UX...You What! What the heck is User Experience?
What is UX?
User experience, or UX in designer speak, is the ‘experience, emotion, intuition and connection a user feels when using a site or product’. So what does that mean and why is it important?
The straightforward breakdown of UX is that it’s all about feelings. It includes all the things you can control: from page design, content and everything in between As well as the things you can’t control such as user’s tastes and environmental factors. It’s the digital equivalent of walking into a house and either feeling right at home or…not. Designing your website so that people feel at home with it is what UX is all about.
Why do I need this UX stuff?
Well if this lot doesn’t convince you then maybe you don’t!
1. Higher conversions – nothing damages an online business more than a poor user experience, so creating a great user experience gives your organisation the best possible chance of making a sale, receiving an enquiry, creating a connection … whatever it is that you exist to do. The best idea in the world isn’t going to succeed if it’s poorly expressed, and your website is simply the digital expression of your good idea. Good UX helps make that happen.
2. Increased customer satisfaction – some businesses exist only online, others have a website that is just one part of the overall business, but in both cases, the website is likely to be a first experience for many potential clients, customers and partners. If that first ‘taste’ is good, they they are likely to want more, but if it’s not great, satisfaction levels drop and your business has to work much harder to gain it back.
3. Competitive edge – very few businesses exist in a vacuum; there are probably many similar organisations out there, so how do you stand out? If your website offers fantastic UX then people are more likely to use it, and you, than your competitors.
4. Repeat business – we all want more of what we like, don’t we? So when your website gives people a positive experience, they are probably going to come back for more. This even works if you’re a one-shot business, because customer referrals happen when people want their family, friends and colleagues to have the same positive experience they’ve had.
5. Reduced time and cost providing support – abandoned shopping carts and irate calls to customer services are the bane of companies with poor UX. Not only does it cost time and money to help potential customers get to where they want to be, but they are unlikely to use you again and the effect on your team morale is probably pretty dire. Everybody benefits if the UX works.
6. Positive brand message – standing out from the crowd isn’t just about a nifty logo. Brand identity is strongly established by how people feel they’ve been treated. If their experience of your website is positive, they’ll associate your brand with positive experiences – simple as that.
Alright then, how do I get some?
Here is some very sensible advice, even if we say it ourselves…
1. Set your goals – if you don’t have a clear plan, you don’t know what you’re working towards.
2. Identify your users – a major failing is trying to please everyone – when you know your key targets, your can provide them with exactly what they want. If you struggle with this process, a digital marketing consultancy (like morph) can help you get the focus right.
3. Keep learning – Look at your current website to identify any problems or bottlenecks you can remove. Talk to colleagues, friends, and real customers to find out their experiences, and how you could improve them.
4. Keep building – the phrase ‘nobody’s perfect’ definitely applies here as there are always things you can do that can make your website better such as:
- Improve user flow: You need to make it easy for your customers to convert, whatever that conversion may be. If you have an online shop how can you reduce the amount of steps or clicks needed to find a product and check out? Amazon are the kings of this, it’s almost scary how quick and easy it is to buy from them.
- Reduce barriers: Try to remove any potential obstacles for your potential customers. Imagine if you went to a clothes shop, and were refused entry until you told them your credit card details? You’d leave right away. If you require visitors to sign-up make sure that it’s at the correct point in their ‘user journey’ and that they understand the value of signing up.
- Think inside the box: Sometimes you do need to think inside the box! There’s certain conventions that people have got used to on the web and your website should follow them. This can be everything from making sure your buttons look like buttons, to putting key elements such as navigation and headers where people expect them to be.
- Improve First Impression: Most people are pretty shallow when it comes to website design, in less than a second from first arriving on a site we’ve already make a decision whether to stay or not. Say you’ve got a tired looking website that hasn’t been touched in a few years, is that the right kind of impression you want to give to your potential customers?
- Design for Mobile: More and more people are accessing your website through their phones and tablet, so you need to make sure your website looks and performs well on mobile. Another thing to consider is that people use your website differently when they’re on a mobile compared to desktop, how can you improve your website to reflect this behavior?
Right got some...is that it?
Nope…once you start you can’t stop.
Well you can for a bit, but not for long. Users are people and people change. So you’ve got to keep monitoring, measuring behaviour and assessing the impact of changes so you know what’s worked and what hasn’t. There is a big difference between making a change based on a hunch and making strategic changes backed up by the metrics. Or getting your site looking lovely throwing it out the door and hoping for the best.
So the very best of luck and we hope this has been a nice experience…