We all hear the words “user experience.” For years, industries have heard it and ignored it. “This doesn’t apply to us.” “Our customers don’t care about that.” And so on. While there were doubts on the validity of focusing on user experience, the real hesitancy from businesses was the lack of knowledge and the investment of something with seemingly no measurable return on investment.
Now, businesses are beginning to feel the pressure from their customers (or lack-there-of) and are turning to user experience as the answer. Even with the desire to focus on user experience, organizations are still asking themselves what is user experience? How did we get here and what should we do?
If your organization is having these conversations then you are in good company. You’re also on the right track and the beginning of a journey that will elevate your brand and bring you many happy customers.
What is User Experience and Why is it Important?
People often assume user experience is the experience people have on your website. While that’s true, there’s more to it than how nice your website looks.
So what is user experience exactly?
User experience or UX, is the total experience of individuals across all digital platforms. It is often thought of as the usability or design of a website, but it is more than that. User experience extends from when someone stumbles upon a brand's social media accounts, to asking questions via FB chat, to reviewing their Google page, to interacting with a website and its features, and even contacting the company.
Essentially every form of interaction someone can take with your brand in a digital environment can fall under the user experience.
Why is this so important?
Plain and simple, user experience is important because it affects your bottom line. Consumers not only value the experiences businesses provide, but they also have more options than ever before. This means if an organization doesn’t provide an adequate experience they will go elsewhere.
In fact, according to a survey created by Zendesk, 97% of people who had a bad experience would change their buying behavior (i.e. stop buying or switch companies). On the flipside, 8 in 10 consumers are willing to pay more for a better experience. There are countless stats we can explore, but think about it from your perspective.
Don’t you hate it when you can’t find the information you need from a company or their site is so slow you can barely use it?
The fact is this, users expect a good experience. Without one, you can kiss most of your customers goodbye.
How did things evolve to where we are now?
Many brands are scratching their heads wondering how we even got to this point. Especially those who were leaders in their industry. How did we go from simply being able to offer great products and customer service to now needing to offer a great user experience?
In short, technology.
Between digital experiences becoming the norm and companies like Apple innovating new and effective ways to utilize more commonplace technologies, people began expecting better experiences from every company.
Now that you are used to high-speed internet, imagine what it would be like to go back to dial-up. How about using candles to light your home instead of electricity? What would be your excitement level if you had to go to the video store to rent a movie?
As new technology is created and humans adapt, it becomes the norm and the expectation. User experience is no different. There is so much advanced technology at our fingertips and the transition from work to entertainment to social interaction is instantaneous. As consumers, this is our norm, so when we don’t have the instantaneous and seamless transitions we expect, we choose to go elsewhere.
Is it possible to compete in the marketplace without user experience?
User experience sounds great, but is it essential? Many organizations and even entire industries are exploring this concept and wondering if this is worth the investment or just a nice to have. Because at the end of the day that’s what it is about right? There are always fads or cool ways to spend money but does it affect the bottom line and can a business compete without it?
If I’m being honest, I believe that it is possible to compete without an emphasis on user experience under a couple of key circumstances:
- You have extremely high brand loyalty
- There is little competition or choices
- Your organization has very strong strategic advantages
However, these circumstances come with a warning. You can absolutely compete without focusing on user experience right now, but not forever.
We saw this with Blockbuster. It happened to Barnes and Noble. Polaroid was another.
A brand’s name, notoriety, or advantages may carry them so far they feel invulnerable to changes in consumer behavior around them but that doesn’t mean that users aren’t feeling frustrated or ready to jump ship en masse.
I don’t think the question for most businesses is “should we adapt?” I think the real question they are asking is, is it worth the investment?
According to paid research by Forrester, $1 invested in User experience brings $100 in return. With what you know about users and expectations and the impact it can have on your bottom line, why would you want to compete in the modern marketplace without some focus on user experience?
(Check out how one organization’s bottom line was impacted when they decided to invest in user experience.)
Where should an organization focus when it comes to user experience?
Let’s get into the real barrier for organizations. How to adapt to user experience. If we are being honest, many of us would have stepped into UX improvements a long time ago if we knew where to start.
It can be challenging to get started.
- Is there a need to design a new mobile app? Is it something that would make it easier for consumers to utilize our services?
- What marketing channels do we need to utilize so people can find us and the information we are looking for?
With so many possibilities and areas to address, what do you focus on?
Where else would you start other than the beginning? At MOJO we take a proprietary hybrid waterfall and agile approach to application, web development, and website design. We start at the beginning and work through each step of the process so that we’ve covered every aspect of the user experience.
Furthermore, we feel it is our duty to look at every touchpoint that your digital footprint connects with to ensure that the frequency and consistency of your message are in alignment with your user experience goals. Email signature, email drip campaigns, invoices, payment portals, and even hold music…nothing is off-limits to ensure a great user experience.
You can start in the middle and piece together the different aspects piece by piece, but it can become overwhelming and complicated.
At the end of the day, you must know your customers and with that knowledge, create a holistic approach to connect with them. It is a process of identifying the biggest pain points your customers and prospective customers face and creating solutions to give them a better experience.
Your users don’t just want a pretty website or hilarious videos on social media. They want to buy your products or services. Make it easy for them by creating a seamless experience.