UX (user experience) design is a popular business buzzword right now — but what does it really mean? And how can your business benefit?
Before we delve into why UX design is important for your business, let’s take a second to clarify what it actually is.
Essentially, UX designers take a holistic approach to creating a new product or service, focusing on the way they’re used rather than just how they look. It designs the user experience from beginning to end, and encompasses all customer touch points in between.
To give you an idea of what this looks like in action, just look at Apple. The tech firm brought UX design to the forefront with its famously user-friendly devices and operating systems (as well as great looking products).
Steve Jobs himself said: “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” And to get to the crux of how something works, you need to consider the user.
But why is UX design important for your business?
Whilst the term “UX” has been a buzzword in the digital world for some time, questions such as “why is user experience important?”, “what does ux design mean for my business?” or “what do I get out of investing in UX for my business?” are still questions we hear regularly.
In order to address these questions, let’s take a look at some of the core benefits that investing in UX design can have on your business.
Benefit 1: Investing in UX design upfront can significantly reduce costs down the line
With any new project your business takes on there is always a certain amount of risk. But because UX design and design thinking are focussed on research, analysis and testing, you’re immediately setting yourself up for success.
More and more companies are starting to realise that preventing possible usability issues or problems from the outset, is far less expensive than fixing them later with product redesigns or bug amends. After all design changes are far easier to make than development changes – and therefore less expensive.
More often, the majority of the time only around 20% of bugs spotted within a product are actual problems. The rest are usability issues – most of which could have been solved in an initial prototyping stage (which is a core aspect of UX design).
Whilst working in this iterative manner may seem more costly to start with, it can save money in the long term and help you build a product that is set up for success, drives conversions and engages with your target users effectively.
But what exactly is prototyping you say? Well let’s take a look…
Prototyping is an essential step in the UX design process. By definition, a prototype is a “mockup” version of your final product, which is then used for user testing before a product launch. Its goal is to reduce the level of wasted time and money that can often occur when proper testing has not been carried out on a product prior to launch.
Now let’s look at how this alone can help reduce costs…
- Receive more accurate estimates and avoid feature creep
Making large-scale development changes to fix any bugs after product launch can not only be costly but time-consuming. And unfortunately, this is often found when a UX design has not been part of the process.By scoping and testing all feature requirements, designs and information architecture at the prototyping stage developers are able to provide better estimates of the time and costs required to complete the project – hence preventing any nasty cost surprises at a later stage.
- Getting your content right
We all know how important content is. It’s even better when great content is met with great design. And as with any website or app, your content can be key in converting your users. By addressing this early on in the prototyping stage, you can ensure that your content is fit for purpose before your website or app is even launched to the wider public – again saving time and cost for your business.
User and usability testing:
By definition, user testing is a way of testing how easy it is to use a product by testing it with real users in order to identify any roadblocks or friction they might face when interacting with it. However with multiple people within a business working on a singular project, testing users outside of this inner circle is key.
As a person close to their own product, you can often become too immersed in the project and form bias opinions about what features are needed and where. But we must not forget – you are not your user! In fact, the way your user thinks or perhaps moves around your website or app, is likely going to be different to you.
And this is why testing your content, product and interactions with small user groups outside of the inner circle can have such a beneficial impact on your business. After all it not only helps identify user interactions with your own product but also helps you spot any potential friction at the prototyping stage, before any development has started.
Benefit 2: User Experience can help you increase your conversions
We’ve all been there – you’re browsing the web looking for a particular product or service and have come across one or two websites that address your problem.
Whilst all of these sites seemingly promote the same content and products, one clearly stands out. It is easy to use and you are able to find what it was you were looking for quickly and with little to no effort. The overall experience was enjoyable and you happily save this website for future reference.
Now wouldn’t it be nice if this was your website or app? Unfortunately, many websites are missing out and subsequently over complicated designs that may look nice, are driving away customers away as they struggle to find what it was they were looking for.
The simple science of it is, as humans we are impatient. And this is further exaggerated online. With this in mind, now more than ever, it is important to consider how to reduce the level of effort your users need to take in order to maximise the number of conversions on your product, be it a website or app.
There are many ways to optimise your website or app from a UX perspective but for now let’s focus on two primary principles.
- Make things easy for your user – reduce the number of steps
Making it as easy as possible for your user to interact with your website or app is a key part of UX design. You want your users to be able to find what it was they were looking for. But even more importantly for your business you want to drive conversions and interactions across your web or app.
Whether this is purchasing a product, booking tickets or sorting through a database of complex information, by keeping things as intuitive as possible for your users, you are able to minimise the risk of users becoming frustrated when they can’t complete their task(s).
- Give your CTAs meaning!
Clear call to actions can make a big difference to the conversions, whether on an app or website. By principle these buttons should also make it clear to the user what the CTA buttons are about. Button’s that read “sign up to our mailing list today” or “book now” are examples of a CTA that might sit on a website.
Having CTA buttons that simply read “click here” are poor. It only tells the user to click on the button and does not tell the user “why” they should click on that button. What’s more, “click here” CTAs are also not particularly great for SEO, and we all want to do whatever we can to help our rankings in Google right? And this is one of many areas where UX and SEO are aligned.
Benefit 3: UX design can help with your SEO
That’s right, Good UX design can result in healthy SEO rankings. Google themselves actively promote great user experience in their search results. After all their own goal is to provide users with the best answer to their questions as quickly as possible by serving up the most relevant information first.
This not only translates to SEO, but also paid media or PPC (pay per click) marketing. Platforms like Google Adwords (or soon to be rebranded Google Ads) actively score the results of your “landing page experience” in your ad campaigns and gives you suggestions to optimise the user journey/focus on these pages.
User experience is a big factor in Google’s search algorithm. Where websites are concerned, a poor user experience can ultimately result poor SEO rankings, or in the case of Paid advertising (PPC), an insufficient ad campaign.
Benefit 4: Increase your brand loyalty with UX design
A good user experience goes a long way for any business. It is vital in building trust in your brand, product or service and establishing a longstanding relationship with your target customers. Seamless and enjoyable interactions promote customer activation, which in turn translate into recognition and loyalty of your brand and its products and services.
Acquiring new business leads is only half of the battle. Once they have converted how do you plan to keep them buying from you? This is one question that is particularly important for ecommerce stores looking to cross sale various products to their existing customers.
Great ux design doesn’t just attract new users but also helps retain and nurture existing customers.
A customer journey map or CJM for short is one way to help build customer retention. Often provided as visual designs or storyboards they strive to map out every iteration of the customer journey from start to finish.
This helps you to not only build empathy with your target customers, but also understand where they are in the purchase cycle and what possible problems they might face at particular stages in their journey. Metrics which all offer insight into ways to optimise your designs to drive better user engagement and inevitably, customer loyalty and retention.
Benefit 5: UX design can help increase word of mouth referrals
Even in the digital world word of mouth is still a great way of getting business. People buy people. But perhaps even more relevant here, people buy experiences and if you provide a good experience to your users then why wouldn’t they shout about it?
Word of mouth is not only seen in day to day interactions but across personal interactions on social media. We all know just how good word of mouth promotion can be to your business, but how does UX design help with this?
For a start it makes social sharing easy. If you’ve made the buying process as easy as possible for your user, then when it comes to recommending someone to their friends or family over social media, who are they most likely to recommend?
UX Designers understand the importance of driving social awareness for your business, and this is why they build seamless interactions to social networks through your product.
It also helps to build trust. I’ve said it before, but people buy people, and more notably tend to learn behaviours from their peers or people that are similar to them. This is where user reviews, star ratings and “people also bought” features begin to creep into the mix. All of these are valuable user metrics that showcase actual opinions and habits about how people are interacting, reviewing or rating a business and their product or service. And good reviews and ratings ultimately lead to better sales.
Changing lives with UX design
Now you may be thinking that increasing your customer experience was good enough, but get this!
By providing a great user experience for your users, not only can you increase the probability of them completing conversion tasks across your website or app, but you can change lives.
Think about it for a moment. By making your interactions as simple and intuitive as possible you are making your end users’ lives easier.
And if your app or website is able to help your users complete their tasks or solve their problems as quickly as possible, this will leave a lasting impression – one of which they will happily talk about to their friends and family.
Get in touch
If you want to know more about UX design and design thinking, then make sure to get in touch. Our UX designers would be more than happy to discuss the subject in more depth, including how it could help your business.
If you’re interested in working with Newicon on your next digital project, get in touch now.