You can create a product unlike anything on the market, offer the most competitive prices in town, or deliver best-in-class customer service—but ultimately, these selling points may fall flat if they’re not backed with strategic UX design.
In the world of digital marketing, user experience (UX) encompasses all aspects of a user’s interaction with your company including its website, apps, goods, services, and so on. It focuses on real humans (like you and me) and all the emotions they experience when engaging with your digital interface or physical product.
Think about the last time you searched for something; were you left frustrated and annoyed, or conveniently impressed? Even if these feelings are subconscious, they guide our purchasing decisions, nonetheless.
A good UX design taps into behavioral psychology in an attempt to steer consumer compasses and point them toward a purchase. There are many moving pieces to this puzzle, so we’re providing you with an essential UX checklist to confirm your site is up to speed and satisfaction.
Are wireframes and user flows in place?
As a UX designer, one of your main goals is to map a user’s journey beginning with the initial entry point to the final product interaction. You think about more than the first impression they receive after stumbling on the website; you are with them all the way until the packaging is at the door and the product is in their hands.
Social media loves a great “unboxing”, or when a customer films the opening of a pretty package and unveils the goodies inside. But before you can achieve this viral video status, you need to conceptualize their entire flow of engagement leading up to that point.
As you can see in the above shot, ShareAble for Hires makes their 3-step process easy to follow by using a flowchart. Flowcharts help you visualize the path a user might take while interacting with your website. Maybe they enter through a targeted landing page, click on a “Learn more” CTA, then progress to a lead generation form. Whatever their journey may be, the user’s flow should guide the site’s architecture with UX in mind.
Wireframes can assist in the design process. They’re colorless, two-dimensional mockups that map out a user’s flow from page to page. Without distractions such as font size or typeface insight, you can easily see where someone might get lost in the hierarchy of information—and where a brightly placed CTA button could help usher them along the way.
Have you built buyer personas?
To get into the minds of your target audience, you’ll first need to zero in on who you’re speaking to. You have to cut through the clutter and stand out with messaging that speaks to targeted users as if you were talking to them on a personal level.
For example, if you’re marketing J. Crew sweaters to business professionals, you’ll need to use a different language than if you were selling affordable apparel to thrifty teens. One call to action (CTA) might say “Access discounts here” while the other says “Swipe right for savings”.
As you create a UX strategy, it’s critical that you communicate in familiar territory, so users feel right at home. Create buyer personas—or fictional profiles of your ideal customer—with the following in mind:
With these considerations in mind, you can tailor your brand’s tone and voice to attract the audience that’s likeliest to convert. If you’re not sure about which demographic to cater to, then competitor research, data analytics, online surveys, and focus groups can be helpful tools.
We should note that personas are more than just statistical data and stereotypes. Of course, there will be outliers, such as a teenager shopping at J. Crew for a job interview. But research shows that marketing personas account for 90% of a company’s sales, so it’s definitely worth your while to give this some thought.
Did you test the site performance?
No one wants to wait around for pages to load, text to appear, or forms to populate—especially if they’re searching for a quick solution to their at-present need. If your website is slow, there’s a high probability that the traffic you receive will leave and head toward the hands of your competitors.
Not only does this leave a negative impression of your brand and deter visitors from coming back, but it also impacts SEO by hurting your bounce rate, or the time in which a user exits the session and hops back to the search engine result page (SERP) after entering a site.
Google is all about user satisfaction, so the faster someone “pogo sticks” away from you and onto a better experience, the less likely you are to appear high in its displayed search results.
Users expect pages to load within two seconds; after three, 40% of people will abandon the site in search of quicker service. See how you stack up against these expectations by comparing your website’s performance to these benchmark speeds.
Is it optimized for mobile devices?
In today’s hyper-connected society, consumers rely on their smartphones. Whether they’re looking for a how-to tutorial, an answer to a question, or just a plain roll of paper towels, nearly 60% of online searches are conducted on mobile devices.
Increase your odds of capturing this traffic by ensuring the website is optimized for mobile users. You might be surprised to learn that the SERP displayed on a cell phone or tablet may appear differently than a desktop SERP, but Google’s crawlers can easily detect a bad mobile UX and will ding your ranking as a result.
Apps are another excellent way to capture mobile users because they deliver a smoother, more streamlined experience on-the-go. You can see above that Objective Wellness, who sells this ginger powder supplement, makes it easy for their users to go from desktop to mobile and get the same information in an easy to navigate format. Ultimately, your goal is to make interactions as seamless and intuitive as possible.
UX aims to make customers feel naturally at home with a brand, leaving them satisfied and impressed rather than frustrated or annoyed. Keep this checklist in mind as you build out your site and watch for a sudden spike in conversion rate.
Author Bio: Kaelee Nelson received her Master’s degree with an emphasis in Digital Humanities and pursues her career as a writer in San Diego, currently writing for 365businesstips.com. She enjoys informing readers about topics spanning industries such as technology, business, finance, culture, wellness, hospitality, and tourism.
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