‘User experience’ or ‘UX’ for short is a definite 2017 buzz phrase – but not as many people know about the solid metrics backing up that buzz:
…that’s the increase a late-2016 study by Forrester Research says is possible for your website’s conversion rates if you’re operating with a well-designed user interface. Spending some time and resources to make sure you’re at the cutting-edge of UX? Then that figure becomes 400%.
Metrics like that just can’t be ignored – but what’s involved in UX when you cut through the hype? And how does a positive user experience so dramatically increase your site’s conversions?
What is UX?
Put simply, UX is the way a person feels when they’re interacting with a website or application. Generally speaking, this feeling is based on a number factors:
- Usability: How user friendly is your site design? Do you make it easy for users to navigate and take value from you site?
- Ergonomics: Does your site effectively respond to the needs of your users – do your users feel comfortable while browsing?
- Accessibility: Can people with additional physical, intellectual and environmental needs access your content?
- Performance: Does your site act in the way it’s supposed to as quickly as the user wants it to?
- Marketing: Does you site do what’s expected from it based on the perception your marketing creates?
- Utility: How useful and accessible are the secondary functions of the site, how easily can a user sign-in, subscribe, contact, print pages, share content and so forth.
- Design: Does the site convey the previously mentioned attributes in its design? Do people feel they’ll have an easy and productive time based on how your site looks?
These factors matter because customers will bounce off your site quicker than you can imagine if they don’t feel like their time there will yield the result they desire.
Who does it matter to?
Well, based on that 200%+ metric, UX is going to matter to anyone who’s looking to convert the traffic that’s hitting their page. That said, your business and unique position will decide what you’d like those conversions to be:
- Startups and new businesses
User experience is the digital equivalent of a potential client walking into your new offices. Based on what they see, are they going to feel confident doing business with you? Would they be happy about referring you to colleagues and associates? Does your site convey the business tone and ethos you’re hoping?
- Working with limited resources?
If you’ve got a limited marketing budget (and let’s face it, who doesn’t?) then eking out those extra conversion percentages from what you’re currently spending is the key to driving your business forward. Improving your UX is the ultimate in working smart – you don’t need to throw extra time and money at upping results.
When a customer spends money with you, your website has to answer a number of questions – even if your customer doesn’t consciously realise they’re seeking the answers! Smart UX reassures and offers comfort – two of the biggest factors that will encourage customers to reach for their credit cards. Familiar and pleasing UX means your products are well organised and lets people know they’re shopping safely.
Where you host your website can also have a significant impact on your websites overall UX, the last think you or your customers want is a slow loading website. When selecting a hosting providers its important that you do your research. You can find the top reviews here. This is also one of the best hosting resource pages that we have found so also be sure to check this out.
How can you account for UX when you’re designing your site?
Designers and web developers can sometimes fall into the trap of thinking too much about what they want from a site – or perhaps have a misguided sense that creating a solid and impressive brand is more important than driving the right kind of conversions.
If you’re thinking about what looks good in a portfolio then sure – but if you want proven results, you’re better following these design and development points
- Who’s your audience?
Empathy is important when you’re thinking about the user experience. Put yourself in the user’s shoes and anticipate what they want based on studies of the demographic or persona you’re expecting to form your traffic.
- What are you working with?
Not everyone’s starting from scratch when it comes to designing a site and factoring in UX. Drilling down into current customer behaviour will give you a good idea of drop-off points and areas that need the most pressing work.
- What suits your need?
With a number of tried and tested interface designs available – can you pick something off the shelf and make it work for your needs? Or do you need to start with a blank canvas?
- What do customers say?
There’s no one better to assess the proposed experience than the customers who’ll be using it. Whether you’re talking to existing customers or people from your potential demographics, there are dozens of analysis tools that’ll give you insight into how the behave when they encounter your site.
Creating wireframe representations of your site gives you a chance to visually assess how elements will fit together and branding can be applied. This stage should also include flow-diagrams that chart a customer’s intended journey through the site.
- Work from a pattern
There are pre-existing design patterns and standards that solve common customer behaviour problems. Even if you’re going slightly off-piste with your site, referencing commonly used patterns is a useful starting point whether you’re a novice or a seasoned veteran.
It’s extremely unlikely that you’re going to be working without any brand guidelines – making sure they’re applied consistently and predictably throughout your site gives designers and programmers something solid to create a positive UX around.
UX in 2017 and beyond
Website and service users are increasingly accessing sites and applications over 2 or more different devices – but don’t be lulled into a false sense of security – no matter what device that person picks up, they’re expecting to see a similar, if not exactly the same, level of comfort and familiarity from your site.
This means the process that goes into creating an exceptional user experience is going to need applying for different screen sizes, control interfaces, accessibility options and much more.
No one said creating the highest quality user experience was going to be easy – but if you can find another route to bolstering your conversions by 200% plus then we’d love to hear about it…