User experience design – or UX as it has become known – is all about what happens with your visitors when they interact with your website. UX should encompass everything your visitor sees and hears and should work intelligently to create an emotional reaction or response to that content. In simple terms, it’s all about your customer getting what they want – not you delivering what you want!
Yes, you’d be right in thinking this concept is nothing new. However, hallelujah, the online industry has finally understood that it is the visitor to your website you should be seeking to make happy not the background search engines. UX design is about ensuring the needs and circumstances of your visitors are met and that are met with a website interface they are comfortable with and enjoy using.
This may sound relatively straight forward, but it is important to remember that visitors’ needs are constantly changing and evolving, along with their expectations and indeed technology. Here are some considerations to start you thinking about your user experience pathway.
Are you ready for your customers to easily and effectively engage with your brand? Your website is one of the biggest representatives of your company's brand – your shop window if you like – and as such it should be crystal clear about the exact, experience your visitors can expect to receive.
Looking for inspiration here, then undoubtedly Apple is one of the world's leading brand icons of the 21st century. Take a look at their website and you get exactly what you expect – sleek and minimal design, intuitive navigation delivering a clear and consistent approach – much like their products.
Your website should clearly communicate your brand offer and key messages. These messages are more powerful if they are customer facing and about your customers. Not ‘brand-casting’ about your company and what you do – a frighteningly common approach we see all too often. Your brand positioning framework, is a document created to ensure you’re always completely ‘on brand’ in your messaging. Start by considering these critical questions:
• What does your customer want?
• What are their external challenges? (delivery of service, business challenges)
• What are the internal challenges? (Budget restrictions, timelines etc?)
• What empathetic statement can your brand make toward your customer’s challenges?
• Why are you an authority on solving your customer’s problem?
• What’s your plan to ease your customer’s fear and confusion?
• What is your direct call to action?
Clear & Concise Call to Actions
Any UX website design should include obvious call to actions, making the path for your users to follow clear and straightforward. Whether directing them to place an order or request an appointment, simple is the key to success.
When designing a great user experience, you should break down your products and services into bite-sized categories. Ensure they are logically categorized and that the navigation is thought-through from a visitors’ perspective. This will ensure your customer can really engage in the products on display rather than be confused or overwhelmed by choice and decisions.
The House of Fraser website points visitors intelligibly with a choice of filters to take them to the type of clothing or product they are looking for. After displaying several images of the product along with a simple magnified option, the visitor can also use their clever 'Find Your True Fit' button where in 60 seconds you can enter your exact measurements, weight and shape to help ensure the perfect fit first time. How's that for good customer service!
Simple yet Inspirational Design
Your website should bring to life visually the success your customer will experience if they use your product or service. A website isn’t about your company, it’s about your customer. Everything on your website should be created with your customer in mind. Use images on your site to visually tell the story of how life will look if potential customers purchase your products and services. Will they be more happy/satisfied? Then show images of people happy with your products and services.
A good example is design icon Barbour. Barbour’s brand journey from being a brand synonymous with enjoying the great outdoors and country life, from walking the dog to cozy evenings around the fire has been reinvented with a contemporary twist. It now has more awareness and is more relevant to its newer audiences. Yet its founding principles of quality, fitness for purpose and durability remain enshrined in its brand differentiation, Likewise, the Barbour website clearly demonstrates the lifestyle of its customers and demonstrates products that will satisfy and fulfill all their emotional needs and requirements.
By eliminating website usability problems and improving user experience you can increase both a company's revenue and customer satisfaction all in one go.