3 April 2014
This topic forms part of a two part series where we bring User Experience – known as UX into focus. We explore why it is important for marketers, and particularly its importance for and in web design. To begin this article reviews what is meant by the somewhat elusive ‘User Experience’ and why is it just so important. In our follow up article we will look at some of the key methods to enhance the user design experience.
With User Experience we find yet another concept that holds broad interpretations as to what it really means within the scope of design and marketing.
Put simply, the User Experience Professionals Association define UX as:
‘Every aspect of the interaction with a product, service or company that make up the user’s perception as a whole. User Experience design as a discipline is concerned with all of the elements that together make up the interface, including layout, visual design, text, brand, sound and interaction.’
In other words ALL of the aforementioned areas are influencers on the user (in this case your customer) and the perception they will formulate about a company’s message and business. The experience can either be positive or negative for the user, and in this way can invoke an emotional response and attitude that connects directly to your brand. – For example, a company looking to engage with a business consultant will search for or directly visit a website. If the representative of the company finds the site oppressive in style, is unable to access information such as a bio, or effectively leave an enquiry – the result can be frustration with an inability to act and a desire to explore other options.
UX web design is about combining user interface design with interaction design. It’s about creating an experience for your visiting audience that has:
– Current technology that stands up (such as fast load times/workable links/mobile optimisation)
– Great functionality & is easy to use (think navigation buttons, scroll functionality)
– An attractive, efficient solution to their need or problem (information/content/e-commerce)
Interestingly 97% of websites fail at UX. Websites that fail UX suffer from frustrated users and poor conversion rates (visual.ly).
As the push for mobile and e-commerce continues, people have become increasingly discerning with how they invest their time, and where they will and won’t click based on the value or benefit they perceive to gain from visiting your website. Getting the balance right between technology, business and design is about being on the outside, looking in and using web design principles to build an experience that is as intuitive and enjoyable as possible. Testing the process and getting feedback is also invaluable. Some of the benefits are obvious – such as encouraging users to spend more time on your site and with your content. Here are four other gains that highlight the importance of UX.
You’ll see a return on Investment
Having a really positive user experience will ensure that your business receives a ROI. Ultimately, UX will be the decision maker once users have arrived at your site and if done right can even turn browsers into buyers. Making your website user-friendly whilst presenting a strong call to action will lead to higher conversion rates, and a bigger ROI for your business goals.
Efficiency and Production will improve
Excellence in UX improves efficiency in a number of ways. It enables a process that is easy, resulting in less errors or mistakes and smoother production. It can also speed up the process and time taken to perform a task for example increase the number of sales made in one day (in the case of an e-commerce platform), and if done really well can encourage your visitors to buy/do more.
You’ll have satisfied customers
This is about functionality. Can the user attain what he/she required and is the process to getting there enjoyable and hassle free? Where these needs are met is where you’ll find the satisfied customer, who is likely to remember your brand.
You’ll see more repeat business and customer loyalty
Spurring on from your satisfied customers, a great UX is what will keep customers returning to your website. Put simply, if a user has a poor experience they are very unlikely to return. The mediocre experience leaves the door open to competitors to provide a better solution. Savvy marketers and designers will ensure the process of interacting with the website and brand is ‘just so’ [positive, interesting, easy, fun] that users will continue to return, and also refer it to friends, family and colleagues.
Understanding the principals of UX and knowing what tactics to employ can seem a little daunting for some at first. Our follow up post on the user experience looks at some of the pivotal elements to enhance the user design experience. Depending on your business needs, it may be worth talking with a professional, and getting a proper assessment of your website. Get in touch with MIH to start a conversation about how we can improve the user experience for your customer base.