If you are not in the design business, you may have heard the term UX being used recently but don’t quite have an understanding of what it is and how it can benefit your business. While UX certainly is a hot topic now, it has in fact been an important discipline since the 1990s and it is rapidly becoming more important with the rapid proliferation of mobile devices in our lives.
According to Wikipedia, user experience design (UX) can be described as “the process of enhancing user satisfaction with a product by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction with the product.” UX designers focus on creating products, mobile apps and web sites by focusing on users and their needs, wants and behaviors to improve their level of satisfaction. To put it in terms of your business, to create a positive user experience for your company’s product, website or mobile app, UX designers will design it in such a way that it has intuitive functionality, easy-to-use navigation and effective content presentation as some of its key features.
You may not understand what UX can do for your business, so below are listed a few of the main benefits that come from user experience design.
Increase conversion rates
In a business world that seems to be getting more competitive by the day, businesses are constantly striving to find ways to either distance themselves from their competition or catch up to their competition. User experience design is a powerful tool to use to do this as it can have a big impact on the bottom line by being able to improve your conversion rates.
If you are not sure what a good conversion rate is for a website, consider that the industry average is 2.35%, while the bottom quarter comes in near 1% or below and the top quarter are converting at 5.31% or higher (Search Engine Land). Obviously, most businesses have room to improve in this area as top converting websites were found to convert at 3X-5X as high of rates as those of other businesses. Imagine the impact it could have on your business if you could take your conversion rates from 1% to 2.35% or 2.35% to 5%. Now consider that there are websites that convert at 11.45% or higher. This is why so many companies are placing such a high priority on UX design right now.
By utilizing user research, real objective insights are learned that will help improve conversion rates. Only by doing the research and analyzing the data can an understanding of where, when and why your customers are leaving be developed. User research allows businesses to understand if their customers are confused or frustrated and what the pain points are along the way.
Utilizing both objective data from analytics and other sources and qualitative research techniques, such as user interviews and usability testing, an understanding can be gained of what your customers are doing and why. This knowledge can then be utilized to design more effective interfaces for the future that better meet your customer’s needs and behaviors. Information learned doing research allows UX designers to identify the changes that are required to impact conversion.
A key benefit of utilizing UX design is that it is much less expensive to address and solve usability issues during the design phase of a project than it is to fix them later. The UX design process involves developing an understanding of the right set of features from the very beginning and appropriately putting them together to create the right product. This process should involve refining the design via usability testing and adapting to the results. This is how UX design will help your business avoid making changes later on when it’s more expensive.
A UX design process will get feedback early from your target users and refine designs to help you avoid making costly errors. This is done using research and a user-centered design process that improves decision making.
To show just how effective UX design can be for businesses, Robert Pressman has stated in his book Software Engineering: A Practitioner’s Approach that: “For every dollar spent to resolve a problem during product design, $10 would be spent on the same problem during development and $100 or more if the problem had to be solved after the product’s release”. Meaning every dollar invested in improving the usability of your user interface during the design phase will result in a substantial cost savings over time.
Create the right product
Creating a website is a part of modern business that pretty much every company is familiar with these days. Websites are an effective way for businesses to communicate with customers as they provide easy access to information about the products and services offered, additionally they allow businesses the opportunity to be ‘open for business’ 24/7. But as competition has gotten greater and as customers have become more accustomed to businesses catering to their needs, many businesses have found that just creating a website is not enough.
In the modern digital world, providing a superb user experience to your customers is essential. User experience design can, from the very start of your project, help confirm that you are designing the right product for your customers. By conducting user research, insights into how your product, website or mobile app should be designed can be uncovered and utilized to improve your user interface and give the customer what they really want. User interviews at the beginning of a project are an ideal way to develop an understanding of user needs. Later, user interviews and usability tests can help with concept validation and provide direction as your project takes shape.
This can save time and money by creating the right user interface the first time. Additionally, user research puts you in a position of having the appropriate information to create an ideal solution for your users’ needs. How effective is UX? In a study by Forrester Research and Watermark Consulting, it was shown that the top 10 customer experience leaders in their study outperformed the broader market by a tremendous margin, as these companies were able to generate a return that was 3X higher on average than the S&P 500 Index over a 6 year period.
Drive customer loyalty
Your users’ desire to utilize your product, website or mobile app is critical. Products, websites and mobile apps often fail due to a lack of happy users. When it comes to the world of digital, ‘if you build it, they will come’ definitely does not apply. Modern consumers are experienced and demanding, they no longer are willing to labor through unpleasant user experiences because they know that there is another company willing to fill their needs if they just take the time to look.
It has been shown that businesses that create positive user experiences are more likely to have loyal customers. According to Forrester Research, customer experience is even more powerful than perception of value in driving customer loyalty. Additionally, these same customers are more likely to become advocates for your brand as well. Businesses and products offering high levels of usability are more likely to be recommended to others.
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