Think of UX as an umbrella (ideally one of those ridiculously large golf umbrellas) that covers multiple aspects of your website build. UX covers everything from your site’s visual design to the information architecture, usability, content strategy, user research, business analysis, and frontend development — you get the idea, it covers pretty much everything.
UX focuses on how people interact with and experience a product, system, or service. When I say people, I mean anyone — not just your customers.
Under the UX umbrella we have developer experience (DX), customer experience (CX) and employee experience (EX). Today, we’re going to look at optimising the on-site experience for each of those users and, in turn, strengthening your long-term success.
Let’s explore how UX impacts the success of your site, and how you can use it to improve the online experience for your:
Why is UX important?
UX affects everyone that engages with your site. It impacts the experience of your customers. If the UX of your site is poorly optimised, you are basically handing customers over to your competitors.
Not only that, but UX also impacts how your team works. Poor UX could mean reduced productivity and efficiency and increased frustration for your team. All of which are ingredients of poor outcomes. If you want the best out of your team, you need to create the best environment for your team — and yep, you guessed it, that includes optimising UX.
UX is about providing solutions to enhance the experience for everyone. Users, Customers, Developers - everyone.
Good UX is invisible. The user experience should be so seamless that people hardly even notice it. You don’t see good UX, you feel it on a subconscious level. Trust will naturally strengthen, sales will increase, and they’ll feel good when they think of your company.
Bad UX is remembered — and not in a good way. Poor UX increases churn, costs and frustration while reducing sign-ups and sales.
So, what kind of experience do you want to create for your users? An invisible yet positive experience? Or a memorable yet bad experience?
My guess is that you want to create the former — and the only way to do that is to invest in your UX.
Okay, but who are your users?
Let’s take a moment to reflect on who your users actually are when it comes to your website.
The obvious answer is your customers. Your customers will interact with your site throughout their entire journey, from finding your landing pages to making a purchase to using your software on a regular basis. Any UX frameworks focused on improving how customers engage with your site are known as customer experience (CX).
Next up, we’ve got the developers. These people put their life and soul into building your site, keeping it well-maintained and running optimally. So, you want to return the favour by ensuring they have the best possible experience when doing so. Any strategies focused on improving the site implementation are known as developer experience (DX).
You’ve also got your content marketers and editors. These users edit the website content, run campaigns and finetune the messaging of your site. So, it makes sense that you want to make sure their job is as easy to do as possible.
You’ve also got your customer service teams and sales reps. Supporting people through online chat software and making orders on behalf of customers — User experience design that aims to improve usability for your team is called employee experience (EX).
And those are just a few of the users impacted by your site’s UX. More people use your site than you think.
Improving experience for different types of users
Every user wants something different. So, how do you improve the experience for all these different people?
Think of UX as professional people-pleasing (in a good way). Dig deep into your user’s needs, motivations, and challenges to create powerful, invisible experiences that they will love.
Now, I’m not saying to make changes just because you think someone might like it. Be strategic in your method. Make changes based on evidence. Run tests, experiment with changes (and measure the results) and talk to your users to see what does and doesn’t work.
And follow the best practices below to understand how to improve the experience for your users.
Customer Experience (CX)
The success of your website relies on customer experience.
Think about it, if you visit a website and get annoyed by the experience, you probably won’t rush to go back again. That experience might even tarnish your thoughts of the brand and drive you away for good — straight into the arms of the brand’s competitors.
Customers want to easily find what they’re looking for. They don’t want to search high and low for a simple answer to their questions.
You can help customers find what they’re looking for by:
Developing intuitive navigation that makes it easy for them to move from page to page
Adding a search function so they can look for more niche results that they can’t find by briefly browsing the navigation menu
Clearly displaying pricing on any transactional pages including eCommerce product pages, SaaS subscription pages, and service pages
Making sure the Contact or Support features are easy to find (and use) — we live in the 21st century where people don’t want their only contact option to be calling a random 0800 number between the hours of 9 am - 5 pm
These are just a few general examples, but each brand will have their own unique users who each have their own goals to account for.
Your online customers want to know they can trust your site too. Build a site with visual designs and elements that strengthen trust. Satisfying visuals, strong brand identity, and consistent design all help build trust and customer loyalty.
And they definitely don’t want to be confused. Optimise the customer flow of your site. Clear confusion by improving your user interface. Do buttons go where they say they will? Can people easily navigate between pages? Can users get support quickly? Question everything then simplify it.
Finally, your customers don’t want to be unnecessarily hassled. Garish pop-ups and overbearing ads will drive down UX and ramp up customer frustration. Just look to the eBay community forum where there are over 1,000 posts by members expressing their pop-up anger.
Limit the number of pop-ups and “noisy” elements on your site. Add a delay or, even better, a context trigger before pop-ups appear (like a discount code when an item is added to a basket). Minimise disruption. Keep forms simple and easy to understand.
Note that we’re not saying to remove all promotions, subscriptions or anything that could potentially cause poor UX. You just need to be smart about how you implement them.
Simply, put yourself in your customers’ shoes and see things from their perspective.
Developer Experience (DX) (and Managers)
Developers probably spent the most time on your website than any other type of user. They’re in the nitty-gritty details, getting up close and personal with your site’s functionality as they make changes.
We’ll give an honourable mention to Managers here too. Managers want your site to work seamlessly. They want to reduce friction and increase efficiency. Make your developers happy and you will no doubt be making the senior management teams happy too.
Here are some ways you can make your developers happy by prioritising UX — or should we say, DX…
Firstly, make sure it is easy for developers to make changes and add new features. They don’t want to go round in circles or have to complete (or repeat) hundreds of steps to perform one simple action.
Your developers and managers likely don’t want to deal with the tediousness of performing repetitive tasks. Build a site that is easy to update with reusable components so you can spend more time on the work that actually matters.
Better yet, build a website that other team members can use! UX doesn’t just apply to the frontend of your site. Make sure the backend is just as user-friendly so non-developer team members can edit the areas they need to. Whether it’s content managers uploading new blogs or eCommerce administrators editing product information, prioritise simplicity when building your entire site.
And don’t forget to add automated testing as part of your site build. Automated testing cuts down on the number of manual tests — fewer manual tests equals less risk of human error. These automated tests will also make sure that developers won’t accidentally break one element of the site when updating another. As your site gets bigger, you’ll thank yourself.
Employee Experience (EX)
Editors and marketers will likely be the next most involved in updating and maintaining your site. The ones who deal with the words and write content that keeps visitors clicking through every single page (all the way to conversion).
They need to be able to easily update and add new content, without having to email the developer when a simple content change is needed. Trust me.
Plus, they want to know they can change the page structure without breaking the design. Coding likely isn’t their first language, so make sure the user interface is easy for non-developers and designers to make changes quickly. Your marketing team wants to be able to effortlessly craft new pages and on-site content, (and your developers don’t want to be expensive content editors either).
Build UX into every stage of your site and you will make it easy for editors and marketers to create new on-site campaigns and content oozing with great user experience.
General rules for UX
Believe it or not, getting UX right isn’t rocket science, though the bigger you go the more complicated it can get (like most things).
Great user experience boils down to just a few simple ground rules. Remember these general rules for UX and you will be way on to building websites that all your users love:
Take the time necessary to get it right
Allow all users to have the autonomy to do what they want or need
Create efficient systems between teams
That really is all that it takes!
Don’t rush things. Be slow and deliberate when working on UX design. Think about the needs, motivations and challenges of every user. Then build the solutions to those questions into your site UX.
And remember to build a collaborative site. You want everyone to be able to use your site. Create efficient systems between your teams so they can all do their part without coming up against any roadblocks.
Focus on creating better experiences for all users and you will create an impactful experience overall. Make small changes now and your users will begin applauding you in no time.
And if you’re looking for more help on how to improve UX across your entire team, get in touch and see how we can generate amazing results for your business.