User Experience UX – Hooked on a Feeling
While User Experience (UX) is definitely a term from the online world, it makes me think of a footpath near my local shopping centre.
Why? Well, UX is about getting to know the wants and needs of your customers and distilling them into a website that delivers on those wants and needs.
What I’ve dubbed my “user experience path” cuts across an area of grass to a footpath on the other side. It’s a generous, well-maintained walkway. But no one uses it. Instead, over time, countless pedestrians have worn a more direct and more convenient path through the grass.
The town planners who put in the path didn’t take the time to get to know their “customers” wants and needs. The result? Their customers found another way.
In terms of your website, if you don’t meet potential customers wants and needs with a good user experience, they too will find another way – to another business.
So what is User Experience?
First and foremost, UX isn’t the same as usability, although usability forms part of a good user experience. Confused?
- UX is how a potential customer feels about the interactions they have with your website.
- UX is a customer’s perceptions as they find their way around your site.
- Yes, UX is about usability and accessibility (think multiple device compatibility as well as all abilities access) but it’s also wrapped up in feeling like familiarity, trust and even delight.
- Good UX Design sends a customer’s feelings into positive overdrive and leads to an easy and enjoyable interaction.
When beauty is only skin deep
All this talk about feelings may sound “airy-fairy”, but good UX Design really can make a huge difference to the success of your website and your business.
Remember that Blue Suede song Hooked on a Feeling? Well, you can hook more potential customers by giving them a good User Experience.
Here’s an example. We all want our websites and the websites we use to look good. But if your site’s gorgeousness overrides practicality, slows the customer down or confuses the process, it will work against you.
Your potential customer’s initial exclamations of delight will very quickly turn to groans of frustration.
Remember, your website is not for your designer. It’s not even for you. It’s for your customers.
Off the rack individuality
Of course, UX is highly individual, changes from day to day and is multi-faceted.
You can’t create or own someone else’s experience, but you can create a kind of “ready to wear” UX range based on cold hard facts.
This research can come in the form of:
- market and competitor analysis
- social media feedback, and
- data analysis
Data doesn’t lie
Data collection and analysis, including with tools like heat maps, are used to inform good UX.
Heat maps track the path of your cursor or mouse, and in doing so, your eye movement.
This kind of research tells us what newspaper publishers have known for a long time – the top right of your page, or in this case screen, is your “prime real estate”. This is where our eyes go first. Don’t waste that space people!
On the Online Influence website you’ll find our Google Partner badge and our contact phone numbers at the top right of our home page.
Simple ways to improve UX on your site
Even without diving into the data pool there are steps you can take to improve your customer’s UX.
- Make sure your site is mobile and tablet compatible – mobile devices now represent 65% of digital media time.
- Don’t let design override usability or confuse your message.
- Maximise your prime real estate – the area on the top right of the screen
- Simplify your content and the processes customers need to go through – too many hoops and they’ll jump ship.
- Make sure your tabs lead to what your customers most want or need –take a step back and examine your site with fresh eyes, better yet, get the Online Influence team to do it for you.
- Tell your story – your customers need to “know, like and trust” you.
- Don’t waste too many words telling people how fabulous you are, instead tell them why they need your services and how you can help them.
Forging your own path
This post has only just skimmed the surface. UX and UX Design can lead you down a myriad of pathways – paths no town planner would ever dream up!
The team at Online Influence can help you improve your website to improve your UX and create a welcoming path your customers and your potential customers will willingly follow.