User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) can be quite robust topics. To get started, let’s break it down with an example. Think about riding a horse. What makes that a pleasant experience? Well, you need a well-tempered horse. A comfortable saddle with good reins would help. Then, you probably wouldn’t want it to be raining, so nice weather could be a factor in your experience as well. Even the trail you choose to ride could contribute to the ride and your satisfaction. Without getting too complex, you can think of the saddle, weather, and trail as the UI of riding a horse, whereas the combination of the sun on your skin, wind in your hair, and happiness in your mind as you ride the horse would be the UX.
In the terms of a website, you can see UI in action by interacting with the site(opens in a new tab). Buttons, sliders, menus, sidebars, are all examples of user interface design—as people use those features to interact with your brand and what you offer. When it comes to UI on tour-focused sites, you want it to complete these functions:
- Make your offerings easy to discover.
- Other than a homepage, each page should perform one main task (for example a tour page should sell a tour, a contact page should drive phone calls, emails, or form submissions)
- Buttons and links should have clear, predictable results(opens in a new tab) (ie, if a button says “View Tour” and opens up a booking modal, you’ve misled the user in terms of the immediate result that they were expecting).
- Minimize effort for the user, or make it as quick as possible for them to complete their desired goal on the site (most commonly this will be to book a tour) by reducing clicks in the process, making it easy to read content and details, or by making it easy at any point to find or ask questions.
- Minimize thinking for the user, or make every type of action they can take as clear and as easy to understand as possible – for example, if there is an option to submit a form on the site, leave the submit button at the bottom so once a user completes the form, the logical next step is right there to find.
- Serve as a piece of your brand’s identity. Animations, icons, and even typography can connect your interface to your brand and make users prefer your brand over others if they prefer your interface.
If the UI on your site completes those functions, you are going to make great first impressions on your users. Once they’ve decided that they like the site and find it easy to use, they are more likely to stay on the site, and more likely to book because of that.
UX, while commonly thought of as separate from UI, is really the design that goes into the entire process of a user landing on your site, deciding to trust your brand, and eventually booking a tour or contacting you. So, UI is more of a subset of UX(opens in a new tab) rather than one being entirely different from the other. UI is a piece of UX because the interface definitively affects a user’s feelings while being on a site, but the interface will not be the only thing affecting how a user feels while on a site. The branding and design of the site, for example, are not something that users directly interact with, but if you go onto a site with a beautiful color scheme and logo, you are more likely to feel comfortable on that site rather than a site with a color scheme that clashes with itself or is simply unattractive. The UX can even extend off of the site. A great example for the tour industry is when a customer submits a form or decides to call from the site. That email or phone conversation can change their feelings about their entire experience with your company.
Now, a solid argument could be made that UX is more important than UI because it encompasses a larger scheme of the user’s journey, but think about the horse again. Have you ever ridden a horse without a saddle and reins? Even if the sun feels great on your skin, the wind feels great in your hair, and you are happy with the trail you are on, you are still going to end that ride with a sore lower body. With a website, users may still see a stunning color scheme and logo, find your answer to their email or phone call more than satisfactory, but have a tough time finding things on your site (like tours or a contact form) and completing their goals easily.
In other words, you could have the most attractive and complex design for your website, but if it’s not functional, then it’s just for show rather than for substance. For a site to really work well, you need both the show and the substance. On the flipside, you may still have enjoyed that horse ride enough to not be bothered by the lower body soreness of riding without a saddle. Just like with a site, a customer may be extremely patient with the interface and its shortcomings while still having a positive experience overall because of the other pleasant aspects
Ultimately, you can’t possibly expect all customers to be patient with a bad user interface, and you also can’t expect all customers to be satisfied with just an easy-to-use but bland interface on the site. So the reality is that neither is definitively more important than the other. They really go hand in hand and if you want to sell tours with a website, you should not ignore one in favor of the other. The UI is an important piece in the overall journey that is UX. You can’t have great UX without great UI, even if every other aspect of it is perfect, and an amazing UI won’t serve any purpose if people don’t land on and trust your site. As UI shows, first impressions matter, but as UX shows, when it comes to maintaining site visitors and converting them to sales functionality is equally important.
Want to Know More?
Wondering if how users get to your site is part of UX? It is! Users arriving via a relevant, well-placed backlink or a proper booking-intent keyword will automatically be enjoying a positive experience with your company. Our Keyword Tracking(opens in a new tab) or Backlink Profiling(opens in a new tab) Services can help you get backlinks in the right places and get visitors to your site from proper keywords.
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