What is User Experience?
User Experience is a dedication to developing products and services with purpose, empathy, and honesty. It is the on-going process of seeing the world from the customer’s perspective and the commitment to improve the quality of their lives.
It is the constant process of facilitating collaborative, transparent ways of operating in business today. It is a balance between making money and making meaning.
User Experience isn't a set of rules that can be crossed off of a check list. User Experience is a central philosophy that is shared by every member of an organization. It is a set of principles that everyone lives by. User Experience is a state of mind.
Why do you need User Experience?
Have you ever used a product or a service that didn't work the way you expected it too? Did it make you feel disappointed? Stupid? Frustrated? Confused?
When your product doesn't work the way your users expect it to, they feel the same way. Is this what you want your customers to feel? Will feelings of anger or frustration keep customers coming back?
Leanne Byrom, in What the Heck is User Experience and Why Do You Need It lists 4 reasons how User Experience can help your business:
1. Customer Loyalty
In the simplest terms possible, if your users have a bad experience on your website, they won’t come back. So not only have you lost a customer, you’ve increased the likelihood that your customer will go to a competitor. If your user has an okay experience on your website, but a better experience on your competitor’s website, they’ll go back to the competitor.
You can add all the features and functions you want but when it comes to customer loyalty the user experience offered has a far greater impact. All your new fancy features and functionality won’t bring a customer back to your website – but a great user experience will.
It is also well known that loyal customers make some of the best brand evangelists. Having this kind of customer should be your ultimate goal and great UX helps achieve this.
2. Return on Investment and Conversion Rates
Having a really good user experience ensures that your company gets a return on its investment. It ensures that all the money you put into the website generates into measurable value for your business.
This value may be in dollar terms but it could also be in things like conversion rates. For example, because your user experience is good: Customers are loyal and frequently return to buy your products/services. Customers think it is easy to find, use or buy your products/services. You have the ability to convert “browsers” into “buyers”, increasing your “browser to buyer” conversion rates.
Keeping track of what percentage of users you convert into customers helps you measure how effectively your website meets your business goals. This percentage is called the conversion rate, and this is far more effective in measuring your user experience than actual sales figures.
3. Efficiency and/or Productivity
A great user experience improves efficiency as well – by either helping your users to do things faster or by helping them make fewer mistakes. If you’re looking at UX for an internal customer – such as employees who use an intranet, improving efficiency of your tools has a direct correlation to productivity and improves it. The less time it takes to achieve a task, the more you can get done in a day.
Looking at this on something like an eCommerce website, the faster and simpler it is to buy a product, the more likely it is that users will buy multiple products.
4. Customer satisfaction
Your customers are your users. When it is easy, pleasant and natural for users to be able to achieve a given task, users are likely to do the task more often. So if this customer was your employee an experience that was easy, pleasant and natural to achieve helps ensure the employee experiences a high level of satisfaction – which can help them become productive. If the user was your customer, the satisfaction experienced because the product was easy and pleasant to use, means it is likely that the product (e.g. website) will be used more often which leads to higher conversion rates and often to higher sales figures as well.
Remember, your customers expect to be able to engage with you on their terms. Helping them do so can only help your business.