You're not only a business owner who runs a website or develops applications; you're also a customer who has used many services and bought countless products yourself. You know what it's like to wait in line for longer than you planned, to buy something that doesn't quite work right and to use an application or a website that makes you feel frustrated or confused. When it comes to running your website and offering services and products to the world, making your customers wait forever or confusing them is the last thing you want. So how do you offer them the best possible experience?
The Million-Dollar Question: What is UX?
UX, or user experience, is a term for defining how users respond to and interact with your website, applications, software and other digital services. It’s how people perceive your product or service and the emotions that it triggers. UX covers every aspect of your customers’ interaction with your brands, products and services and makes them either want to use your product again or avoid it altogether. The core concept of UX is to fulfil customer satisfaction as it revolves around the experience of a user and their thought process. This means websites can make informed decisions based on data and key disciplines, in order to make that experience between the website and user a positive interaction.
Peter Boersma, an expert in the UX field, defines the user experience as anything related to customer engagement and fulfilment. He also came up with the T-model, a set of core disciplines for UX designers to go by. These disciplines include:
- Information architecture
- Visual design
UX designers have added to the T-model, identifying web and app performance as key factors in creating a better overall experience for the end user. No one wants to use an application and deal with lag and unresponsive handling or wait 30 seconds for a web page to load. If visitors have to wait more than 10 seconds to load your site, they may become frustrated and click on the next search link.
At its heart, UX is a crucial discipline concerning the layout, interaction, sound, branding and visual appearance of a product or a service. Good UX creates positive emotions in users and makes them want to share their experience with others. In turn, they will continue to use your products and services and create more growth for your company.
The Many Types of UX Designers
Like many professionals in the digital field, there are specialists, hybrids and generalists in UX design. Each professional has an understanding of the core disciplines and specialises in one or more areas of UX.
Generalist UX designers have a well-balanced skill set in the five core disciplines. While they don't specialise in any one area, they understand each discipline and can help you cover the basis for building greater usability and design for your users.
A specialist UX designer has developed an in-depth knowledge of one of the core disciplines. Whether it's content, interactive design or research, a specialist knows the ins and outs of that discipline and brings a higher skill level to complement the generalist.
Hybrid UX designers have a broader understanding of the core disciplines and may have a deeper comprehension of one or two types. Hybrids are highly sought-after designers and form the backbone of experienced agencies. Combined with generalists and specialists, hybrids elevate the digital user experience.
How UX Designers Think
The "Thinking Process" of UX Designers
The thinking process of a UX designer is dependent on the scope of the project ahead. Based on the tasks involved, UX designers will collaborate with other experts, conduct studies such as holding focus groups, and perform abundant research before even beginning to design the layout. It’s important to note that a UX designer has a completely different skill set when compared to the average web designer. Though both designers care about the overall design, UX designers take into account various data to drive their decisions. They go through a proper wireframe process using tools such as UXPin to get the layout right before diving into the design phase. UXPin helps UX designers create and build interactive prototypes quickly and efficiently. It also helps them share feedback and changes within the app for better streamlining and collaboration with the team.
Data-Driven UX Design
Although it's important to use analytics to improve the design and the user experience, UX designers also use heat map tools to drive their decision process. Hotjar is an important tool in the UX arsenal and gives designers a visual representation of a user's clicks, taps and scrolling behaviour. It provides even more benefits for improving UX, such as offering real-time recordings of your visitor's behaviour, estimating online form completion rates and showing at what point visitors leave your site.
The more data you have, the better data-driven decisions you can make. Only by knowing your visitors’ behaviours can you make the necessary changes to improve the user-experience. This highlights the need for applying heat map tracking on your website as soon as possible. No matter what stage you are in with your website, heat maps should be a priority as they are easy to organise and inexpensive to setup. Gathering data early in the process allows you to make informed and data-driven decisions, due to the greater quantity of sources you have available.
With these tools and more, UX designers can properly identify and correct problems with your website. Through extensive research, design and testing, they can create, build and continue to refine your company's website with good UX in mind.
Want to know how you will benefit from UX design? Learn more about effective web design.
What Good UX Does for You
Although it's nice to hear about core UX disciplines and advanced tools, it all comes down to what UX can do for you in the end. Honestly, if you fail to give users a good experience, they will not return to your website or continue to use your app. It's that simple. With good UX, your company benefits from having:
- Increased sales and productivity
- Reduced maintenance costs and development time
- Greater customer satisfaction
Having a website or an app with good UX also provides even more benefits for growing your brand and improving the relationship with your customers.
1. Customer Loyalty
When you satisfy your user base, they will always return and continue to do business with you. Providing a good user experience prevents frustrating and confusing your customers.
2. Word-of-Mouth Advertising
Because they got exactly what they wanted, your customers are more likely to share their experience with friends, family and followers on their social networking pages. Good UX leads to better customer satisfaction and brings more customers your way.
3. Better Return on Investment
The more customers you have, the higher your profits will be. Increasing your conversion rates is a crucial part in building a sustainable online business. Good UX turns bounces into conversions and leads to better ROI for your site.
4. Greater Efficiency
An employee's user experience is just as important as your customer's. Good UX also makes for more effective employees as they won't feel frustrated when using your company's application or navigating the website. They'll be able to do their jobs more efficiently, thus boosting your company's productivity.
What Good UX Can't Do for You
What works for others may not work for you. Taking the same approach as another company might yield completely different results for your business. User experiences vary, and customers of different types expect different things. Therefore, you can't always drag and drop a UX design from one site to another and expect the same outcome. This point goes back to UX specialists and the tools they use to gauge customer interest, track their behaviours and make informed decisions using the collected data.
Usability and UX aren't the same thing. Whereas usability refers to how easy a customer can use your site or application, UX refers to how the customer feels about the entire experience. Good UX draws customers in and invokes a feeling. Simply put, it just works.
Implementing Good UX in Your Design
The average web designer does not have the skills to analyse, test and create good UX. You also won't get good UX from a low-cost website builder or a theme developer. This type of professionalism and careful attention only comes from an experienced UX design agency who uses tools to gather data and make informed decisions.
Quantum not only specialises in web development and digital marketing but also in UX. Our specialists understand the core disciplines and use advanced tools to give your visitors engaging experiences. You may pay more out of pocket initially to implement UX in your design, but what you get in return are happier customers, more conversions and a higher ROI. Contact Quantum today and increase your sales through effective UX design.