The Rocket Blog

If you are reading this, you are a user of the internet.

Welcome, you!

The Importance of Good UX and UI
By Alli Dillard and Lindsey Butler on Mar 3, 2017
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If you are reading this, you are a user of the internet.

Welcome, you!

The series of graphics, text and photos you see before you is intentionally placed. It doesn’t matter if you’re reading on a monitor at your desk, a tablet on your couch, or a phone on-the-go. We directed you here.

Your decision to read this post was one part conscious thought and one part clever UX and UI.

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So, let’s discuss exactly how, through some series of clicks and scrolls, you got here.

The internet is a glorious, never-ending universe of information. It is dense. It is overwhelming. Yet, through all the chaotic noise of content, ads and search results, we somehow always manage to find what we need. So, what gives?

Two words: usability and familiarity.

Our wrists hover above keyboards, ready to type. Our fingers have QWERTY memorized, so our eyes never have to leave the screen. We see a blue, underlined word or phrase as a signal shouting hyperlink! Click me!  Because we are daily computer users, our minds are trained to recognize visual cues and patterns which allow us to navigate large volumes of data in the blink of an eye (or click of a mouse).

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UI & UX make the web feel like home.

If you think of your website as a house, User Interface (UI) is the foundation and electrical work. In other words, UI is the functional, visual structure that helps you interact with your devices. An interface takes the form of pages, icons, and buttons, each representing a specific way users can engage with a site. Generally speaking, all fixed design elements, like headers and footers, fall under the category of UI. They're what holds the roof up and keeps the lights on. 

If you've ever visited a site full of links that abandon you on 404 pages or contact forms with greyed out "Submit" buttons, you've experienced UI that isn't being maintained very well.

User Experience (UX) is the landscaping and interior decorating. Where UI is concerned with building a sturdy, functional house, UX uses aesthetics to influence how you and your guests feel about being there. A website's style, tone and content all fall under the UX umbrella, and they make a huge impact on whether people enjoy using the site or not.

It's easy to point out bad UX when garish color palettes, awkward stock photos or BLOCKS OF SHOUTY CAPS COPY are involved, but what about confusing or clumsy information design? A site with misleading page names, such as an events module labeled "News", can make information feel hidden. Sites which create unintentional barriers to action, like making people click through three different subpages to find a contact number, can be downright frustrating (and drive away potentional customers). Thoughtful UX builds a sense of interest, trust and security by staging clear navigational tools, relevant page names and apparent calls to action in a slick, attractive package.

Good UX + Good UI = Good Times

A company's website exists to house text, images and video in a way that compels action: "subscribe to my newsletter, buy my product, donate to my mission." When building a website, as when building a house, the best approach strikes a perfect balance between form (UX) and function (UI). Talented web designers find the vanishing point between the two by genuinely caring about how users think, and the most successful websites promote efficient usability while playing with users' expectations, drawing them in with a subtle tug that feels like their own momentum. (Think of Pinterest teasing us with its staggered images.)

You want users to find your site a comfortable place to hang out while they're getting to know you, devoid of any clutter or confusion that can negatively impact their stay, and you want them to look forward to their next visit. Good UX and UI can do that for you.

If your home on the web could use a little TLC, you know how to find us (info [at] gorocketfuel [dot] com).

(We want you to be just as satisfied with your web experience as these friends are.) 

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