It’s easy to live in our digital bubble and think everyone we engage with is as ‘native’ and ‘net-centric’ as we are here. But the reality is that’s not the case.
Many people – depending on age, experience or type of business they work in are still a little reticent when it comes to implementing the right digital services in the best way for their needs. So we’ve taken ‘a step back’ and put together a small set of articles which we will release over the coming weeks that hopefully go in some way ‘back to basics’.
OK, so having an online presence is no longer optional. Ecommerce continues to change the aspect of out high-streets and there’s now an expectation that any business should have a website that as a minimum is efficient, visually appealing, and technically solid. Without these basics, a company will be damaging it’s brand and will be losing out on potential business opportunities.
That being said, efficiency and stability are no longer enough. Your site needs to be something that is actually useful for your customers and which helps convert their interest into sales. It needs to delight, and this is where your website’s user experience comes into its own.
What is ‘user experience’?
As you might be able to work out from the name, ‘user experience’ (or ‘UX’ for short) in relation to your website, is the experience an individual has while they are interacting with it. Naturally, you’ll want your website to provide the best possible experience for those who are using it and as alluded to above, the better this is, the more likely customers are to convert.
To give you an example, if you’ve ever visited a slow webpage, or a site you find hard to navigate, the chances are you won’t have been impressed and you most likely didn’t purchase anything. This is exactly what you want to avoid with your website.
In this way, the sites user experience is not confined to just the visual design. Creating a good ‘user experience’ is an approach to defining and delivering that covers all aspects of research, planning, visual design and engineering. The UX of your website is something that should be considered from moment one of any new site development. However, you will always have opportunities to improve it even on an existing web site or service.
What a quality user experience is like
Every business will have different needs and specific requirements, but a bare minimum should see:
- Simple and easy navigation
- Visual style that accurately reflect your brand
- Fast loading of pages
- Easy to use features and functionality
- Informative, optimised and unique content
- No broken internal links or out of date info
- Engineered to deliver optimally on any device
As mentioned – this is the base line. For the experience to truly delight a user it needs to go beyond this, and provide services, functions or interactivity that is rewarding to use. These moments of magic are the genuine USPs that your site can offer and can only be developed by committing detailed research and engagement with customers during the planning and scoping phase. Find out what your audience values and deliver on it.
The positive effects for your business
Being user-centred in your approach can deliver on a number of levels;
A greater understanding of your customers
With the thorough planning and analysis that can go into the experience in order to meet the needs of your customers, you can in turn get a better understanding of target markets at the same time.
One of the biggest positives of course is you can increase transactions, when your improved UX makes it easier for customers to find and purchase your goods or services.
From a simple traffic point of view, a better and more attractive experience can help stop many people from clicking away from your website by leaving them with a better first impression.
Improved brand perception
To build on this last point, you can help to improve the image of your company and establish a more professional and memorable brand.
The better your website is and the better user experience it offers, you increase the likelihood of returning custom. Most markets are incredibly competitive and something as simple as a better website experience could give your company the edge over your rivals.
With the right web-platform in place, on-going improvements and optimisation means that you can keep the site fresh and relevant customer needs – reducing the likelihood of having ‘rip and replace’ your site again in a few years.
Improving your UX
And here’s the sales bit :-) If you want to make sure that you are providing the best user experience for your customers, then this is where we can help. We will work closely with you to get a clear understanding of your business, before we use our digital channels expertise to create a site that offers nothing but an exceptional UX.
Using a CMS like Kentico, allows us to provide better designed websites combining the UX, IA and UI design and development as well as the integrated ability to analyse and optimise ongoing.
Design is the whole process of delivering a new website. So, if you you want to find out more about how better design can help you, please get in touch today.