User Experience

5 min read

Here’s how bad UX is damaging your brand

Don't let bad UX harm your business. Poor user experience damages brand performance by impacting sales, user satisfaction, trust, and employee productivity.

The text: Here's how bad UX is damaging your brand

Written by

Tasmin Lofthouse working from a cafe

Tasmin Lofthouse

Published on

23 January, 2023

Bad user experience can be problematic for your brand.

Confusing customer flows, neglected usability, forgotten design principles… There are lots of ways bad user experience (UX) can show up for your brand. And if you aren’t paying attention to your users needs to begin with, you’re at an even greater risk of delivering a bad UX.

We all make mistakes. It’s part of being human. But poor UX is one mistake businesses can’t afford to make. From frustrated customers to lost sales and a damaged brand reputation, poor UX can be costly for your business.

Why your UX matters

Good user experience is essential for the success of your app or site. The more user friendly your site or app is, the easier it will be for people to convert. Investing in UX is an investment in your users and your brand reputation.

Great UX drives user retention, purchases and loyalty. If you want to keep users coming back for more, then you need to elevate your UX. A recent study found that people were more likely to trust fitness brands and buy from them if they had a positive user experience on the app.

Good UX can be characterised by its value, functionality, usability, adaptability, navigation and design. Together, these elements contribute to a positive experience. When you consider that 58% of people would pay more for better customer service, it’s clear that UX really does matter.

If good UX drives conversions then it’s safe to say that poor UX will lower them. So, let’s see what happens to your brand if you let poor UX slip through the net.

What happens when you have poor UX

Improving UX isn’t just about making your website pretty. It’s about creating an intuitive experience that helps users take the action they want to take. Prioritising good UX goes hand-in-hand with improving your brand image, retaining users, increasing revenue, and ensuring team happiness and productivity.

The fallout of poor UX can be widespread, impacting multiple aspects of your business — from design to dev, sales, and customer service. As such, fixing bad UX should be a priority for your entire business. Improve UX and you’ll improve customer satisfaction, sales, brand trust, organic performance and team resources.

Let’s look at some of the ways bad UX is harming your business…

Disappointed & frustrated customers

Whenever someone visits your website or app, they’ve got a goal in mind. Even if they just want to browse your website, that action of browsing is still a goal. Someone browsing your site could turn into a return user who then may go on to make a purchase, sign up to a newsletter, or convert further down the line — but not if your UX puts them off.

If the usability of your site means users can’t achieve what they set out to, they’ll wind up feeling disappointed and frustrated. Even worse, they’ll leave without taking action.

Bad UX damages your customer relationships. Your brand will go down in their estimations and they may be hesitant to visit your site again in the future, wanting to steer clear of a repeat experience. One in three customers will abandon a brand they love after just one bad experience, according to research by PwC.

Low sales

Bad UX can both directly and indirectly impact sales. Research from Forrester found that every dollar invested in UX brought $100 in return. So, we could argue that not investing in UX is leaving that money behind.

On a more direct level, bad UX can impact sales if you haven’t carefully considered the user’s purchase journey. If users can’t easily find products or services or your checkout process is long-winded, your site usability could impact sales.

The same goes for upsell and cross-sell features. If a customer is looking to buy a product, upselling related accessories could lead to a higher average order value. But, if you upsell too heavily by bombarding that customer with unnecessary or irrelevant add-ons, you could deter them from completing the order process.

Damaged brand trust

Bad UX is annoying. But, worse than that, it’s damaging to your brand’s trustworthiness.

If your brand isn’t widely known, poor UX can look suspicious. Users are hesitant to trust online businesses and if your site is put together quickly with bugs and without considering user journeys, it’s going to harm your reputation.

Meanwhile, well-known brands with poor UX have more brand trust to start with. But if it looks like you’re not interested in providing a good experience for your users, it will erode the trust that you’ve built up until your users look elsewhere.

You want people to see your brand as credible. So, it’s important that your website reflects that.

Incoherent design principles, tedious onboarding flows, and slow site speeds could all impact brand trust.

It doesn’t matter how secure your site is if it doesn’t look or act as a secure site should. Displaying security badges and taking steps to protect customer information are UX actions that can help boost perceived brand trust. Fail to do this and your UX mistakes could leave visitors feeling wary of your brand.

Impacted SEO

There’s no denying the bond between SEO and UX. The whole purpose of SEO is to help people find what they’re looking for. Everything you do to improve organic performance should focus on satisfying your audience’s needs, not just making Google happy. In Google’s helpful content update, they stated that: “The helpful content update aims to better reward content where visitors feel they've had a satisfying experience, while content that doesn't meet a visitor's expectations won't perform as well.”

SEO cares about the user experience. And if that on-site experience falls short of people’s expectations, it won’t perform well organically.

Increased developer resources & time

Bad UX doesn’t only affect your users. It also impacts your employees, especially the ones tasked with fixing UX issues.

Fixing bad UX is no easy feat. Your design and dev teams might have to spend valuable time undoing the damage caused by poor UX before they can start implementing better user experience practices. Time spent fixing UX issues is time not being spent further progressing your site performance or working on other important projects.

How to fix bad UX

The good news is that bad UX can be fixed.

User research

Spend time understanding the problem before you dive into fixing it. User research will help you identify the problems with your site or app. Gather as much information as you can by speaking with your users and understanding the pain points from their perspective. Use this user research to understand where your biggest problems are.

Analyse data

Don’t just rely on user research, though. Pair this with data analysis to identify the “real” UX issues. Watch how people use your site or app and use these insights to inform what changes need to be made, what aspects of your site need fixing, and how to prioritise these UX fixes.

Recommended reading:
How to understand your web analytics data and use its insights to your advantage

Redesign & rebuild

Sometimes the best way to fix bad UX is to redesign your site. If your site or app is outdated and no longer aligns with your business, a rebuild may be the most efficient way to improve UX.

Recommended reading:
When should you rebuild your website?

Rework processes

Similarly, bad UX can sometimes spawn from a culture of adding more content or features to your site without first understanding the goals that you are trying to achieve. Layering new features on top of old ones without consideration for why changes are being made causes sites and apps to quickly descend into a myriad of UX issues.

If you’re stuck in a cycle of adding new content to your site, stop and focus on fixing the core problems with your site, remembering to keep your user’s goals in mind. Rework your content processes to avoid getting into the same spiral in the future.

Recommended reading:
Improve UX with user journey mapping

We’ll fix your bad UX

We enjoy getting stuck into complex UX projects. We think that there’s just something incredibly satisfying about bringing a site back and seeing the results of delivering a great UX.

Think your online UX could do with some attention? Drop us a line to see how we could help make UX your greatest asset.

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