

Developing a few different personas for potential consumers can guide the creative process. For example, if you are creating an app for a busy coffee shop, one of the personas you might consider is a young businessman in a rush to make his morning meetings. He would need the app to be second nature and easy to use so he can get his coffee as quickly as possible. This will help with deciding what colors to use, tone of voice, and overall feeling that the site provides. It will also allow designers to decide how copy-heavy vs creative the final design of the site is.


Short and Sweet Designs

There are many ways to organize designs and the design process to allow users to find the information they seek with little resistance. Following some of these best practices can shorten design time and ensure users will want to come back for more.