Exceeding customer expectations is greatest challenge for website and app designers
To earn long term trust and loyalty, business leaders must raise the bar and exceed customer expectations. This is the greatest challenge and can only be achieved by giving customers exactly what they expect - and even more. Understanding user expectations and designing the entire user experience towards exceeding them will certainly increase conversion rates.
The most daunting challenge for any business is to create a lasting bond between a brand and its customers. Mobile apps and websites need to improve the customer's online UX and also have the ability to attract new business. Therefore, design is critical for every stage of the sales cycle.
UX design has become an important part of business; it enables one to define customer journeys that attribute most to business success. Getting customers to engage isn’t an isolated incident, it is part of a multistep process and it needs only one bad designed touch point to lose a customer.
When designing apps and websites, one should learn from the customer and not assume you know their needs. UX is different for every customer, so businesses should make an effort to get close to them and watch them use the product.
Get to know your customer
Getting to know your customer is critical to the success of any company, it enables one to develop experiences that relate to the voice and emotions of the user. Based on market research and existing customer data, one needs to create a user persona that represents the ideal customer.
This is a complex but essential task and will) take substantial time to develop. One should also be aware that these personas could change in future as the business and customer base evolves.
One needs to conduct research with existing and potential new users to determine what would be the most effective design. The UX is subjective so the best way is to study and interact with users directly. Elements on a page are perceived differently by different users; one element might work for one user but be completely invisible to another. Therefore, a view of the way users interact with the website could provide valuable insights.
Analyse the target audience and find out how they would go about a purchase, how the website makes them feel or what language they prefer.
Whilst building a user interface, one needs to compare the effectiveness and quality of experience between various interfaces. Small changes in design could have a massive impact on the effectiveness of the site.
Google’s Optimise is a powerful tool that could be used for interface testing. It allows one to split the website impressions into two groups and view different version of each page on the site. This will help one determine which version is best and make changes accordingly.
Navigating through the site
The most effective sites are the ones that have made UX a top priority, so be open to change and learn how people use your website. One needs to draw a flowchart that illustrates how users should navigate through a website. Compare how one expects them to move through the site to how they actually interact with it.
You can better plan the optimal experience for users by using the user personas and by understanding the profile of the user on your site. There are also a number of analytical tools that one can use to see how users are engaging with your website in real time.
Build a sitemap
Thorough planning is essential once you understand how customers want to navigate the website. One needs to build a sitemap of the pages you would like to create; this is a hierarchy of all the pages and subpages within the site. This makes it easier to understand how a user navigates from one page to another and how many clicks it will take to do that.
A sitemap helps eliminate bad ideas early in the process and will prevent structural changes later once the site is built. It will also show all the pages that will eventually need to be designed. It is an effective tool that will improve efficiency in the website building process.
Visuals are as important as the site structure so one needs to invest substantial time into creating wireframes. These are visual guides and the framework of web pages; they provide a preview of the website’s look and feel. A visual website framework can help eliminate usability issues before a page is loaded. It will also save on development or unnecessary adjustments later.
User interface design patterns offer consistency and help find the most effective user interface. These design patterns could lead to better and more familiar experiences. Style tiles also help maintain consistency; they show the design of all modules on the site including specifics like colours, font sizes, buttons and type layout. Style tiles ensure a smooth UX across the entire site, helping users to interact with the various elements on the site.
Consistency is the key to designing a memorable UX. Style guides provide designers and writers with a framework for developing a design and creating content. The style guide must be easily accessible to anyone working on the website to ensure that the design elements and brand align with the ultimate goals.
User Experience Design
Creating a UX to the level of exceeding customer expectations is not one person's responsibility; it must be the company’s vision. Good UX design must always be part of product development process, it's not always what it looks like or feels like, but rather how it works.
Exceeding customer expectations
ESPN.com revenues skyrocketed by 35 percent after they incorporated suggestions from their users into their homepage redesign. A phenomenal UX can only be achieved by following an iterative design process. Everyone in the company must contribute to the process.
A Forrester report states that a well-designed user interface could raise a website’s conversion rate by up to 200 percent, while better UX design could boost conversion rates up to 400 percent.
* Nick Durrant is the Chief Executive Officer of Bluegrass Digital.