Lee Duddell is Founder & Head of UX (user experience) at WhatUsersDo. He is passionate about improving digital experiences for everyone. That is why he founded WhatUsersDo – so that organisations can base digital design decisions on UX insight and not hunches. You may follow him @whatusersdo.

1. In 2013, what are the most common mistakes companies are making in relation to UX?

Here are some common ones from the retail sector:

  • Unclear returns policy (written by a legal team, not a web content editor).
  • No guest checkout (users are increasingly expecting this).
  • Name entry form not supporting apostrophes (we ran a test with Irish users).
  • Irritation that out of stock items were added to the basket (speaks for itself).
  • Price sliders hard to use (on an iPad test).

2. Have client’s perceptions of UX changed in recent times? If so, how?

Yes, clients are increasingly recognizing how improving UX impacts the bottom-line not only in terms of increased revenue but also reduced costs and improved customer loyalty. Put simply, consumers judge brands not on their latest TV ad campaign but on their online experience with that brand.

As a result of this “enlightenment” our clients are now embedding UX testing (as part of their User-Centred) approach to ensure their digital experiences are optimized for users. The influence of the HiPPO (Highest Paid Person’s Opinion) is diminishing as clients increasingly focus on User Experience.

3. Can you provide an example of a company who is getting UX right at the moment? Alternatively, what would be an example of a company that needs to improve its UX?

Amazon.com is an obvious example of a company that consistently gets UX right – simply because people buy from them even when they are not the cheapest. They have UX nailed and they do this by continually acting upon data and insight. Their User Experience is their Brand.

In the UK, ASOS frequently fares well – again this online pure-player acts on insight and experiments with new concepts and approaches to enhance their UX.

As for a company that needs to improve its UX the list is almost endless since there is always room for improvement. Even companies who you think would get it, don’t. As an example we’ve be running some content tests for a client on their online videos which are hosted on YouTube. We’ve seen numerous users struggle to adjust the video volume as the volume control is displayed horizontally and not vertically. Volume is turned up and down and not left or right!

4. Is UX performance best assessed and measured using quantitative data (e.g. performance analytics) or qualitative data (e.g. customer anecdotes)?

A blend. Quant certainly means you can measure, but what’s the point of measuring if you don’t know why? Qual provides the why. As importantly, and perhaps surprisingly, revealing Qual insights (e.g. in the form of video clips that capture users’ frustration) are a great way to influence internal decision makers to take action because they are so compelling. Nobody likes to hear a potential customer leave your site because the UX was poor.

5. Is the increasing convergence of media channels (web, video on demand, social media) important to companies looking at the UX they provide for their customers?

Of course. It’s crucial. We’re seeing the emergence of terms like “omni-channel” User Experience (a few months ago it was plain old “multi-channel”). Users don’t care about the media or delivery mechanism they just want a great experience.

6. Are classic UX mistakes being repeated all over again in the mobile sites and apps being produced for smart-phones and tablet PCs? What are the key differences (if any) of providing good UX via mobile devices, as opposed to a conventional website?

Because there are fewer accepted best practices for mobile devices companies are faced with greater challenges. I think (and hope) the days of “we’ve got a mobile app” being enough for companies are over. The good news is that research exists that points to how usage differs by device and this can help companies decide what to focus on. Here are a few simple mobile tips (kindly shared by some of our clients):

– do the minimum you can for tablets (e.g. remove Flash, ensure buttons and actions are adequately spaced to avoid “fat fingers”)
– identify through Google Analytics the most common tasks people perform on SmartPhones and focus your SmartPhone version on those
– always have a link to the full site on your mobile site and vice versa

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