Although it may sound like a useless digital marketing acronym, used by Web Developers the world over to confuse those less knowledgeable on the subject, UX design is undoubtedly an integral part of any business; bridging the gap between a successful business, and a failing one.
Possibly one of the most obscure terms used in web design & digital marketing, UX design is fast becoming one of the most commonly used; and something any discerning business should seriously consider implementing – if there is only one rising trend in web design & digital marketing this year, it’s certainly UX design.
UX simply stands for ‘User Experience’, and – traditionally – incorporates every area of a business that a customer touches, from their first glimpse through your shop window or visit to your website, to any communication they’ve been sent after they made their last purchase.
Technically, UX design is everywhere, and something we – as business owners – should always consider in everything we do; it’s in the way we talk to our customers, the decisions we ask them to make, the information we give them, and the way we treat them throughout and beyond their journey with us.
When we apply UX design specifically to web design & digital marketing, we mean:
However, all too often, businesses get this all so wrong.
Particularly in the digital age, where endless methods of communication are at our disposable, and we’re given the power to communicate with anyone, anywhere, at anytime, the temptation for businesses to take this almost literally can be too much; littering their customers with dozens of emails and phone calls a day about offers, products, and services that just aren’t relevant to them, simply because they have their contact details.
Let’s be honest with each other here – we’ve all been on the receiving end of countless spam emails that we roll our eyes at and automatically hit ‘delete’ when we see them come in or, if we have a particularly good spam filter, take to clearing out hundreds of junk emails every few months without even so much as a slight hesitation over one or two somewhat interesting-sounding subject lines.
If we apply this same concept to our websites, and we start to see the issues.
When we get UX wrong, it’s mainly because we’re assuming our visitors want loads of information, and loads of options, upfront and immediately, in all sorts of ways, all the time.
We bombard our customers with information we need to give them, because we know communication is important, and we assume the more communication we provide our customers, the more they will engage with us and therefore, the more they will buy from us.
However, this simply isn’t true and, actually, real UX design – UX design done right – is preoccupied with doing almost the very opposite of all of this.
Good UX design – or ‘real’ UX design – puts the needs of the user at the centre of everything, from the way your pages are laid out and the colours you choose, to the images you use, the amount of options you provide through your navigation, and the way you write your content; taking into consideration exactly what users want and need from our websites, and designing everything around that specific need.
UX design supports the user to make a more informed decision; taking away the often confusing and overwhelming need for any one user to make a superfluous amount of decisions along their journey with us, and ensuring they make the decision that’s right for their specific needs.
Ideally, a website designed with UX would give the user just one, informed decision to make on any given page – removing every other possible decision the user would want to make that may distract from what we actually want them to do.
As a general rule, any ‘good’ UX designed website will include just one decision (call to action) on each page; one place to click, and only one way to move – removing even the top navigation on the page to ensure this is entirely possible.
Essentially, with a UX designed website, we’re pushing our user down a very tight, very short sales funnel, in a really enjoyable way.
UX design ensures the user – our customer – is the focus of everything; considering, and adapting to, the movements of our customer at all times. And it’s surprising how tough that can be!
It’s really easy, when we’re marketing our products & services, to focus on what WE can offer our customers, and how wonderful WE are at doing OUR job; the expertise WE have, and the reasons why WE’RE the best but, in reality, today’s customers just aren’t interested in us and how great we are. What they’re really interested in is how using your business is going to benefit THEM, and that’s what UX design reflects.
UX design isn’t just about how pretty a site is or how many calls to action we have on each page, UX design is also about the way we talk to our users – the information we provide them.
Content plays a really important role in UX design, and UX content has a very specific structure.
It goes something like this:
UX content tells a story; it speaks directly to the immediate needs of, and issues experienced by, the user and offers them something that will alleviate those issues.
Now, by this point, we might be wondering why and how UX content differs from the content we currently use on our website; we talk about benefits, we give users options, and we give them the information they need to make an informed decision. So, what’s different?
Let’s look at some examples, the first of non-UX content:
“Here at [insert company name] we’re proud to have over 15 years of experience in working with our customers to deliver exactly what they need, how and when they need it; from our expert account managers who act as your single point of contact, to our crack-team of hard-working professionals, you can rest assured that, with us, you’re getting the best possible service available.”
Now, an example of the same kind of content, but created with UX in mind:
“Increase your sales & enquiries by 120% by making this simple change to your content
Getting your content to work for your business can be tough, especially when there are so many different forms and platforms to consider, and ways to communicate with your customers at your disposable, that all require a different focus.
However, when the going gets tough, you really don’t have to get going; you can feel empowered to face your content challenges head on by calling in the experts and letting those who really know how to make your content work for you, work their content magic.
By working with us, you will see:
Contact us to increase your sales & enquiries by 120%”
We don’t have to look very hard to see the blinding difference in these content examples – the first – non-UX – is driven almost purely by the expertise of the business; putting the experience and knowledge of employees within the business above the needs of the user.
When we analyse this closely, we see that the information given does not provide us with any tangible information or examples of how the user will receive the best service available to them or what the business will do to achieve this.
However, the UX example does exactly this; leading with an enticing and very direct proposition: what business owner in their right mind doesn’t want to increase their sales and enquiries by 120%!?, following with a story of problems and issues that are totally relatable to today’s marketing challenges, then giving concrete and brief benefits associated with using the service offered, all rounded off very nicely into a lovely little UX package with a strong and direct call to action.
When we talk about ‘adding value’ to our site with UX, we’re really talking about finding the value to the customer of what we’re offering, and amplifying it with our design.
Say, for instance, we’re a business that offers a range of 5 specialist products, and we know that 1 of them is by far the most popular – designing a website with UX would mean taking this information and using it in a positive way; perhaps making our most popular product the one we showcase on our homepage, with a prominent click through to a useful and informative product page, all about that one product, ending with a strong and direct call to action to buy now.
UX design gives our customer the information they need, as quickly as possible.
Although it’s much more direct in its positioning, UX design gives purpose, compassion, and integrity to our websites; seamlessly integrating the needs of the user with the needs of the business, to create positive emotions, meaningful interactions, and a humanised & fulfilling experience for everyone involved.
When done well, UX design can have a phenomenal effect on our websites, almost overnight, and see our online sales & enquiries increase by amounts we once would have considered impossible.
UX design is about having an awareness of every touch point our users come into contact with when purchasing from us or accessing our services, and ensuring every single one of these is meaningful and pleasurable for our user.
It’s fun, it’s unique, and it helps us stand out from the crowd – it shows that we’re human, and we care.
If you’re not designing your website with UX, you really need to start; it’s this year’s hottest trend for a very good reason; it’s beneficial to us all.
Applying UX design to existing websites can be challenging – taking a lot of forward planning, data analysis, and research – but every second spent on this kind of activity is totally worth it.
The crux of redesigning any website with UX lies in the the analysis of the data; observing and responding to our existing users; considering:
It’s this, crucial, data-driven element that’s understandably difficult for just one person to consider, research, and follow-through with all the appropriate changes, and not a task anyone should ever feel they have to tackle alone.
That’s why, here at Webkick, we’ve started offering these services; supporting our clients with holistic UX services that make a tangible, positive difference to their businesses, including:
Often, UX services see a huge ROI in a relatively short space of time; one of our clients, for example, has seen a 55% increase in the number of sessions on their website within 3 months, and a 10% decrease in bounce rate during the same period.
Get in touch now - it could be the start of something special.