Regardless of the ever-increasing ubiquity of User Experience Design, many businesses still are often unsure as to whether it will actually benefit them.
In this blog post, I hope to provide an overview of what UX can mean for a digital business, whether it’s a website, B2B tool or an application. In it, I will first try to explain what UX is, then go through a number of ways that an emphasis on UX, when creating your website or app, can positively influence your business.
WHAT IS USER EXPERIENCE (UX) DESIGN?
UX design is the process of enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty by improving the usability, ease of use and pleasure provided in the interaction between the customer and the product (http://iwc.oxfordjournals.org/content/23/5/473). What this means, in more simple terms, is that a UX designer works to ensure that the user’s experience of a piece of software or website is as enjoyable, intuitive and satisfying as possible.
UX design includes a variety of disciplines – visual design contributes to it (although is often considered separate), as does information architecture (the way in which information is ordered and organised throughout the product) and more abstract tasks such as interaction design (designing the way users interact with the product). However, rather than focus on the components of a user’s experience, I want to explore how investing in that experience can benefit your business.
HOW WILL IT BENEFIT YOUR BUSINESS?
More satisfied customers
At its most basic level, User Experience design is about creating an app or website which is easy to use, and which provides a satisfying experience to customers. Whatever purpose your web application might have, an emphasis on UX will allow your users to complete their tasks (and thus satisfy their needs) in a way that is engaging, without being a challenge or chore.
Increased user trust
A strong user experience is vital in gaining your customers’ trust – whether in your brand, your service, or your product. A seamless, enjoyable experience translates into something your customers will believe in – and this translates into loyalty, and brand recognition.
A higher number of successful customer interactions
By making the process of interaction and task completion as simple as possible, UX Design essentially ensures that your customers are able to achieve what they came to do on your app/website. Whether that’s to buy something, to find information or any other number of other things, by making that task as intuitive as possible it means fewer users are put off by the process itself, and thus you have a higher number completing that process.
Refocuses your business on customer needs
The very nature of UX design is that it’s user-focused. With user research, user personas, user journeys and user testing, UX designers are able to actually gain an insight into the needs of your customers and design based on those insights. What this means for your business is a renewed focus on the importance of the user. Many businesses come to realise the true, hidden potential of their model only upon listening to the feedback from UX tests.
Test the usefulness of your product’s features
User testing, which tends to come hand in hand with UX design, is a great way for you to test the value of your product’s various features. Any number of ‘experts’ can say you need this feature or that, but if your users don’t like it, or can’t use it, then you know changes need to be made. Whether it’s small changes or large, user testing helps ensure your product has the features that people want and need.
Your product is more likely to have a positive impact on your user’s lives
A well crafted user experience provides something more than just a means to an end. It enriches your user’s life in some way – whether that be by solving their problems, helping them complete tasks, or simply satisfying their desire to be engaged in some way. If your app can positively influence your user’s lives, they will remember it, they will come back to it, and they will talk about it.
So there you have it – a brief, overview of the benefits of UX design. Almost every business with a web presence can benefit from getting a UX designer on board to make their offering better, more satisfying and more memorable. Some – the Evernotes, Ubers, Twitters, AirBnBs – have even become indispensable, partially due to great user experience design.