What Is UX and Why Does Your Website Need It?
UX is the (somewhat) new kid on the design and development block. If you’re developing a website, app or any type of software, chances are you’ve already heard of it from your design or dev team. In case you haven’t, we’re here to answer your most elementary questions about what user experience is and how it can benefit your online presence. So you’ll know what to ask your team for, why else?
What is UX?
Simply put, user experience (UX) is what it sounds like: a flow of information and action that guides visitors or users through your product (website, app, software). It is the sum of factors that allows the visitors on your website to understand it at a glance and use it with ease.
As you can probably guess, good UX greatly contributes to converting visitors to returning customers. If your visitors are able to quickly find what they are looking for, find out more about it and, in the end, easily purchase it, you have the right “user experience” set up on your website. And that is the golden ticket not only to a long and very fruitful activity for your company but also to a very high level of customer satisfaction.
Why is UX suddenly important now?
At the beginning of the internet, having killer graphics and/or cool effects on your website mostly did the trick. Remember that most web surfing was done on desktop computers and there weren’t so many websites to start with. Plus, there was no social media!
With the advent of mobile computing (laptops, tablets, smartphones, smart watches) and with the evolution of technology, came more and more (complex) websites. To capture and keep customers you need much more than just killer graphics. You need:
- very well-curated content (and search-engine friendly),
- a very efficient and simple to understand user interface (UI)
- definitely a mobile-responsive website – nowadays, most customers come from mobile platforms, so if your website is not at least mobile-friendly, you don’t exist.
Basically, you need to make life as easy as possible for your customer throughout the whole process of using your website, from landing on your homepage to confirmation of purchase. If your website is not better, faster and easier to use than the competition, you lose customers. It’s as simple as that.
Why go through the hassle of implementing an optimal UX?
Admittedly, implementing an optimal UX for your website is not a small feat. It takes a lot of planning, work, design, head scratching, more work, more planning, more design, testing and so on. And all that means a significant financial investment. Then why do it at all? Why should you put yourself through this particular gauntlet?
1. Customer satisfaction
This might be the most important thing you get out of a successfully implemented UX. If the customer is able to easily use your website to find information about your product/service, to compare products, to then purchase the right product, they will not only come back, but they will also spread the word. By taking the time to ensure customer satisfaction, you will also get customer loyalty and free advertising.
The process also holds true for a bad UX. If you annoy your customers, they will never use your website again, and they will tell their friends about the negative experience they’ve had. That’s something you definitely don’t want. Word of mouth (especially negative word of mouth) spreads like wildfire!
2. Higher return on investment and conversion rates
This also stems from customer satisfaction and loyalty. If you make and keep your customers satisfied, they will keep coming back and buying your products/services.
Return on investment (ROI) is a measure of how much money your website makes compared to how much money you’ve invested in building, maintaining and advertising it. Obviously, if your customers are satisfied, this will generate more sales, hence your will get your investment back sooner.
The conversion rate shows you how many of your website visitors turn into actual paying customers. If your UX is smooth throughout, your conversion rate will be much higher than if it isn’t. If you succeed in making it simple for the visitor to find out more about your products/services and make a purchase, they won’t hesitate to give you their money.
3. Increased efficiency and productivity for your company
Why? It is really simple: the less problems a customer has in using your website and/or purchasing the items they need, the less time you need to spend with customer support and the more time you can spend growing the business.
Also, don’t forget that UX refers not only to the experience of the customer but also to the experience of your own staff. If your website is buggy and/or its staff-facing side is not working well, it doesn’t matter that the customer has it easy. Problems will crop up when preparing the items for delivery or indexing inventory or anything else that your staff does on a daily basis.
Therefore, take care of implementing the optimal UX for both customers and staff and you will significantly improve efficiency and productivity throughout your business. That’s a lot of money saved right there.
4. Opportunity for innovation
In this oversaturated market, bringing some innovation to the table is always welcome.
Nobody says that you need to do things exactly the same way others do it. Do it your own way, but make sure you have the right UX to support your goals. Also, if you think you can do something better than the rest of the market, go for it!
Again, always keep in mind your customer. Make sure the innovation you bring to the table will not unnecessarily burden and/or confuse your customer or staff. Think it through, find the right way to implement it and GO FOR IT!
Innovation is one of the keys to progress in any field, so why would the web be any different?
Now that you know what UX is and how it can help your website and your business grow, it’s time to use this knowledge to decide on a designer and/or developer who can help you out with the many aspects of user experience.
And just so you’re prepared: working with a good UX designer will not be comfortable. They will ask you a lot of questions and drive you to make a lot of (sometimes uncomfortable) decisions. When you feel despair creeping up on you during this process, remember that the end result will be a really streamlined, perfectly functional and beautiful website. Keep at it and make it happen. It will be worth it.
Do you have any questions for us? Leave them in the comments for us to answer.