User experience (also called UX) encompasses all the aspects of the customer’s interaction with our company, brand, products and services online.
As marketers, we need a clear vision of exactly how UX affects your customers and make their overall experience as pleasant and pain free as humanly possible.
First we must understand that today’s smart, tech savvy customers are often using multiple screens, sometimes simultaneously, and more often on mobile devices. While 90% of them admit to using a number of different devices sequentially, they also report that their most popular cross channel choices are simply browsing the internet (87%), shopping online (67%), managing their finances (46%) and making travel plans (43%).
Second, usability and user experience are almost like two different animals in the same jungle. UX is a much broader concept and usability is just a part of the overall experience. While the two seem to go hand-in-hand, usability should be considered a small, but significant part of the equation that enhances and improves the complete user experience. UX should be easy to follow, efficient to use and friendly to the customer.
User Experience Design (or UXD) professionals often test, measure and analyze the following items as they relate to the success of UX:
- Learnability – the ease of being familiar with processes and the ability to complete tasks
- Efficiency – how quickly can the user accomplish simple tasks on their first visit
- Memorability – repeat visitors ease of use and familiarity
- Satisfaction – would users recommend the site to others?
Here are three more important concepts to consider for effective UX:
#1 – After Usability comes Findability
When users are seeking desired content, products or services online, they will usually look down several different avenues, using search engines and making inquiries with their social network, both on and offline. SEO professionals understand the importance of connecting website content with both human and technological reaches.
Nevertheless, some critics will still scoff at the necessity of SEO when it comes to the user experience. Don’t let these naysayers undermine the importance of good SEO when it comes to findability, while embracing other important aspects of UX, credibility, accessibility and usability.
#2 – Perceived versus Actual
Another important principle of both user experience and SEO is download time. When it comes to UX, although it may seem irrelevant or even impossible, perceived download time is actually more important than actual loading speed. It may sound confusing, but think of it this way, if a user is unable to locate a product or process on a website, they may believe that the site is operating slower than it actually is in reality. Conversely, if a customer finds exactly what they are looking for quickly and easily, they may think that the website is operating much faster, when in fact, it is not.
This is by no means a recommendation to ignore the actual download time(s) of a website and its pages since responsiveness is still crucial regardless of the real or perceived views of the user. Simply put, the design (UXD) plays a pivotal role in the positive outcome of the overall user’s experience (UX).
#3 – User Experience Incorporates Digital Marketing
Just as social media has both encompassed and disrupted online communications, user experience will supercede traditional digital marketing techniques. The burden of responsibility will shift from traditional, outdated forms of advertising to the ability of providing and creating positive customer journeys utilizing the best user experience.
The tight grip that social media has on today’s online users has many customers seeking advice and recommendations from aboard these social platforms. Good reviews and positive word of mouth cannot be purchased, but they can be found readily available on social media, along with their negative counterparts. These can sometimes stem from their internet cousin, user experience.
Utilizing effective user experience and important design techniques, combined with the other aspects noted here, findability, good SEO tactics and usability will give our users the best experience possible. They will reward us with their returned business and accolades to their friends and family on social media.
Nick Rojas is a business consultant and writer who lives in Los Angeles and Chicago. He has consulted small and medium-sized enterprises for over twenty years. He has contributed articles to Visual.ly, Entrepreneur, and TechCrunch. You can follow him on Twitter @NickARojas.