The other day, a friend referred me over to a website for a product I was looking for, and when I got to the site, I felt like I was Indiana Jones trying to find the Holy Grail! This site was so hard to navigate, it was like flying an airplane into a dense fog. The search function felt more like a lottery, and the results were all over the place and not organized logically. To add insult to injury, the site was slow, and the menu was not clear with one link taking you to the wrong page! How could someone running an eCommerce site put something up like this?! After 3 minutes of wasting time, I looked for another site and ended up buying from that other site.
As a development company, we are very sensitive to websites that don’t function correctly or have a poor user experience (UX). How can developers not realize that they make a site that has these kinds of problems? Well, the answer is that sometimes good developers build websites from the perspective of a developer, and if they are not a trained UX expert, then things can go astray.
In today’s technology environment, it is not only a website’s business and content that is important, but it is the user’s experience (UX) that plays one of the biggest roles in a website’s success. The 2022 definition of a “modern website” is a seamless and responsive website that almost seems alive in how it responds to the users’ inquiries.
A “modern website” ensures that a brand’s image and characteristics are felt through the website’s user experience. Whether you have a website, an app, or a mobile application, you must optimize it to capture your customers’ attention.
Websites that have interactive and responsive designs perform better than websites that are poorly optimized. The more ease you provide a site’s visitors, the longer they will stay on your website; which increases the possibility of leads and potential sales. So, what does an interactive design mean? Why is better user experience important today? Why is it time to invest in UX/UI? Let’s dig deeper and learn more.
What is UX Design?
Even though it seems obvious, that User experience refers to how your customers feel when they land on your website’s landing page. It also includes the experience of the site’s flow of the brand story it is trying to tell, and the calls to action it is trying to generate.
Many people (including some developers) don’t realize that it is also the interaction of the visitors with the various website elements that defines the level of user experience.
UX design can mean so many things to so many people. On a basic mechanical level UX design is a website’s layout, menu structure, graphics, visuals, call to actions, colors, branding, look and feel, purchase process, contacts and touchpoints.
On a higher level, UX design is really about putting yourself in the shoes of all the people who will be using the website or software. From this empathic position, making a site design that each user would find satisfying to experience. A design that would naturally and effortlessly guide them to the site’s calls to actions, that would satisfy their reason for being a user in the first place, and therefore grow the business.
Responsive design, clear and exciting calls to action and better placement of elements provide an easier to use website, a clearer brand story and a more positive feel for users; which ultimately leads to a better user experience and a successful website.
Why Does a Better User Experience Matter in 2022?
The reality is, no matter how much money you spend on advertising, or how many blog posts you write, most visitors will leave your website within the first few seconds if the site is ugly, confusing, difficult to understand or navigate and lacks a clear story and good calls to action.
A great website UX is now one of the core ranking factors among Google search algorithms. Therefore, in 2022, good design and UX is now part of any SEO (Search Engine Optimization) strategy for a company trying to grow their website business. Besides presenting the business’s core product and services; it is just as important for the website to give visitors a great experience. This will create a great brand connection and fuel their desire to take the call to actions and purchase the products and services.
Marketing an online business is expensive. Spending money to drive traffic to a website or app, only to have the visitors leave quickly because of a poor user experience; is simply a waste of money and is bad for business. Worse, it can lead to damaging the brand and maybe ultimately the death of a business.
BENEFITS OF GREAT USER EXPERIENCE
A great user experience and outstanding functionality makes user’s journey better, enabling them to find the content and products they want easily. This leads to a lot of other benefits in both the short and long run.
Save on Development Time
One of the core benefits of investing in user experience (UX) and the user interface (UI) is that it saves on development time and costs. According to a study at MITX in 2009, they estimated that working on user experience at the design level results in saving 50% of website development time.
The concept of UX/UI and many of the UX/UI tools, such as Canva and Figma, is to make interactive illustrations, plans, concepts and prototypes at the design level; while leaving the developers to only having to focus on coding. A business can then change the design in a few steps rather than developing an entire website and making unlimited iterations. This saves important resources, including time, money, and effort.
According to WebFX, if you invest $1 in your website’s UX design in the early stages, it will give a return on investment (ROI) of $100 in the future.
Strengthen the Brand
Brand means so much today, and people now get many of the first brand experiences from visiting a website. A great UX design will strengthen a brand, and visitors will leave the site with a good feeling about a brand if they have a great experience on the site.
A poor user experience can really damage a brand. PWC found that 32% of the customers would leave a brand they loved after just one unpleasant experience.
Improve Customer Retention
A great interactive website design will motivate visitors to want to understand more about a brand, story and products and services. They will spend more time on the website while engaging with several distinct elements. This leads to a better user experience and ultimately increases the user retention rate. The more they engage on your site, the greater the chances of them becoming your potential customers.
In today’s competitive marketplace, keeping your loyal customers must be a priority. For it is no use to spend the money and attempt to get visitors to a site, if they leave quickly or only make a small purchase and never come back.
Generate New Users
The increase in user retention can help you get leads and boost your conversions, as well. If you use UX design to satisfy enough people to boost your customer retention by as little as 5%, it will reward you with a profit increase of at least 25%.
This means the more you invest in the UX/UI of your business’s website, the more you will see in revenue and profit. But there is more! Positive user experiences will generate new user referrals, which will grow sales. Why? Because 72% of users will tell 6 or more people about pleasant experiences which will drive new users to the site.
Get Higher Rankings
It is not only users but search engines that also prefer websites with an optimized design. Google announced it will emphasize and prioritizing websites in its search results, that meet its UX design best practices.
Remember, 75% of all website traffic runs through Google. Search engine optimization is now as important as developing and creating content for your website. Great UX is now one of the core factors of Google’s ranking algorithm. You can receive higher rankings on Google among your competitors; so if you have thought to invest in UX/UI design, then now is the time.
HOW TO CREATE A GREAT USER EXPERIENCE AND IMPLEMENT IT
There are many ways to make a great UX design. Here are six core steps that will help business owners, product owners and developers make products with great user experiences:
First, Understand Your Users
As a UX designer, you must know what the customers/visitors want when they land on the website. We can achieve this by creating buyer personas with a set of complete requirements. You can study the demographics, roles, challenges, objectives, and behavior of your customers. One of the most important steps is actually talking with all the different types of users who will use the product. You will want to ask how they would use the product, what are their workflows and what do they see as the most important feature sets.
Proper and extensive research about visitors is vital. Don’t assume that you know everything about your customers. You can conduct surveys to better understand their needs and challenges. This research can help you design the website for an even better and interactive user experience. A lot of this research will also be based on your interviews with users and stakeholders, and verifying the information you got from those interviews.
After making customers’ personas and understanding their requirements, it’s time to sketch the users’ journey. You must list all the channels through which your customers can land on your website. These channels could include Google, social media, discussion forums, direct links, etc. Also sketch out the search queries and subqueries that will get them to the website or app and what information or problem that they are looking for.
When you complete the sketch, you can convert all those ideas into a beautiful design. The design must be interactive so your customers feel as though they are interacting with your brand. All important elements, including colors, images, layout, and navigation, must represent the brand’s theme. This helps create a better user experience.
Implement the Design
Testing the design is the fundamental way to understand what your audience likes and doesn’t like. After the completion of the initial design, you should show it to potential users and stakeholders to get their feedback on what they like and don’t like. After you get the users’ feedback, you may need to tweak the design a bit to make the design even better through iterations. Then you can do a final version and then release it to the public.
To evaluate what your customers like, you can study user behaviors through various analytics tools. After implementing the initial design, you should set-up and integrate analytics tools, such as Google Analytics and Crazy Egg, into your website. You can make the next decision based on the results gathered from those tools.
In order for your business to remain relevant and compete with other businesses, you must consider implementing a better user experience through responsive web design. A great user experience not only helps you in achieving your business goals, but saves important resources, including development time, cost, and effort. You can achieve customer retention, satisfaction, and ultimately increase conversion rates through a great UX design. If you ever thought to invest in UI/UX, now is the time.