Your Website and the Importance of User Experience
Because it’s often the first interaction a customer has with your brand, your website is your first service representative, so the user experience needs to be flawless.
What is User Experience?
According to one of the foremost authorities on user experience, the Nielsen Norman Group defines it as being:
…what encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services and its products.
While the specific phrase user experience is commonly attributed to Don Norman who in 1993 stated, “I invented the term because I thought human interface and usability were too narrow. I wanted to cover all aspects of the person’s experience with the system including industrial design, graphics, the interface, the physical interaction, and the manual”, we can actually trace the practice’s origins to the fifth century B.C.
Fast forward to post industrial revolution and we find companies such as Toyota that had implemented systems such as Human-Centered-Production, which aimed to improve efficiency through convenient and respectful environments as early as the 1940s.
So the user experience, in essence, has always defined the ways in which we humans have looked to simplify a process, be it communication or task completion. As technology has evolved alongside with customer expectations, modern brands must maintain well-designed, easy-to-use websites that make information gathering and transactions just as intuitive as they are offline or in-store.
Investing in Digital User Experience
Considering everything an organization needs to manage – from operations, to payroll, and much more, it can be easy to understand how the website’s user experience might be lower on the list of priorities. This becomes especially true with regard to small and medium-sized brands that have conducted business historically in traditional channels; website design and the user experience have been looked at as luxuries rather than must-have business tools.
But in order to continue to acquire new customers, retain loyal customer and maintain a competitive edge, your business must invest in a user-friendly, clean design. Here are a few other things you stand to risk if you don’t:
- Lost customers and non-renewals
- High bounce rates (the rate at which website visitors leave your site after viewing only one page).
- Poor conversion rates (the process of a site visitor completing an order, thereby converting him or her from a lead to a customer).
- Overall marketing effort failure.
In addition to these concerns, brands must also accept that a new and growing generation of users (largely millennials who officially overtook the baby boomer population) grew up exclusively with technology. A website that’s user-friendly and helps the younger customer through his or her buying process legitimizes your business. Conversely, an organization without a clean, user-friendly website will be looked at as untrustworthy.
Glossary of Common User Experience Abbreviations
Once your business has decided to look into redesigning the website and its user experience, there are a few key abbreviations that will be helpful to have in speaking with vendor developers, sales personnel and business analysts.
This is where “U” stands for user and “X” takes the place of experience.
“C” is conversion, “R” is rate and “O” is optimization. This is the process through which a site’s user experience is enhanced to promote users converting to customers. CRO focuses on ease-of-use in design and functionality.
“R” is return, “O” is on and “I” is investment. The ROI a brand stands to realize is exponentially greater than the cost of designing, developing and maintaining a great user experience.
“C” is call, “T” is to and “A” is action. In website design and creating an easy to use, functional user experience, the CTA tells the site visitor to do something. This can be text or an image instructing your lead to “learn more”, “contact us” or “buy it now”.
A good user experience isn’t something that brands can continue to put off, and simply put, it can be harmful to continue to do so. Armed with information on what it is and why your organization needs it, you’ll be better positioned to make a decision to dedicate time and resources to a UX initiative sooner than later. And if you still need assistance with this or other integrated digital marketing services, simply contact us.