The secret is out - today’s progressive business leaders are finding success by hyper-focusing on their guest’s holistic user experience. They are re-imagining the user’s journey by thinking beyond just their product or service. They consider the entire life cycle of their brand - which begins long before the product/service is being experienced, and ends long after. The result yields signature moments that where customers experience surprise and delight, and in turn, become natural brand ambassadors.
At Skylarq, we often get questions during the proposal and RFP processes regarding the role of user experience in the design of a website or app. It’s still a nebulous concept for many, but it’s starting to become irrefutable.
So, you might ask, why does it matter so much?
First, let’s get on the same page. User experience, or UX, is not just about presenting captivating colors, cool pictures and a sexy UI. It’s about creating a digital experience that is most likely to forge an emotional connection between a user, a digital product, and a brand. There are many aspects to UX - user personas, usability, visual design and performance, to name a few.
Some of the questions that you might hear during a UX design session are:
- What were you thinking while you were using the product?
- How quickly did you find what you were looking for?
- Why did taking that action confuse you?
- What’s the next place you would click?
Once we know the users’ needs, we then explore the needs of the business and determine where the two intersect. After all, making the users happy won’t do any good if doing so doesn’t also meet the needs of the business.
Why You Should Care About UX
Whatever role you are in - business owner, digital marketing professional, or someone with a great idea for an app - getting the user experience right is just as important as getting your brand right. In fact, companies have made billion dollar decisions based on UX alone. Remember when Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion? At a time when there are dozens of photo sharing apps out there, Facebook chose the app that was credited with having the best photo sharing UX in the industry. Remember when Apple sued Samsung and won? Almost all of the awarded damages were related to design patents that define UX within iOS. (credit)
Indeed, the more complex or widely used your product is, the more important UX becomes. We have seen clients who have an eCommerce-focused desktop or mobile app and a tight budget get some really solid returns from undergoing a UX-inspired redesign. These types of digital experiences require paying a lot of attention to user navigation, information architecture and conversion flows. A solid UX design turns a complex system into an enjoyable experience that users will remember.
Let’s take Uber as another example. Uber didn’t change the fundamentals of catching a ride. It changed all of the experiences before and after - from how you call for a ride to how you pay. By putting a focused lens on users’ experiences and removing almost all of the hassles that usually go along with getting and paying for a ride, the company has now entered mainstream American culture and was able to achieve $104 million in revenue in 2013. Another example is Airbnb - a company that has not just changed the way how we travel around, but now has set a benchmark in UX by streamlining the process for finding and renting rooms on both desktop and mobile devices.
I could go on and on listing UX success stories, but you get the point. It is not something that business owners have the option to ignore anymore.
UX and Your Brand
Many businesses still incorrectly assume that redesigning their brand will usher in a new era for their product or service. Pay a designer to create a fancy new logo with bright colors and a slick font and customers will forget about the bad experiences they’ve had. Unfortunately, it just won’t work that way.
The experiences people have with a product is as much a part of a business’ brand as the logo. Fostering positive emotional interactions with users will have a much longer-lasting effect on the success of a product than simply changing the logo. A brand isn’t just the logo. A brand is the sum of the entire experience. That’s why branding and UX are, in many ways, indistinguishable.
User experience is a mixture of art, psychology, and science. UX combines data measurement with modern design principles to let you make informed decisions about your product road map. It is truly the wave of the future.