It’s fair to assume that most professionals with a website, app or online product will have heard of user experience, or UX, as it’s most often referred to. Initially coined in the ’80s by Apple, user experience has become a prominent field, and the benefits of UX are significant – studies show that every dollar invested in UX brings $100 in return.
Impressive results! But what actually is it?
What is user experience?
The answer to this question is not very clear. While UX is widely “known”, it has been adopted in many circles to mean slightly different things, and this usually depends on the focus of the team or company using it.
When Apple defined it in the ’80s, user experience referred to every experience that the customer had with the organisation. This went well beyond using the product and encompassed their experience unboxing it, ordering it, discussing it with friends, and any other possible thing you can imagine that made an impression on how the user felt about the experience of getting and using the product.
Today, it can still have the same meaning – all of these factors should be considered when designing a product and marketing it to consumers. But not everyone has an Apple sized budget, and it is the online experience, in today’s market, that has the most significant impact on the users’ overall experience.
Elements of UX
While the exact definition is open to interpretation, there are a few agreed-upon factors that make up UX, and the UX honeycomb by Peter Morville is a great way to break down these elements:
In the center, the product, service, site, or whatever it is being designed, must be valuable. This is the foundation. Then surrounding that you need to explore if it is useful, desirable, usable, findable, accessible and credible.
Through a process including market research, persona development, wireframe and prototype design, and usability testing, UX experts design with the consumer always front of mind. The honeycomb is their guide, and at every step, they are questioning if it is valuable, useful, desirable, usable, findable, accessible and credible. In other words, is it designed to satisfy and sell?
Four reasons – why is UX so important?
So we understand that UX is the user-centered design of a website, app, platform or whatever else. This is obviously nice for the user — a product designed especially for them — but what real value does it give to the business?
1. Conversion rates up to 400 per cent
In a study conducted by Forrester Research, it was found that improvements in UX design could yield conversion rates up to 400 per cent. Now, we understand that those rates sound far too good to be true, but that is exactly the result Oktra was able to achieve after working with us to design their bespoke, mobile responsive website.
2. Uncovers new opportunities
Focusing on UX involves a lot of listening to users, and listening to users allows companies to keep abreast of new market opportunities. Customer listening could uncover a need for a new product or solution that your customers are already dying to use, or it could tell you that a simple change in website design would lead to better UX and in return boost site visitors and conversions.
3. Keeps users coming back
These days we are all very spoilt when it comes to the UX of the websites and platforms we use. We’re used to super-fast loading speeds, effortless navigation and seamless click-throughs to more information. Anything that fails to meet these standards today will quickly lose our attention and push our patience to its limits. Think about your own experiences. When you find a site you like, you go back. Once you’ve had one bad experience with another, you stay away.
4. Influences user behaviour
When you deliver experiences that users love, you hold power to influence their behaviour. This could be moving them effortlessly through to making a purchase, sharing content, or engaging with more pages on your site. Merely changing the aesthetic to please your users can have a profound effect on your ability to keep them on-site or encourage them toward positive action.
So, how can you enjoy some of those results? The best place to start is with a Discovery Session. Through a discovery session, our UX experts can help deep dive into the goals of your business and design solutions that meet those goals while delivering your users an experience that meets their wants and needs, which drives sales, satisfaction and builds brand credibility.
Contact us today to discuss what’s involved in the discovery process, and how we can design a user-centered website that meets your goals and delights your users.