Your website is the window to your brand’s … well … maybe not its soul, but pretty darn close. In many instances, it’s a potential customer’s first interaction with your business. It’s how new and existing clients get to know you, buy your products, and more. That’s why great CX (customer experience) and great UX (user experience) are inseparable. To today’s consumers, your website is your brand. That makes UX not just something that’s important for helping your customers get stuff done, but something that’s essential for providing a fantastic customer experience from start to finish.
In Part 1 and Part 2 of our Websites in 2016 series, we covered some important do’s and don’ts. In our final post, Associate Creative Director (and Web design guru) Tara Locke shares what she’s learned about UX.
Q: What’s one thing designers and developers tend to forget when it comes to providing a great user experience?
A: There’s a steadfast rule that has been expected for the past decade by users/customers and is a back-to-basics necessity we (designers/marketers) sometimes forget while trying to stand out or win an award … It’s called EASE-OF-USE.
We can add all the bells and whistles and trending design patterns, but one thing will always be consistent. The user/customer must always feel in control and not be overwhelmed or confused. KISS – keep it simple, stupid. And with devices/technologies [changing] on a consistent basis and people using multiple devices and technologies daily (TV, phone, kiosks, etc.), focusing on ease-of-use is the “follow-through” of digital design regardless of how things change over time.
Adapt to the technology. Understand how your customers are using it and how they think. Make it easy for them. Life is busy and hectic enough [without having] to waste time on figuring out how to enter a promo code.
Q: For anyone thinking about revamping their website in 2016, what advice can you give from a UX perspective?
A: As you start your journey to redoing your website or considering if you should, keep the following in mind:
Figure out the goals of your site, and make sure the way you present every page measures up to your plan. In general, brands need to make sure websites are easy to navigate and scan and simple to use overall. Always reference your goals and keep your content conversational and to the point. Long pieces of content (unless used as a resource) tend to get overlooked and can actually cause frustration for a user. Create a good hierarchy, and focus on your key message points. Create clear calls to action and be consistent. It also helps to add a designer’s touch to ensure your users feel confident and at ease while using your site.
Q: Any final thoughts on how to make the very best website for your business and your customers?
A: Relevant content (good IA [information architecture]), pleasing design aesthetics and ease-of-use all combine to make a stellar-looking site. BUT don’t forget to pay attention to the technical side either: What is your load time? Are you optimizing your site? Are the break point layouts how you intended? What types of functionality will work on some devices and not others? What is your plan for various interactions?
Usability and user experience are two very important terms to always remember as you start your “New Site Journey.” I mean, first impressions are everything.