Let’s talk about User Experience (UX) and what that means for you and your business. You may think UX only applies to online retailers – but it is necessary for every business to consider this when designing their website and online presence. UX applies to all businesses.
So, what is User Experience? UX is dedicated to creating intuitive, simple, and straightforward experiences for your customers. For instance, you may have a preference to shop at Target vs. Walmart because you have had good experiences there or you like their selection of home goods. Whatever the case is, we all have our preferences and that has so much to do with User Experience.
In order to stay competitive, we need to continually learn more about User Experience and what some of the upcoming trends are in order to stay relevant. UX’s best practices promote improving the quality of the user’s interaction and making connections to your products and/or services. From beginning to end you are trying to create a positive interaction with your customer or client.
Ask yourself these questions
- Are you easy to find?
- Is your design aesthetically pleasing?
- Is your brand, product, and/or service clear and easy for the customer to understand?
- The process to acquire a product or service – is it seamless?
- Is that customer likely to leave a positive review or tell others about your product or service?
What is User Experience (UX) and why is it important?
What is User Experience (UX)?
It covers all aspects of a person’s experience with a system or tool. That experience is subjective. UX is most often connected to usability, which refers to how usable an object is. Ultimately, UX is any type of experience a user can have a connection with or creates an emotion.
An example of UX is when you are on a site and you search for a “smartwatch.” What are you looking for when you search for that? It goes far beyond just what the search results may be. For instance,you want the results from that search to load quickly. It’s also important that you see appealing images that show details of the product and easy-to-read informative content. You also want the functionality to be seamless. There should be an easy transition from the different styles of smartwatches available so you can find the best one that suits your needs. A fast and simple checkout process is necessary to complete the experience. This example is a simplified form of what the user experiences.
Why is User Experience important?
UX Planet states “User experience is important because it tries to fulfill the user’s needs. It aims to provide positive experiences that keep a user loyal to the product or brand. Additionally, a meaningful user experience allows you to define customer journeys on your product that are most conducive to business success.”
Develop Great User Experience
- Interaction Design – a process in which designers focus on creating engaging web interfaces with logical and thought out behaviors and actions. An example of this is when you’re purchasing something online and there are suggestions based on what you’re looking at or put in your cart.
- Information Architecture – focuses on organizing, structuring, and labeling content in an effective and sustainable way. In the real world, a good example of this would be signage in an airport. On a website, it could look like organizing a category of goods or services. If you are looking for shoes on a site – there may be a tab on the homepage that states “shoes” that you can click on and it will take you to all the shoes that the site offers.
- Visual Design – is the use of imagery, color, shapes, typography, and form to enhance usability and improve the user experience. Your website should be aesthetically pleasing, as well as easily accessible (read more here), navigable, and readable. Basics to keep in mind… Does your homepage have enough white space, contrast, lines to draw the eye, contrast, shapes, texture, dominant imagery, and a hierarchy of products and services?
- Functionality – a measurement of the usefulness of an object or how well it does the job it’s meant to do. Functionality can look like the process of you typing in an address in Google Maps. Your expectation is that it brings up the address and provides the correct directions for you to get to your desired location.
- Usability – described as the capacity of a system or tool to be practical to the user to perform the tasks safely, effectively, and efficiently while enjoying the experience. Consider the process of trying to book an airline ticket online. The website should be able to direct you from the beginning to the end of where and when you want to go. All the steps to get you through the checkout process seamlessly and securely should be clear. Usability is the combination of factors that include intuitive design, ease of learning, efficiency of use, memorability, subjective satisfaction, error frequency, and severity.
- Typography – is the art and technique of arranging type to make written language legible, readable, and appealing when displayed. Typography is everywhere we look on websites, books, signage, magazines, etc.
- User Interface – a program that controls a display for the user (usually on a computer monitor) and that allows the user to interact with the system. The User Interface often depends on the product or service and how the site engages the user.
- Content Strategy – content extends beyond the words on the page, and should also include the images and multimedia that are used. Therefore, you want the content to be useful and easy to find on a website. For a “How-To” guide for your Content Strategy, click here.
Are you intrigued? Do you want to know how your site stacks up or even how your competitors’ sites stack up? There are tools out there to help you. There is a lot of value in website usability testing and you may be surprised at the results.
Keep In Mind
Customers are more likely to remember a bad experience as opposed to a positive experience. Maybe because as we go through the motions and it appears to be pretty seamless we may feel grateful at the time that the process is going well and then move on about our day. However, if we have a bad experience – we get frustrated or even angry. If your site is slow to load or the functionality is off, the customer may hit the back button so fast that they are not even able to look at your product or service. Essentially that non-interaction is a bad experience. Also, look at what your competitors are doing. Highlight any offerings that set you apart from them.
You can have a strong social media presence. You can do all the right things in relation to SEO. But, if your UX falls short, then you are at risk of losing customers! We know that there are so many things to keep in mind for your marketing and it all can be overwhelming. Our team at AGC is happy to help you audit your UX on your website and create a comprehensive marketing strategy as you prepare for the new year!