If you have a business website or are considering an app, you’ve likely heard about UX (user experience) and UI (user interface). You might have looked at the many fonts, colors, and layouts available to you. It’s one of the most fun parts of launching or taking your business to the next level.
If you really want to make an impact on your revenue, dive a little deeper!
UX design is about more than just a website that features a way for customers to purchase your product. Effective design elevates your site above your competitors by offering a responsive and positive experience, solving your customer’s questions and problems, and generally making it easy.
UX design takes it a step further, focusing on the user by offering personalized content and predictable user flow that takes customers where they need to go. UX design is part of your business model and should echo your story. It’s a way of connecting and reaching your potential customers. $2 spent on UX is said to return $100. That’s not a bad investment for a key business feature!
User Experience (UX) is the documentation of a user or customer’s interaction with a service, product, or company. Have you ever walked into a coffee shop and been greeted by a happy and helpful employee that not only gets you a cup of coffee you really wanted but introduces you to a new varietal of coffee bean that you’ve never thought to try? That level of customer service really leaves a lasting impression, making it likely that you’ll return to that coffee shop.
You can have a similar experience when navigating on a company website. In this case, the website design acts as the helpful employee. A successful experience will allow you to go through the site to learn and engage before the product is even in your hands. It will also act as support once you have the product in hand.
User Experience (UX) Design covers just that— but don’t forget the joy. Deliver a positive, enjoyable the process from beginning to end; it should be fun for visitors to your site whether they’re learning about the product, ordering the product, or using the product. Using branding, design, usability, and function, a website or mobile app can enhance and deliver an experience above what your competitors offer.
It doesn’t take users and potential customers minutes, or even seconds, to decide whether they like a brand and will consider using their products. According to studies, users form an opinion about a website in 0.05 seconds. That’s milliseconds!
What are users looking for as they make their snap judgement?
In fact, 88% of online shoppers are less likely to return to a website after a bad experience. Bad experiences include any frustrations that a potential customer may encounter -- error messages, poor online customer service, or confusing website layout and options.
A positive customer experience goes a long way. In fact, some argue that it goes further than paid ad marketing. In business, you can adjust your price and product offerings to stay competitive. But no matter how you tweak these elements, customer experience is often the deciding factor.
40% of customers turn to the competition after a bad experience. On the other hand, positive experiences results in strong brand loyalty and returning customers for years that help organically promote your company.
Businesses are focusing on UX upfront not just to deliver a happy experience or to offer a beautiful website but also to: reduce support costs, reduce rework of website or app elements, decrease bounce rates, increase sales and revenue, and reach new customers.
Jakon Nielsen is a Danish web usability expert and advocate. He identified 10 key factors, also known as “heuristics,” for user-interface design to improve user experience.
No matter what, your system should provide users a clear indication of the system’s status. Did a transaction process through successfully? Is a product in stock or out of stock? Can they request to be notified when the product is back in stock?
Take the battery meter on your smartphone. There are clear indicators that help you to decide whether to charge your phone, turn it off to save battery, or do nothing. Similarly, immediate feedback and status updates give customers confidence in your service and brand.
Your system should speak the user’s language and remove any guesswork from unclear terms. Remove assumptions; instead, incorporate words, imagery, and calls to action that are intuitive and familiar. The last thing you want is for your customer to question their next steps. Don’t add another layer that may result in a lost sale.
Support undo and redo actions. Don’t hide the “exit” or “cancel” options. Give your user the control to remove unwanted products, correct mistakes, cancel a step, or backtrack. This flexibility and freedom encourages further trust in your services and brand.
Keep formatting, type, general color scheme, navigation, and help tools consistent throughout your entire website. Use the same terminology and design elements on other communication outlets like social media, digital ads, and inbound marketing.
This creates familiarity across all your outlets and reduces confusion for your customers. Don’t leave them second-guessing if a promotion is related to your brand or lost once they navigate away from your main homepage.
There is an 80% success rate when people use navigation schemes structured to fit most users’ mental models, as compared to 9% when developed according to company internal thinking, according to Nielsen Norman Group.
While errors occur even on the best websites, taking steps towards preventing them and reducing error-prone situations is beneficial to your business’ growth. Also, look for opportunities to make the error-correcting process fast and easy for you users. For example, site search tools should account for typos or similar products. Require confirmations to reduce actions like accidental check-outs or confirm newsletter subscriptions.
Make things easy for the user and readily display options. Don’t assume that the user will remember information from one action to the next. For example, on an e-commerce platform you may consider having a “recently viewed” so users can quickly navigate to previously viewed products.
Your platform should be accessible to both beginner and advanced users. For example some sites allow users to login and save their shopping preferences using their social media or email login. This allows them to remember only one username and password. Advanced users, however, may prefer to have separate credentials.
Don’t clutter your website. Businesses tend to want to provide as much information as possible for their users but instead of informing, it can bog down the design and result in a clunky mess that derails users from making their purchase. Use “calls to action” (CTAs) like “read more here,” “learn more,” or “watch a demo” to provide an easy to follow path for those interested in more information while not over cluttering the page and taking away from the primary feature.
Error messages — 404s, 503s, username or password errors — should clearly spell out the problem and how to fix it. Avoid code-only or vague error messages. Users appreciate when they can quickly and easily fix the problem, whether it’s needing to login, reset a password, or navigate to a different page.
Although your system and platform should be user-friendly enough to not require a step-by-step guide, you should still have helpful documentation for users to use as a resource. This may include a site index, an FAQ, or troubleshooting guide.
UX design goes so much deeper than beautiful interfaces. It integrates stats and timing to connect users to content or product based on the stage of purchase that they are in. It also allows for blueprints for user interaction to be mapped out and more deliberately integrated into the layout of the website; giving the user what they need, where they are.
Improved UX design results in:
UX should be part of your business model and company culture. Integrate these elements into your strategy if they aren’t already there:
Tie these elements back to your company’s mission and goals. Use UX to support your story and create a positive, joyful experience for your users while also gaining valuable insight about what works and what doesn’t so you can continue to surpass your competitors.
Don’t make it difficult for users to navigate your website. They shouldn’t have to click through pages. Quite simply your goal is to sell a service or product, keep that in mind and answer your customer’s questions before they ask them.
Build-in information into your website’s design. Even consider placement on the homepage. 86% of website visitors say they want product and service information above contact or company information, according to a report by Huff Industrial Marketing, KoMarketing & BuyerZone.
Proven interface usability elements that will increase your sales:
An element of UX design is understanding your customer and their behavior. Customer behavior analysis is the measurement and analysis of how customers interact with your company. What are the variables that influence their actions?
By understanding your customers you’ll be able to offer personalized content that matches their preferences. This differentiates your company from your competitors. 41% of customers said they switched companies because of poor personalization. Personalization offers a deeper connection between the customer and the company and shows that you value them.
Nobody likes a pushy salesman. Timing your content and delivering appropriate CTAs is key. Segment your users from your potential customers, your first-time buyers, and your returning customers. Each has different needs and different problems to solve before reaching product checkout.
Maximize your content strategy through analytics software and measuring tools like HubSpot which has reports and CRM features to view web traffic, build lists, and get some insight into customer characteristics and engagement activity.
Whether it’s at the start of UX design or through discovery of user-interaction errors, a design sprint offers a relatively quick way to learn fast and fail fast. Potentially costly complex problems are condensed into five days. This helps you:
Design sprints incorporate members from each of your company’s departments— from design to tech to financial to marketing and customer service. This allows for a testable prototype and proposed solutions that take into account not only solving the problem at hand but also real constraints that various departments may face. It encourages cross-team collaboration and results in employable solutions.
At the center of every business model and strategy is the user. They are the backbone of any successful business. UX design hones in on this concept, building strategy development around it. 6.3 billion searches are performed every day on Google. Imagine that every search brings has the potential to bring new users to your company and products and strategize accordingly.
Competitors are more accessible today than they’ve ever been with the development of mobile apps, paid ad marketing, and improvements in logistics like next-day shipping. Differentiate your business from the rest with a positive and resonating user experience. Actively develop strong brand loyalty and returning customers that will help organically promote your company by investing in UX design upfront. Reduce your future costs in customer support and maximize your inbound marketing efforts.
Bring the heat to your competition by delivering a crave-worthy brand that your customers will be excited to engage with, love and promote!
Feeling a little overwhelmed? You don’t have to do it alone.
The experts at We Love Toast are ready to help you maximize your UX and increase your site’s traffic. Let’s talk!