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Compelling UX Design: Who’s Doing it Right

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Every website is unique in that it exists to serve a specific audience of users. If it’s been created thoughtfully, it will be designed around meeting the needs of those users and helping them accomplish their tasks or goals with ease. Still, there’s much to be learned from the UX innovations of other companies. Seeing someone else create an engaging or exceptionally functional experience on their site can inspire ideas about how to improve the experience on your own site. Here are a few examples of sites with truly impressive UX.

1. Duo Lingo

Duo lingo is an absolute joy to use. If ever a platform could claim to “make learning fun”, Duo Lingo is it. The service helps users learn a new language and the interface is simple, friendly, and approachable -- which seems like exactly the right approach to make the intimidating process of learning a new language seem accessible.

The site does a great job of getting users started using the service in a matter of seconds, without forcing them to create an account. This allows users to experience the platform for themselves before they have to go through the steps of creating a login and password. You can imagine that once users experience how easy and fun the platform is to use, they’ll be more likely to create an account and become a dedicated user.

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Duo Lingo presents questions to users in a way that is incredibly easy to understand and interact with. A progress bar indicates how far along the user is in the module. Answers -- correct or incorrect -- are reinforced with colors and sounds.

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2. Virgin America

Booking a plane ticket is not always the most joyful experience. Many major airlines have clunky websites that make searching and booking a flight an altogether grueling process. Maybe that’s why landing on the Virgin America website feels almost like a radical experience. The site is clean and modern, and it puts the main user goal -- booking a flight -- front and center. Text is large and readable and flight prices and times are presented upfronted.

One of the best features of the Virgin America site is the ability to pick dates based on flight cost -- a major bonus for users who have some flexibility on travel dates and are searching for the best deal.

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The user’s travel details are saved and shown throughout the process and can be changed or updated at any moment without being forced to start the search over again.

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3. Blue Apron

Blue Apron has an amazing homepage, packed with useful content presented in a compelling fashion. The long-scroll page features small animations that capture user attention and encourage interaction with site content. Each section of the page has a strong call-to-action which offers a means for users to get to the next step of the process.

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Blue Apron’s signup process is also something to behold. It’s a simple, three-step process that makes selecting user preferences enjoyable through an emphasis on visuals and positive reinforcement when selections are made.

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4. Apple

No surprise to see Apple make this list. Stunning visuals, clear messaging, and a wealth of information presented in a consumable format all make for a enjoyable and functional user experience. The Apple site does a particularly good job of allowing users to meaningfully explore and experience products even though they’re not actually able to touch them.

Rather than try to cram every detail about a complex product into a static layout, the Apple website encourages users to interact with a product page by expanding and collapsing different elements to explore more information. It’s an efficient use of space and allows users to skip past the things they’re less interested in learning about.

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5. The Atlantic

The deep-scrolling homepage pretty much guarantees you can’t land on the site and not find something that interest you to read. Content is neatly sorted based on broad categories and each category is clearly delineated. There’s a beautiful hierarchy in the way article blurbs are designed - an image, with a large, readable article title, smaller blurb text (but still readable!), and the author’s name in The Atlantic’s red accent color. These small touches make it easy to focus on and interpret content -- which frankly isn’t always the case with news sites and content providers.

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Article pages themselves are also thoughtfully designed. There’s a sticky footer that gives users an easy way to get back to the homepage, share on Facebook or Twitter, or proceed to the next article in whichever content category they’re currently reading. The text size adjustments on article pages are also a nice touch.

6. Warby Parker

The Warby Parker site makes shopping for glasses online feel like one of the easiest things you’ve ever done. But the best part of the site (from a UX perspective, at least) is the checkout process. Warby Parker’s checkout process has clearly been meticulously designed to reduce as many barriers to completion as possible. The form is minimal and contains only a handful of fields. Each category expands as the user reaches it, which keeps the form from feeling overwhelming at first glance.

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Buying a product or products online with a mobile device (ie; completing the checkout process, not just researching and browsing products) is definitely a task we’re becoming more and more comfortable with, but it’s still very much hit or miss. Often the experience is annoying or needlessly difficult and it’s easier to just complete the purchase later on desktop. But Warby Parker’s mobile checkout process is pretty much flawless. They reduce fields wherever possible, predict and autofill your address as you’re typing, and the form is vertically-stacked for optimal mobile use.

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7. Asana

One more for good measure -- and we couldn’t leave Asana off the list. Asana is a life-saving project management and productivity app and its UX makes it one of our favorites. Technically it’s designed for teams, but it also works great as a personal task management system. The platform has too many great features to cover here, but what we can say is that they have mastered the art of microinteractions -- tiny moments of communication between the platform and the user that serve to reinforce or prompt an action. Microinteractions help encourage and acknowledge the user, which improves their overall experience on the platform. See for yourself:

We love to get inspired by the innovative work of some of our favorite companies. These websites and platforms all put their users needs first and come up with ways to meet those needs while also bringing excitement and even a little bit of joy to the experience. That’s what we call doing UX right.

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