Have you ever clicked on a website and said to yourself, "How in the world am I going to find the information I am looking for in this mess?" Have you ever downloaded an app and been presented with a long menu of meaningless links and pop-up advertisements?
The problem in both of these scenarios is user experience or UX, a vital component to any digital or customer-facing property. Generally, UX involves a person's behaviors, attitudes and emotions about using a particular product, system or service.
Because websites and apps have become the primary destinations for prospects and customers to shop and buy, UX design, and its ongoing adjustment, is a skill to embrace and understand. Whether you are upgrading your website or building an app, here are some key questions to ask your internal or outsourced design team:
Is there a UX specialist on staff?
UX designers are a special breed trained in behavioral science, art and cold, hard analytics.
Do we know what we want our customers to do when they come to our site?
Presenting information is less valuable than creating a logical path to a call to action.
Do we have the analytical tools needed to track customer behavior and attitudes?
Google Analytics provides good information on how many visitors come to the site and the paths they take to certain information and calls to action. But, some other tools may be necessary.
What metrics matter to us?
There are marketing metrics and user experience metrics, which are two different things. A marketing metric would be "number of page views." A user experience metric would be "how long did it take to fill out the online form, and how many people gave up in the middle of the process?" Or, "how long does it take to download our site?"
Do we understand usability, engagement and conversion and how they work together?
Usability is how easily people can accomplish what they've set out to do. Engagement is understanding how much people interact with a site or application, how much attention they give to it, how much time they spend on it, and how good they feel about it. Conversion is usually measured as the percentage of users who take a desired action.
Is my digital UX consistent with my brick-and-mortar locations?
If the website is designed to be colorful, engaging and helpful, and the retail location is drab and primarily self service, your customers will be confused and will feel differently about your brand.
Is my digital UX consistent with my phone systems and other communications?
How many times have you become frustrated on a website, called the 800 number for personal assistance and then became even more disappointed? If the digital UX is right, calls are probably less frequent. But with all inbound calls, the engagement and attitude should be similar.
Clint Parr has lived in the digital communications industry for more than 20 years as a tech CEO, COO, marketer, salesman, consultant and entrepreneur. He currently is a Partner and CMO at liquidfish, a leading digital marketing and custom development company. He recognizes that technology can be overwhelmingly complicated, especially in the website and mobile applications industry, and someone needs to simplify it for decision makers.