The added-value of UX Design
- What is UX Design?
- The high street analogy
- Matching needs
- Finding quick fixes
- Getting out of a design rut
- Setting measurable goals
- Helping teams with MVP
- Applying commercial common sense
- Bringing UCD processes to the table
- Realising what’s important?
- Better interaction, better business
What is UX Design?
In their varied role, a User Experience (UX) Designer combines aspects of psychology, business, market research, language, design and technology to provide a seamless digital customer experience online.
For example, at Higher Ground:
“We make it easier to see, do, find or buy whatever people need on desktop, mobile, laptop or tablet.”
The high street analogy
The analogy between on and off line business worlds holds true: a new business owner commits to leasing a high street premises for 5 years, spending several £1000’s on an initial fit out before launch. New business ventures have much improved survival rates in the highly competitive commercial environment of the high street if they continuously invest in:
- Ensuring the premises stays fit for key purposes
- Understanding their core customers’ needs
- Presenting attractive window and store displays
- Updating their displays at regular intervals
- Creating easy, hassle free buying experiences
The digital world is similar to the high street in many ways: in attracting potential customers through research and marketing: in building a business through web development and increasing revenue by persuading visitors to buy your products or services. However, with websites, you can test multiple versions of your shop to find the most successful format. With websites you can tailor offers and footfall from across the marketplace to increase sales.
Invest well in creating a great User Experience and business will thrive.
When a business finds its core objectives and KPI’s becoming purely quantitative: driving the business only for the business’ financial sake; then the qualitative priorities of the customer or user usually fade as a consequence. Reframing and rebalancing the needs of both is necessary
Unless a business serves its customers’ needs... it has no purpose.
Market place measures require human counterbalances.Once you begin to understand users’ behaviours and the needs that drive their behaviours, you can design an online offer that naturally motivates other users to adopt similar behaviours.
“Good design is good business.” T.J. Watson Jr., former president of IBM
From coffee cups to nuclear hiccups: Dee, senior product designer at AJ Smart, provides a helpful and informative UX Design explanation in this video:
Finding quick fixes
The quality of user experience (UX) is the prime factor that ensures a site sustains a visitor’s engagement beyond a catchy headline or sharp graphic. It’s also the quality of a site’s UX design that determines whether they will return.Focus on usability and accessibility to keep users happy and engaged.
Often it’s the obvious things that can have significant positive impact on user experience and levels of engagement:
- The psychology of colours
- Using call to action buttons
- Improving loading times
- Repairing broken links
- Simplifying site navigation
- Improving presentation
- Embedding video content
Is your UX Design improving customers’ engagement or driving users away?
Getting out of a design rut
Chances are that the people who use your website don’t want or need the same things you do. Your experience as designer/owner is not the same as the customer/user. Design for their needs, not your ego’s. Are you trying to be clear or clever with your UX Design? Get over your own sense of self-importance and get on with the tasks that matter.
Holding on to particular site content or imagery purely because it has relevance and emotional resonance to you - you created it; it reminds you of something important; it is linked to your original business idea - may not necessarily work for site visitors and their needs now. Looking at the same thing all of the time, because it is familiar and reassuring to you, may not help.
As a business grows the complexity and nature of ownership grows too. Successful management and completion of competing tasks takes up much time and energy. Your site’s productivity and effectiveness in attaining results can wane without a regular, clear and targeted focus on small maintenance tasks and updates that a website will always require.
The site you originally created or commissioned will not be the site that suits an evolving market landscape over time. On-going education, research and insight are necessary to stay ahead and remain competitive.
In UX design, a persona stands for a group of users with similar behavioural patterns, goals, motivations, and expectations. They are only snapshots in time of your users and risk becoming obsolete if they no longer reflect your current users’ behaviours and needs. User personas may need to be updated to reflect new market realities: changing technologies, demographics and patterns of interaction to serve actual customer’s needs.
UX Design provides fresh perspectives to help a business get out of that rut and back in the groove.
Measurable goals, balanced outcomes and indicators of success
SMART (Specific, Measurable, Actionable, Realistic, and Time-Based) target setting can be the key to better user experiences and digital business success. A strategic UX Designer will plan for optimal results by assessing and planning for all project needs as well as expected outcomes and impacts.
Most commercial businesses are not wholly altruistic in nature - they want to turn a profit, grow and succeed; but the nature and detail of key performance indicators can subtly shift when viewed through a UX Design lens. Measuring levels of overall customer satisfaction will signal higher levels of loyalty; this should then reflect in increased revenue.
A carefully balanced and measurable qualitative KPI can lead to beneficial customer outcomes and have quantitative impact.
Examples of qualitative targets and quantitative impacts:
- A redesigned government website increased levels of user satisfaction, reducing the time it took to find information by 62% and saving a US state $1.2M per year
- Visitors to a redesigned website for Staples increased by 80% with a 67% increase in repeat customers and 45% reduction in drop off rates.
- National Lottery New Zealand had a separate app and website. A UX design team including Higher Ground created and merged an all-in-one gaming and ticket sales website: online ticket sales increased by 23% in the first 6 months after going live
Helping teams with MVP
Knowing which features on a piece of software are complex to build should be always part of the planning and prototyping of a product. But how do you know what the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is?
An experienced UX Designer will have a solid understanding of development processes and platforms - avoiding building a product that customers do not want and seeking to maximise information about the customer with the least money spent - a strategy which will result in a viable product release that has enough core features to be deployed effectively.
A good UX Designer will work with the business or organisation owner and help map out which features are essential and which can be pushed to future releases.
Have you built something and have to make a decision on getting a version out to market? We can help.
Applying commercial common sense
Applying Conversion Rate Optimisation (CRO) to a project reaches far beyond form filling or call tracking. For us it’s a methodology for tracking all success metrics.
- Conversion rates are what you measure.
- Optimisation of those rates is the UX part.
UX Design ensures responsive design components are created to interact with the user in the best way possible, taking into account development constraints such as coding for fast loading times, screen resolutions, vision limitations and language barriers.
Applying CRO to a sales oriented project ensures you establish, track and understand why conversions happen. This allows the UX professional to design more effective user journeys with more landing pages, increasing quality scores and creating more areas to sell from. UX & CRO should significantly influence the sales funnel by creating further opportunities to hold users’ interest within a website or brand.
Learn more about Conversion Rate Optimisation here.
The key to UX success is understanding WHY as well as HOW.
Bringing UCD processes to the table
User Centred Design prioritises the understanding of users’ needs before product development: helping to identify the most important tasks your product is designed for. A UX designer will apply research before development. Once research is gathered, design and development teams can collaborate and agree what product changes can be grouped into light, medium or heavy touch to prototype. This agile methodology works perfectly with best practice software development processes.
UCD encourages ease of interaction and prevents process-led flow.
What’s important to the customer is important to your business
UX Design adds value and is important because it strives to fulfil users’ needs; aiming to provide positive experiences that keep users and customers loyal to the product, service or brand. Meaningful UX Design enables digital customer journeys most conducive to business success.
Better Interaction + Better Performance = Better Business
Detail makes products, services and websites more enjoyable and easier for the user or customer: therefore improving their overall journey or experience.
“Details are not details. They make the design.” Charles Eames