UX / UI: Emerging Ideas

UX / UI: Emerging Ideas
Estimated reading time: 3 minutes

UX / UI revisited from 2019

In a previous article, UX and UI: When the User Determines Navigation, we emphasized that “design begins content-first. A robust content strategy, defining a clear hierarchy and central message, is foundational. Good UX/UI stems from meticulous preparation that centers the user within the project.

While the article and our work from 2019 and before continues to resonate for web agencies such as WS Interactive, does this principle still hold true in 2024 for businesses and users themselves?

Content is Still King, But…

Exceptional content remains a crucial differentiator. Whether it’s a compelling word or an engaging image, content can captivate users and encourage deeper engagement with your site. This is particularly true for B2B sites, but e-commerce platforms also need content that resonates and inspires consumerism.

Conversely, poor or neglected content can deter users from exploring further. A clear central message and structured hierarchy are still needed in order to achieve your web objectives and avoid pitfalls that may alienate users. Effective UX reflects well-crafted content. Yet, we cannot forget that the way content is packaged is just as important as the content itself.

Many websites now embrace a ‘less is more’ philosophy, optimizing the reader’s time and energy. While this approach is beneficial, it’s crucial to keep content updated and relevant to meet user needs consistently.

The Commoditization of WordPress and CMS Themes

While content remains pivotal, it no longer reigns supreme in isolation. In the quest for efficiency and faster publication, the reliance on ready-made themes has surged. These themes, significantly improved over the years, offer professional quality at a lower cost and have become commodities—accessible, affordable, and abundant.

However, this trend brings a notable drawback: content is often tailored to fit the design, rather than the other way around. Consequently, content becomes ‘good enough,’ leading to a cycle of average output. The focus on theme alignment can overshadow the unique value of tailored content, especially in B2B websites where thematic structures often dictate content placement.

From a UX perspective, this raises concerns about user engagement. Are we losing touch with user needs by prioritizing convenience over customization? While standardized structures may facilitate easier navigation, they risk stifling creativity and differentiation.

The integration of AI into business tools exacerbates this issue. AI-generated content, images, and design elements often lack originality, producing cookie-cutter results. While AI can expedite content production, it frequently offers generic solutions that lack innovation and surprise.

This brings us back to the core question: what about UX and UI? Is it sufficient to rely on free themes and AI-generated content? Perhaps for some, it is. But for those seeking to stand out, more is needed.

The User’s Role in Shaping UX

Ultimately, users will determine the fate of UX and UI. Their preferences and perceptions will dictate which approaches succeed. If standardized solutions resonate with millions, the industry may continue down this path. However, there’s always room for innovation and improvement. By listening to user feedback and striving for unique, engaging content, we can ensure that UX and UI remain dynamic and user-centric.

In conclusion, while the ideal UX/UI response has evolved, the fundamental principle remains: design and write with the user at the heart. Balancing efficiency with creativity is key to delivering exceptional digital experiences.