Although it can be easy to dismiss some successes in the digital age as sheer luck or good timing, one factor which cannot be denied is positive user experience. If people do not have a good experience when using your site, it doesn’t matter if you stock more products than Amazon or boast better social features than Facebook, as people will simply be turned off by your website.
User experience itself, at its most basic, is the level of satisfaction that your website offers to every visitor or viewer. This can encompass many things such as the general layout of the site, intuitiveness of the site map, or the simple ease of use as far as transactions and login procedures are concerned. However as with most things, the beauty of your website goes beyond skin deep, and this is true for your user experience. It’s not just a case of designing a site to look pretty, as web designers must also research how their designs can consciously affect users, and influence their interactions and experiences on the site.
User experience can be broken down into 4 main elements, which can allow for successful UX design. Most design agencies work within these broad areas to help focus on an effective site launch. These areas are value, usability, adoptability and desirability.
In any aspect of business, value is key to ensuring customers choose you over your competitors. In the digital world, value is the difference between browsers, and clicks which turn into sales. Adding value also helps retain a loyal customer base. To offer value, you must research your web presence and the audience you reach. This includes things like demographic research, understanding where your traffic is coming from and when and so on.
Content can offer value, but it’s not the only thing. For example you could be selling goods and offer the most detailed product descriptions and reviews on site, but if the process of logging in and g is too complicated, users will ultimately head elsewhere to actually convert. You have to consider what’s valuable to you as well as to the user to achieve your desired outcome.
As well as value, your website has to be easily usable in all aspects, or you will lose out to competitors. This extends beyond the payment example mentioned above, as your website must be as easy and efficient to navigate as possible in order to turn initial clicks into conversions. You can even go one step beyond and create a site that not only rates among users for its ease of use, but which actually influences the way users interact with the site. For example take the largest social media site in existence, and how it has shaped social media going forward. Facebook developed from a profile-oriented platform to a site which encourages user-generated content, and is now considered a hub for communication.
Adoptability relates to how easily your content can be accessed by both new users and returning users. With this in mind, you have to think of your target audience and the research you conducted when trying to offer value. Where are most of your visitors reaching you from – is it through desktop or mobile devices? What sort of browser are they using? Then you’ll need to ensure your site is coded and built so it can be easily accessed by these browsers and platforms. You’ll need to check how much bandwidth your site uses too, and how much multimedia you have on there, as this will all affect to load time. If your site takes any longer than 3 seconds to load, users will choose another site in their search.
Less easy to gauge, desirability is still an important influencing factor in creating a successful UX. This is made up of a mixture of appealing content and eye-catching design, but it is unfortunately impossible to put your finger on an exact mix which appeals to users. However if you ensure your site boasts a coherent brand identity, with a clear shop front for retail products, then your reputation will begin to grow and your site will become more desirable.
User experience should address the main concerns and also aims for your core audience, at the earliest stage. UX should be in mind from initial development, and should incorporate all of the above points in order to generate more users, and most importantly conversions.