What Do We Mean By ‘The Unexpected’?

‘Expect the unexpected’ is a concept that we incorporate into all of our designs, always with the user in mind. The first step we take is to audit a site, in order to gather tangible and qualitative data to help us understand what our goals and objectives are. If you believe that most of your users understand how to use a computer, then you will be missing out on those that are not technology literate.

Research should also incorporate competitor research, peers and others in the sector. On top of that, it is key to understand user personas, including needs and requirements.

It’s also important to focus on creating the best experience possible and considering a mobile first approach. Mobile is what Google indexes first, so when designing a great user experience, make this the number one priority.

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One Site Fits All

UX Designers will generally design with user intention and expectation at the heart of it, but sometimes when designing it’s very difficult to fully commit to one site that fits all. Assumptions are made about users, their preferences and habits which form the basis of ‘best practice’ but we also design sites that fall outside of these assumptions.

UI (user interface) mistakes are often minor but can lead to bigger issues down the line, and are often simple to correct once identified. Fixing these small mistakes could elevate a site to becoming a best in class example, allowing a brand to get ahead of the game.

For example - the lack of a ‘sticky nav’ (where the navigation follows the user as they scroll down the website). This prevents your users from easily navigating and hinders the user experience. Optimising the site following an audit enables these issues to be identified. When a series of these seemingly minor mistakes are corrected, it can have a cumulative positive effect on conversion rates.

Designing The Unexpected

It is imperative to undertake user testing before starting the design process, to collect the right information to help guide what you should be designing. When designing with learnings from this data in mind, you're eliminating the ‘unexpected’, allowing users to easily interact with your store and make a purchase.

Collecting data can be hard and time consuming, but if you know what you’re looking for, then it becomes a lot more simple. This data can come from a variety of sources, like some of the tools we use here at Eastside Co:

  • heatmaps using Hotjar
  • analytics from Google or Shopify Partners
  • user testing from usertesting.com

Never feel like it’s over when you have designed something and it’s working - you can always optimise these things further. Whether that takes the form of more testing, seeing whether a different style would suit, or even a rebrand, there are always more ways to keep it fresh and exciting.

Learn, Understand, Test and Iterate

Designing with Emotion

There are 4 stages to ‘designing with emotion’:

  • Functional
  • Reliable
  • Useable
  • Pleasurable

All of these need to work together to solve the problem, be helpful and quick, achieve consistency and excite a user to continue.

These four emotions can succeed when data is at the heart of the design.

Sites should be exciting and at the same time remain functional. They also should be designed with the users’ needs in mind.

UX Part 1: Simplified UX Processes

UX Part 2: Consistent Design

UX Part 3: Being Deliberate In Design

UX Part 4: Understanding User Expectation