Once you know some composition rules of User Experience design, it’s time to learn how UX goes on backstage. There are activities letting you find out your potential customers’ needs and helping to create a better project. Let’s start discovering those!
CONVERSION - ARE YOUR VISITORS TAKING ACTION?
It’s clear you would like to know how many people came to your website, and of course - it’s essential. Although, from a business standpoint, there’s a much more important issue: Are your visitors taking any action?
In the industry, we call it conversion - the process of turning visitors into customers. It’s expressed as a metric called Conversion Rate, which is simply the ratio of goals to visitors expressed as a percentage. In other words, your conversion rate is the percentage of visitors who took action.
FIRST THINGS FIRST - WHAT IS A USABILITY
Now, when you measure your website’s performance, it is time to focus on improvements. That’s where usability comes into play. Usability is, to clarify, the science of making technology work better for users. Website usability is the art and science of building sites that are efficient, easy to use, meet visitor’s expectations, and ultimately help people accomplish their goals. When your visitors achieve their goals - you win. Your job is to make their “job” easier.
It’s enough to make customers believe in your product or service. But you will probably ask the question - how? Marketing drives customers to the door, but your online sales process puts the product or service in their hands and walks them to the checkout counter. Analytics, usability, and testing form a system of ongoing process improvement that can systematically and continuously convert more of your visitors into customers. Don’t worry about all the details or the perfect approach. Figure out where you are today, listen to your visitors, and start making the necessary changes to convert those visitors into customers.
USER EXPERIENCE AND USER-CENTERED DESIGN
How can you find out what needs your potential customers have? Most importantly, several basic concepts should be clarified. So that you understand the customer acquisition process, I will first explain the idea of User Experience Design and Customer Experience.
UX Design (User Experience) is the whole perception of the end-user while interacting with a product or a service. These perceptions include effectiveness, efficiency, emotional satisfaction, and the quality of the relationship with the entity that created the product or service. User Experience can be measured using metrics such as success, error, and abandonment rates, as well as the time it takes to complete a particular task.
Customer Experience includes every interaction a customer has with your brand, from the start to the end of their journey. Customer Experience is measured by factors such as overall experience, the probability of the customer to continue using your website, and the likelihood they will share your site with others.
The primary method of usability, which I mentioned earlier, is user-centered design. It’s nothing more than an approach to designing human-computer interaction wherein the needs, requirements, and limitations of the end-user are studied in detail at every stage of the design process.
USER-CENTERED DESIGN IN PRACTICE
In practice, the exemplary cycle of the user-centered design means to contact the end-user of your product as often as possible. This whole cycle includes gathering requirements, user research, design, research again … It’s an iterative process. In other words, the project changes based on the knowledge obtained during the research. As a result of each subsequent iteration, a better design is created.
The model cycle of user-centered design consists of such elements as:
At the beginning of the work, it’s time to get to know the users for whom the designed product is intended. So once again, when you are planning a project in the User Experience area, it’s essential to focus on the user - your potential customer. Your work should include activities that will answer the following questions:
- What are the business requirements?
- What does the organization want to achieve by implementing the project?
- Do I know the user requirements, and what exactly are they?
- And finally, what are the best design solutions that meet business and user requirements?
The next step requires including gathered information in the initial design. Acquired knowledge is an excellent source of inspiration and makes many tough decisions easier. Various techniques help transform user knowledge into attractive prototypes and designs. Those may be task modeling, customer experience maps, personas, information architecture, and wireframes.
No matter if the prototype is a simple sketch or a mockup, it’s useful to test your ideas on customers and users.
After developing the initial design, you need to test it to assess its value. Usability tests are irreplaceable. Can users find what they are looking for? Can they make transactions? Is the product attractive to them? Sometimes, after performing usability tests, it’s enough to change the button labels. In other cases, you need extensive changes. If you run tests at an early stage of the project work, as a result you will avoid many design modifications, product re-development, and many other problems.
All the user-centered design elements I have mentioned, affect the conversion and help to transform ordinary visitors into potential customers. Therefore it's worth to say that design process consists not only of efficiently and thoughtfully prepared visual elements of the site. We referred to it in one of the previous posts. The most important element is the prior gathering of requirements, user tests, and later testing at every stage of the UX design.