The term ‘UX design’ stands for user experience. It can sound really complex and some may believe that it’s only something that large companies with big budgets can afford or concern themselves with. How wrong they are.
A McKinsey & Company report, highlights that even smaller companies can’t ignore the benefits that good design can bring. It shows that the companies with the best designed products and services increase their revenues at nearly twice the rate of their industry counterparts.
The reason? Users just love good, simple design. But not everyone gets it right. The report cites several examples of how bad design can cause unnecessary frustrations for customers and inevitably put them off a product or service. Think about the USB-B plug – inserting them correctly is never done successfully for the first time. This is a classic design flaw! Now fixed with USB-C.
But what is ‘good design’? Good design would leave your customers feeling happy with an experience, meaning they would typically make use of it again. If they’re really satisfied, they’ll even leave a good review. Great design is where the customer – the user – doesn’t even perceive the effort that has gone into making the experience an easy, effective one.
User design is vital for company websites and mobile apps. Customers will determine in the first 30 seconds, when using your website or app, whether to spend time on it, complete an application or get in touch to find out more about what your business offers. The appraisal happens very fast and on a subconscious level. We quickly reflect the experience against our accumulative expectations of similar processes, or those of a competitor.
Things like the time it takes your page to upload, the clarity of your logo, navigating the main navigation menu and the reading ease of your fonts can all make a difference. These cues lead to quick customer conclusions on whether a product or service experience is deemed as a premium or mid-market brand.
If you’ve noticed low take up of your service or a drop off at a certain point in the online application process, there may be a user experience design flaw. Fixing this requires an analysis of the underlying customer data from your customer service, web analytics or other measurement tools. Improving the through-put of customers from one stage to another is called journey design.
When was the last time that you checked things like: how easy it is to fill out your own online application forms, whether the explanations given on the reasons behind the request for certain types of information is adequate or whether your website is littered with industry jargon? Do you have hover-overs, tool tips and are pop-ups getting in the way?
If signing up for a product or service is too complex, chances are customers will get frustrated and give up or bounce– even if they are more than half way through it all. This is because there’s so much competition out there and a simple Google search can help them to easily find a competitor with a lower threshold of effort to achieve the same or a better outcome.
UX design has been classed as one of the most in-demand hard skills. It’s clear there’s value in design. So why are so many businesses (large and small) failing to offer a good user experience to customers?
There may be many reasons behind this. For larger companies it may be a case of lacking the desire to understand a customer’s needs or being overly internally focussed on the middle office process that drive service delivery and data management. There may be a fear of change or belief that market research (even if it was flawed) that was conducted was adequate.
For small businesses, one of the problems could be budgetary constraints - being able to afford the right expertise. This is because larger businesses come with the big wallets to hire the best UX designers in the industry.
If internal training or hiring the right staff isn’t possible, the good news is that UX designers don’t have to be hired on a full-time basis and it’s possible to hire companies that specialise in this area. While spending money on UX design may not be high on the agenda it really is an overlooked area and can mean the difference to getting a client on board or putting them off permanently.
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