In illuminating new research from the IAB, surveying 283 brand marketers and agency buyers:
- 73% consider user experience to be one of their biggest current challenges
- 88% think providing a good UX is “essential”
UX is the word of the hour, with sites and brands looking to do what they can to bring their offering up to scratch. But industry voices want more development, believing that the current state of UX across the digital world is “simply not good enough”.
What is UX?
Not to be confused with CX (which is more broadly about how customers interact with your brand), user experience is all about how people interact with your product/service; for example, their experience navigating your website, app or software. It encompasses several elements including the design of the interface, its usability, information architecture, navigation, comprehension and more – in a nutshell, creating the best journey possible for each user on your site.
We sat down with Adam Hindhaugh, Creative Director at Ve, to discuss the design and interface of Ve's latest offering, Digital Assistant. Quotes from this are interspersed throughout the blog. You can also find Adam tweeting here...
“We want to put the user first. And the way to do this is through building a fantastic user experience.”
"We want to put the user first."
UX has rightly come to the attention of the industry as integral to web design and ultimately pleasing users. But it’s one thing to recognise its importance, and another to know how to adapt your own site’s offering to improve it.
How to enhance the user experience
Know your user
Before you can champion excellent UX, you need to know the users that you’re creating experiences for. Thinking you know them (when you don’t) is a problem.
Simply put, a lot of companies don’t know their customers as well as they think they do, even if they already have detailed buyer personas.
The best way to get closer to your users is to take a data-powered as well as personal approach to learning about them, so you can then create the best experience possible.
Harness psychological principles
“Designing for emotion is absolutely key.”
“Designing for emotion is absolutely key.”
There are countless psychological triggers you can make use of in your UX strategy, from harnessing ‘Paralysis Analysis’ to the ‘Bandwagon Effect’ (read more here). But an element that is particularly important in relation to UX design is the use of colour.
You can subtly nudge users to follow a desired action or path on your site through carefully considering what certain colours could mean for them. As general benchmarks, the colour blue is welcoming, green is natural, red signifies danger or urgency, and yellow represents happiness. However, all of this is subjective, especially culturally if you’re operating on an international scale, so it needs to be tested thoroughly.
The psychology and behaviour of your users need to be considered carefully to be able to nail the UX.
Design creatively (without reinventing the wheel)
Web design and UX, when done well, are created with innovation and creativity at the core. And whilst this should always be the case, it doesn’t mean that brands need to completely reinvent the wheel.
Of course, a creative approach to UX is fantastic, but there’s a danger in trying to be so original and so ‘out-of-the-box’ that you miss common design conventions that are tried and tested. As Adam continues;
“A great amount of web design isn’t really subjective now - we know what works, and what doesn’t. Everyone can use and follow these web design conventions, but it’s about the experience you create that sets you apart from competitors.”
"A great amount of web design isn’t really subjective now - we know what works, and what doesn’t.'
Onsite engagement comes in a variety of shapes and sizes, but a mainstay of the industry has long been the interruptive overlay. A great online experience for users should never be interruptive, but instead intuitive and simple for the user to use.
Our signature onsite engagement solution reinvents the traditional overlay to become a part of the user experience, not a disruptive element working against it.
“Users get pop-up blindness. As an industry we need to change the format. A smoother, more intuitive approach.”
In renewing your onsite engagement approach, you can help give users the experience they want and deserve.
The points above are just the figurative tip of the iceberg when it comes to effective UX, but they’re an excellent point of reference for brands wanting to delight users. Adam concludes:
“Web design has evolved dramatically since its inception but is now beginning to stabilise. User experience is now at the forefront of all things digital.”
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