We all want happy customers. Having happy customers means we’re doing something well. When discussing ways to create happy customers, we oftentimes focus on interpersonal interaction, meetings, email and phone conversations. But what about creating happy customers through online interaction? A customer’s User Experience, abbreviated UX, refers to how the customer feels while interfacing with a system. The system could be a website, a Web application, desktop software or any electronic interaction.
Good UX is usually determined by answering “yes” to a few questions:
- Does the website/app provide value?
- Is it easy to use?
- Is it pleasant to use?
These are the questions that run through visitors’ minds as they interact with your website, and it’s these questions that help visitors determine whether or not they will become a regular user or customer.
Before the value of user-centered design was understood, emphasis was placed on aesthetics and the company brand—with little to no thought of how the people who would use the website would feel about it. There was no science behind it. Decisions were solely based on what “looked good” or what was most “creative.”
However, online interaction has changed dramatically over the last decade. The Web has become more global, more complex and feature-rich. Access has increased from just the desktop to a variety of mobile devices. Finally, accessibility has become more important—from special requirements (physical handicaps) to technological limitations (lack of broadband, older devices, etc.).Through all of these sweeping changes, the websites that consistently stood out were the ones that were pleasant to use.
Today, the driving factor behind website design and development is the experience you want to give to people who use your website. You need to capture your audience, provide the information they want and help them easily understand how to find it. If a visitor doesn’t understand how to use your website, they will quickly leave and possibly go to a competitor. Here are some tips on improving your User Experience:
1. Know your Users
Trying to be all things to all people only guarantees they will all be unhappy. It’s important to identify your key target audience—demographic, role within a company, knowledge of technology, how they access your website and what information they want.
You can have more than one target audience, but it’s important to limit it to no more than three key groups. Again, an audience that’s too broad waters down the focus.
2. Know What your Users Want
You may think you know what your users want, but in reality, the content they’re searching for can be very different. Analyzing site analytics, especially search terms, can help identify key content your users are looking for.
3. Know What your Users Need
There are times when your users aren’t exactly sure what they need. When you understand your customers’ search patterns, you have the ability to suggest other types of content that appeal to their needs. Asking a question like “What do they want this product or information for?” can help you identify a better solution for the user that they didn’t previously consider. Grouping related content and comparing similar products and services can help users find what they’re looking for more efficiently.
4. Keep It Simple
One of the biggest problems many websites have is an information overload. There are too many options and information with little or no identification of what’s most important. Given too many choices, most users will simply give up. Narrow down navigation options, submenus and categories to the most important.
Another problem is trying to be clever with your language, or using terminology that few understand. Users want information quickly, and don’t want to decipher riddles to find what they’re looking for. Be clear and concise, using key words (common words that a user will use in searches) to help locate information.
5. Be Flexible
Your users’ needs may change over time. It’s important to adjust your information and its accessibility to meet those changes. Also, your company may eventually offer new products and services that better serve your customers. Be sure to clearly communicate those changes to your users to avoid confusion and increase awareness.
6. Stay in Contact with Users
Without regular contact with your users, there’s no way to clearly understand their needs and wants—and how you can better serve them. Regular contact can be as simple as tracking user feedback through contact forms on the website, email or phone communication, or simple user surveys. If visitors are having a good user experience, they are more likely to respond to requests for feedback. Offering incentives for participation is another good way to get a high level of user feedback. Don’t wait until users quit using your website before you wonder why. Staying abreast of user interactions helps maintain and increase user experience.
If you need help creating a better online user experience, contact GREENCREST to schedule a meeting with a web design and development expert.