Have you ever tried to sell or market an app or online service and had poor results? That happened to me when I thought marketing and sales are not for me. Until I learned about “user experience design”.
Many people define it as the experience the user has with a service or product, either online or offline. Even though that is correct, it’s a bit more complex than that (like all good things :). Why user experience design is vital to any web project and how it can benefit your web product or service, is something that I will discuss in this article, and probably in many more (muahaha). And that also leads to the question how do we succeed in providing a great user experience?
What actually is User Experience (UX)?
"A Beginner’s Guide to Understanding UX Design" provides, from my point of view, an easy explanation of UX:
" UX Design can be defined in several different ways, but in the simplest form is understanding what people do and then designing a way to make it better. The goal is to first clearly define the user and meet their measure of success (in concert with the organizational or client goals)."
Check out this video to better understand UX and its superpowers:
What are some benefits of UX?
We want technology that is simple, fast and makes us happy. Nowadays, as we are bombarded with so many apps, we have shorter attention span, we scan text in seconds, looking for that online service that calls our name. This where UX comes in. How do we get competitive advantage over other businesses? Below are some benefits in investing in user experience design:
- UX reaches your customers quickly. We are emotional beings. We process information through our emotional filter first, then logically. What this means, is that websites or apps appeal to our emotional side: our emotions, needs, desires. This is why researching users before any design or code is vital to any project. If you can touch users through an emotion, need or motivating factor that engages and connects with your user, your chances to succeed are bigger.
- Competitive advantage. Smashing Magazine explains other benefits like competitive advantage brought by research. Do not spend months creating something that you are not sure your users will need. Research, test and iterate and build something that your users do need.
- Increased sales. From other benefits of UX listed on Quora, my favorite is more sales and increased loyalty. If your users are happy and satisfied with your online product, they will share it more and recommended to family and friends.
- Cheaper to fix problems. Your amount of time invested in repairing bugs and other customer negative feedback will be reduced due to the research and testing you do before and during developing the product.
- Increased customer acquisition. User Testing definitely assures us that UX is worth the investment. For instance they say that investing in UX leads to increased customer acquisition, giving the example of Evernote who saw an 15% increase in user retention.
So, what makes UX successful ?
"You've got to start with the customer experience and work back toward the technology - not the other way around", said Steve Jobs. And if Mr. Jobs said it, it has to be right, no?
Why Apple, Airbnb, or Facebook, are successful businesses is because the experience they provide. By design, by the way they empower users, by customer service, all add up to the way you feel and interact with them. And do they fulfil your needs and desires? Well, yes; especially for those of us who want cool, easy to use gadgets, or want to feel like home when travelling or want to feel socially connected online.
Successful UX begins with the user and ends..well it continues with the user. We are talking about improving, re-testing, modelling the user deepest desires. The design of an experience never ends. As long as the product lives, and as long you want your business to become the future Apple, improving the UX, researching user needs, and making it simple for them, is an ongoing process.
For me, user experience design is caring. Successful UX is empathy for the people you are creating for. Let's create useful technology in a more emphatic world, shall we?