User experience, or UX, means everything to an organization. Is this a bold statement? Possibly. A true statement? Much more likely. And when you consider the impact UX has on your brand, even if you don’t agree that it means everything, you’ve surely recognized it means enough to scroll through your site to determine if the interaction is as seamless as it should be.
We’ve passed the point where web sites can only be informative, or visually appealing, or have engaging content. Users are expecting a comprehensive experience, from landing page to logout, with all the frills in between that make their visit to your site memorable. The fallout from not properly creating this experience can be much worse than you think. Users will stick with the first positive user experience they encounter—you want that encounter to be yours.
You’re talking about close to 90% of users not returning to a site because of a bad experience.
Creating a Memorable UX
As General Manager of Sales at Numero Uno Web Solutions, Ara Libarian fully understands the urgency businesses undergo to create a strong UX. He runs an online marketing company that offers services from web design to content development and sees the results of this first hand.
“You’re talking about close to 90% of users not returning to a site because of a bad experience,” says Libarian, referring to a recent EConsultancy study. “The large majority of that is related to design, but there’s so much more to consider when determining how to effectively construct a positive UX.”
Libarian says it starts with knowing your user, both current and potential, and creating a site that caters specifically to those individuals. This takes research and testing to a high level of understanding who your users are, what they expect once they land on your site, and how they behave once they begin browsing.
If you’re not adjusting to this new mobile reality, you’re losing users. It’s that simple.
“Even taking something simple like getting at least five users to test your site can solve most of your UX problems,” Libarian continues. “It’s a principle we practice consistently at our company and goes a long way to producing an appealing web site.”
What Qualifies as a Strong UX
Design is just the tip of the iceberg. Because most people are visual, design is critical as a first impression. Beyond that, several other questions need to be asked to ensure you are doing everything possible to establish a positive UX.
Asking simple questions like whether users are getting the information they are looking for, or if there is enough useful content on the site to make you credible, are important steps when assessing the quality of the user experience. Are you asking non-IT staff from different departments to test the usability of the site? People who are not technologically proficient should still be able to navigate your site effortlessly and find all the information they are looking for as well as complete all the intended actions.
Libarian also reminds businesses trying to deliver a comprehensive UX that they must put mobile compatibility at the top of their lists: “It’s impossible now to consider designing a well-functioning site without closely examining how it will operate over mobile. Google announced recently that more searches through its streams are now done through mobile devices than from any other source. If you’re not adjusting to this new reality, you’re losing users. It’s that simple.”
UX Needs to Be Personal
This is the era we live in. If users don’t feel like they are being explicitly catered to, then they’ll go somewhere else. Though this is a function that may not be possible for all organizations, the ones who can offer personalized search or suggest offers based on purchase history or even location, need to implement that into their marketing. Having users feel like you’re inside their heads is quickly becoming an expectation rather than a luxury.
It takes a lot of work. And creating a powerful and memorable user experience needs to be made an essential part of any branding activity. Capturing the attention of consumers is too important in an era when people are constantly being exposed to content from all directions. Consumers now are forced to find some way of filtering this barrage. Eliminating negative experiences is one way they are reaching those conclusions.
Libarian concludes, “Knowing this, taking the time, effort, and spending the dollars on producing a worthwhile UX is worth the investment. I’d take it one step further and say no organization can afford not to.”