“You have to start with the customer experience and work your way back to technology.” – Steve Jobs
This is the essence of a user-centred approach and our growing obsession with User Experience in the digital world. Brands are focussing more and more on “usability”, UI design and other UX buzz words that are floating around. But what do all of these mean and why should your business care about great UX?
What is UX and the theory behind it?
UX or User Experience is all about seeing your brand from the perspective of your audience and continually improving their experience of your brand. This can include your website, your online shop, your social media presence etc. UX is closely related to branding – in the sense that branding promises a specific emotional experience to the customer, while UX is about how the customer experiences your service or product in reality. Creating an exceptional UX involves understanding the psychology of your current and potential customers. A bit like Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, what the user desires from your brand can be explained as a pyramid.
From the most basic level to the highest, these would be a UX that is:
This thinking would mean that your website first needs to fulfil its practical function, before focussing on the “higher levels”. It doesn’t matter how stunning your images are if the “Add to cart” function isn’t working. Ideally, a great user experience will include all of these attributes. Your customer should love your user-friendly online shop and the attractive design and the fact that they feel like a celebrity when using your product. The higher goals of enjoyment and significance are where a well-crafted UX will begin to shine and set you apart from other brands.
Creating an enjoyable User Experience
So how does one go about building this pleasant User Experience from start to finish? Here are some of the most important elements of UX:
- Usability: This is probably the most important principle. Can your users achieve the goal that they are after when they visit your website? Is your mobile site functioning well? Are you readily available and reachable through a contact form or via social media?
- Reducing the Obstacles: Simplifying things for the user is a significant component of UX. This can mean decreasing the number of steps a customer needs to get through, making the Call To Action (CTA) clearer or removing unnecessary clutter from a page.
- A Tailored Experience: This involves allowing users to manage their own experience of your site or app. Think of how Netflix encourages subscribers to choose the movie genres they prefer and continuously adjusts according to their choices.
- Consistency: Just as with branding, the user’s experience should be consistent across various platforms and channels. The customer should not be confused or disorientated by your brand.
- Feedback: An essential aspect of UX design is collecting and analysing user feedback on a regular basis. You can’t improve what you don’t measure. UX should continuously be changing and evolving together with the user’s needs and expectations.
Benefits of Good User Experience
For you, as a company, having a user-centred approach brings many advantages.
Investing in an excellent UX…
- Prevents you from wasting resources and keeps costs down
- Increases your sales
- Stimulates your users to interact with your content and share
- Improves customer retention and loyalty
Prioritising User Experience and refreshing your digital approach on an ongoing basis is essential for keeping in touch with your target market. Ultimately this attitude will set your business up for success and cultivate an enjoyable connection with your customers.