UX, a short form of user experience refers to the kind of experience you may have while using or interacting with something which could be a machine such as your microwave or a car, an electronic gadget such as your laptop or smartphone, or it could refer to the experience you may have while you visit a website. Today, most businesses have an online presence to widen their reach and their focus is on creating a smooth and efficient User Experience for their website visitors.
What defines a better UX for website visitors?
In the context of website users, User Experience refers to the way users or website visitors interact with a business through its website, online communication platform and even online application. UX involves everything the end user experiences, hears, sees and even feels while interacting with a business or organization online. UX has become an integral part of digital marketing, as businesses, both offline and online, have realized the better the User Experience, the higher the chances of conversion.
However, in the digital world, there is no consensus on the definition of User Experience. While some businesses believe UX means designing a user-centered website or portal, others feel it is nothing but an attractive user interface. But majority of businesses often feel UX is all about usability. This said, usability is a part of UX, as when a customer is able to use a product or service seamlessly, it leads to satisfaction and enhances the user’s experience.
Why is the User Experience so Important?
When you own an online business, you will get many visitors who are interested in what you are selling. Depending on the kind of experience they have with your website, product and/or service, these visitors will either buy from your site or go to your competition’s website. This experience also determines whether visitors will return for repeat purchase or visit your competitor’s site the next time they want the same product or service.
Hence, for an online business, UX is extremely crucial. It is important for attracting customers as well as retaining them. When a visitor visits your site for the very first time, you have just one chance to “hook” the visitor. If you go by prevailing trends, it is quite clear that most website visitors take just a few seconds to decide whether they will continue browsing through the site or leave it. It is a well-known fact, UX has a profound effect on an online business’ bottom line. This is the key to success for major online businesses, such as eBay and Amazon, that focus so much on creating pleasurable User Experience.
Facets of the User Experience
There are several factors that have an impact on User Experience. These factors can make UX superior or leave website visitors angry enough to never return to your site.
• Usefulness: When you are selling a product or service online, it is necessary that your product or service is useful for the end user. If not, you should be able to come up with innovative solutions to turn the product or service into something that your website visitors feel the need to buy.
• Usability: It goes without saying that your website should be easy for visitors to navigate and use. If your website is too complicated, visitors will leave it to go to your competition.
• Attractiveness: You just get a few seconds to grab your visitors’ attention. Hence, the design of your website should be attractive and be a channel to promote your brand and create more brand awareness.
• Easy Navigation: As mentioned earlier, one of the key elements of a website is easy navigation. You can have the most appealing design, but if visitors cannot find what they actually need, it beats the purpose.
• Accessibility: Today, with the advances technology has made, people with disabilities can easily browse and make purchases. In terms of UX, accessibility is about making your website accessible to individuals with disabilities, as well. Not only is this ethical, it also makes your website stand apart. This will give your business a boost. Accessibility also means making your site accessible for users using different devices. Whether a user is using a desktop or handheld device, your website should be equally accessible without compromising the visitor’s experience.
• Credibility: People buy things online from businesses they trust. Hence, the way your website is designed and formatted will play a huge role in making your site credible in the eyes of the visitors. Once your site comes across as credible and trustworthy, visitors will believe what you tell them and this will influence their purchase decision.
• Value: Through your website, you should be able to deliver value to your end users. This value relates to creating customer satisfaction, which, in turn, will increase sales and boost your bottom line.
What all does UX encompasses?
There are many parts to UX and these different parts come together to create superior user experience. UX researchers study and evaluate how end users feel about a website. They delve into several aspects before coming up with the different areas that need to be built to create the ultimate user experience. Some of the areas that they focus on include:
• User Research: When designing the ultimate UX, it is important to thoroughly research the end user or the target market. Based on this research, you will know what your website visitors expect and feel when they come to your website. This research leads to the next area.
• Information Architecture: A good website requires a good structure; UX is determined by the way information is grouped together, organized and presented to visitors and how good the navigation system is. UX focuses on creating an effective information architecture that allows end users to reach and find what they are looking for. It does away with unnecessary steps and makes the finding system more logical and convenient. UX researchers use flow charts and tools to come up with efficient and effective information architecture.
• Visual Design: Your website’s homepage is the first thing that visitors will see. UX focuses on creating an appealing and attractive visual design that captures the visitors’ attention and nudges them to do what you want them to do.
• Interaction Design: Today, the focus is on engaging website visitors and creating an interactive site that motivates users to stay on the site. Hence, UX focuses on creating an interactive design. This basically means how the user interacts with the website and what he or she feels, expects or hopes during the interaction. It helps to facilitate the user’s tasks while visiting the website and makes the visit more interesting and productive.
• Usability: Here, the focus is on how well visitors to your website can use the site to reach their goals. When the site usability is high, visitors will be satisfied. So, UX takes into consideration the needs of the end users and creates an interface that is easy to navigate and access, so that users can find the various elements quickly and efficiently.
• Content Strategy: Even in UX content is important. This strategy looks to create useful and meaningful content that is delivered to the users via the website in an effective and appealing manner. Content strategy also involves curating the content as and when required.
The Importance of UX Researcher
A UX researcher is the guardian of the user’s needs. Before you opt for a UX design for your website, you need a knowledgeable and experienced UX researcher. This researcher will tell you everything you want to know and find out about your target audience. UX researcher may understand users by interviewing them directly, researching market data and then collating all the findings to help make changes to your design process. The role of a UX researcher is a constant one as users’ needs and expectations keep changing and evolving.