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Why good UX design is more important than ever

As published in CustomerThink

A decade ago, teams could get by with a website that looked good and worked well enough. “Simple and effective” was the name of the game when it came to UX design. After all, people were mostly going online to check their email or peruse some cat photos.

Fast forward ten years. Now people use their smartphones to buy paper towels. Not only that, they may use their phone to set up a recurring subscription for paper towels. They expect recommendations for the best paper towel brands and want easy access to reviews to help them decide. And they certainly don’t want to have to manually enter their credit card information to make this purchase. Shouldn’t this site remember all that for me?

As you can imagine, the demands of UX designers have grown over the years, thanks to the explosion of e-commerce and the rise of mobile. Smooth, intuitive UX design that helps users easily complete tasks is just a given in 2023.

Expectations are high and competition is fierce — which means great UX is more important than ever. Below are a few reasons why now is the time to stand out from the pack and build great user experiences.

Usability matters in a mobile-first world

Usability and functionality have taken on increased importance in this mobile-first environment. According to Pew, over three-quarters of US adults make purchases online using their smartphones. Today’s users aren’t just scrolling — they’re navigating across pages, saving items to their cart, deleting items from their cart, then finally making their way to the checkout screen. This complex, non-linear user experience calls for seamless UX design that really understands how customers behave.

Bad UX design comes with a cost

Generally, users don’t always notice great UX design — but they always notice bad UX design. Whether it’s a buggy checkout page or a confusing home page, poor UX design can lead to a barrage of customer support inquiries that slow your team down and lose your business money. It’s no wonder teams who have great UX design grow faster than those who don’t. Taking time to build a great user experience helps you spend less time putting out fires and more time building a loyal customer base.

New tech, new expectations

Emerging technologies like virtual and augmented reality, voice interfaces, and artificial intelligence have raised the stakes when it comes to UX design. While most users in 2023 don’t expect your website or app to use all this emerging tech, that could change in the near future. Designers will need to stay ahead of the curve and keep up with rising customer expectations as these features become the norm.

Users demand an accessible, inclusive internet

In recent years, expectations around accessibility and inclusivity have grown. Creating a site that appeals to a diverse range of users with a wide range of abilities is now a given. UX design that doesn’t cater to these expectations can alienate certain users, dampen customer loyalty, and negatively affect your brand’s reputation. As you create accessible user experiences, always do your research and try to get first-hand input from users of different abilities.

Final thoughts

User expectations will only continue to grow in the coming years. Luckily, there are more tools than ever at your disposal to help you craft smooth, seamless customer experiences. Creating UX doesn’t have to be a painful experience. Think of it as a chance to empathize with your users, see the site through their eyes, and deepen customer relationships.