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Refresh Your Website with UX Design 2.0

User Experience (UX) 2.0 is where site architecture, content, and design all converge to deliver a quality experience to the user – one that is measured by ease of use, speed, efficiency, and enjoyment.

UX 2.0-designed sites are balanced between being data-driven and user-driven, with design methods focused on the creation of “flow” rather than building static pages; taking into account human intuition. Agile architecture lets users define their experiences and enables active participation. This is delivered through the blend of targeted content, information architecture and rich internet application technologies such as Flash, AJAX and CSS interface design - generating rich multi-media experiences that captivate visitors and drive conversions. It is designed to be clean, logical, and contemporary, and can include features like modern category browse, guided navigation, search functionality, and product detail pages, as well as streamlined customer processes – like checkout or account management.

Many companies feel they have taken their generation-1 website design as far as they can; they have a well-structured Web presence that only really suffers from an outdated design and the lack of modern presentation tools. Resistance to a graphic and usability makeover can stem from unpleasant memories associated with the development of the original site; decision by committee, cost overruns, etc.  But you don’t have to throw out your website and start from scratch.  Rather, you can embark on a graphic refresh / UX modernization plan that includes using your existing architecture and website organization.  With the agile technology available to support this presentation, all that’s left is to modernize the design.

The difference between the 2001 user experience and 2010 user experience is dramatic. Here are a few characteristics/remedies that differentiate an ‘old looking’ site from a new one:

Screen resolution. Legacy sites are often 800 pixels wide, left justified. Modern sites are sized for a 1024 pixel monitor, centered. Additionally, many modern designs make use of the additional space when available.

2.0 style design. A modern design is cleaner, less busy, with more white space between key graphic elements. This results in less overwhelm for the visitor, which translates to longer visits and more conversions.

Animation / interaction. Presentation tools like Flash, Silverlight and jQuery simplify the dynamic presentation of content. If you’ve seen a scrolling billboard on a homepage or product zoom/magnify, you know what we’re talking about.

Dynamic navigation & breadcrumbs. Modern navigation becomes an on-demand sitemap where users can easily see where they are and where to go without getting lost. Here’s a good example. northwesternmutual.com.

User Experience has come such a long way in such a short amount of time that people are noticing a significant difference in the quality of their experience between pre-UX 2.0 and UX 2.0 designed sites; they are more responsive/receptive to the latter and demand new design standards that are built around their needs - putting them in the driver’s seat.

The good news for you and your users is that you can accomplish a UX 2.0 design without starting at the ground level and without a huge investment. Major improvements can be made to your site by incorporating a variety of UX components – from concise content and a refreshed graphic design to information architecture and select rich application technology.

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