Meet our web development guru Kelly MacPhee, who we caught up with to discuss all things user experience (UX) when it comes to web design. Kelly has a keen eye for emerging trends and shares her insights on the ever-changing landscape of UX and things to keep an eye out for in 2024.
Q: How many years of experience do you have at Digitel and in the industry?
I’ve been supporting businesses with web development for over 12 years, five of them with Digitel.
Q: Why is UX such an important part of web design and why is it sometimes overlooked?
A well designed website that enhances user experience can result in lower bounce rates – the number of visitors who leave your site and then immediately leave without further exploring, and even more conversions if optimised for search engines like Google.
Businesses who are designing a new website tend to focus too much on the aesthetic appeal alone and think that this is enough. However, to provide a seamless experience that keeps website visitors engaged developers must consider how a well-designed webpage can go hand in hand with functionality and create a meaningful digital journey that meets visitor needs, and encourages them to explore the site more.
Q: What are the top UX design trends that businesses should adopt in 2024 to ensure a seamless and engaging user experience across various devices?
Minimalism is a big one. Users need to find what they’re looking for easily, if you have to click through lots of pages to find the right information, they will easily give up.
We live in a world where adverts take over so much, so lots of cookie pop ups / advertising pop ups can be a nuisance and make users click away, so it’s important to consider the design and placement of these carefully. If you’re running an ecommerce website, a 10% off banner can be useful, however often this can take up the whole screen and users may want to see if this is the right shop for them before sharing their details. Once this pop up has been closed, think about a subtle way for users to see it and click onto it when they feel ready.
The next biggest one is site speed. Nowadays, we’re so used to having information readily available. If a website is taking 10 seconds to load, that can be the deciding factor for users to drop off and cause high bounce rates. There’s lots of wordpress tools to help speed a site up, such as caching plugins, image compression, careful thinking about what loads ‘above the fold’.
Q: How can designers ensure that their website is optimising UX?
Designers should try and lead the customer through the website to reach the end purpose. If a customer is sucked into a black hole and feels stuck in a website we’ve built, then we’ve not done our job properly. As a marketing company, we want users to find information easily, make an informed decision, and turn those customers into leads for our clients.
Q: AI technology plays an increasingly important part in UX development, how can designers effectively integrate these technologies into digital products without compromising the digital journey?
AI can actually be a powerful tool. People are more reliant on communicating digitally than ever before so an easy to use live chat box can be effective when customers want quick answers. The thing to be aware of is to not let AI take over the chat bot completely and take the customer down a long road of questions with no outcome. It can be great for asking a few simple questions to gather customer enquiries, but once someone is aware they’re talking to a bot, after a while, they generally just want to talk to a ‘real’ person to get their question answered.
Q: There’s a push for dark mode in many applications for its aesthetic appeal, but some argue it might pose challenges for users with certain visual impairments. What’s your take on balancing design trends like dark mode with the need for inclusive accessibility features?
Dark designs can be really slick and impressive. The main thing to remember is to give a strong contrast between text and buttons. If you don’t get this right and have a dark grey button on black text for example, this can also affect the SEO section of the Google page speed score, as well as the overall journey.
As long as the user can still navigate the site easily and find what they’re looking for, a darker design can be just as strong as a light design.
Kelly’s web development experience plays an important role in the web services that our Digitel team provides our clients. It was fantastic to learn more about the importance of user experience and what designers should be looking out for in 2024. Feel free to get in touch with Kelly if you would like to ask more questions about the subject of user experience, web development, or if you just fancy a quick chat.