UX design is currently one of the biggest phrases in web development. The concept of UX design and the underlying theme of modern web development communicate an idea about the nature of websites as a whole. Successful, current websites aren’t bonafide electronic pamphlets or banners. They’re not static marketing materials. A well designed website is an experience. It tells a story, it forms around a user, it understands its audience.
Content & Storytelling
In the early days of SEO, things like keyword density and questionable back-links dominated the field. Algorithms got smarter, competition increased dramatically and users got a lot pickier. In the current landscape, content really is king. Creating compelling content that really speaks to users increases your quality ranking in search algorithms; it creates the potential for external links; it makes your website worth visiting.
One of the dominant trends in great content is storytelling. You don’t want to create a website with jilted selling points. You want to create a narrative surrounding your brand and product. What does your brand have to offer that others don’t? What is your company really about? How does your story reach out to other people?
Personalization & User-Centrism
Suggested items based on purchases, recommendations based on geolocation and user preference tracking are another major trend in web development and UX design. It can sometimes be a little bit eerie to receive painfully on-point recommendations in your facebook ads and amazon shopping cart, but when well executed, personalized web experiences make the user feel understood. It can boost conversion rates and increase positive association with your brand. The trend of personalization is part of a larger pattern of user-centrism. It’s all about understanding the needs, wants and limitations of your audience.
Anticipatory design is a newer UX trend that ties back into user-centrism. Geolocation and user preference tracking are technically examples of anticipatory design, but the idea runs deeper than that. On a simple level, anticipatory design can include anything from autfilling address forms or notifying users about current updates. On a more nuanced and effective level, anticipatory design is about keeping track of user data, browsing habits and ultimately spending behaviors. This sort of information can be used to effectively produce calls-to-action or product and service offerings based on the specific needs and behaviors of your users.
In case it wasn’t already clear, the overwhelming focus of contemporary web development and UX design is the user. A key concept, or rather ability, underlying any successful innovation or implementation of UX design is the effective use of empathy. Our smart phones, our favorite websites and our most frequently used apps are more than just tools at our disposal. They’re parts of us. We humanize and relate to them and what we really want is to be understood by them.