Online shopping is all the rage anymore, quickly pushing purely brick and mortar stores out of business. It is a main reason there are so many vacancy signs hanging in store windows. Nobody wants to leave the convenience of their couch to fight crowds, bad weather, and spend hours of time shopping anymore. Instead, a click of a few buttons and you’ll be receiving a package (or five) on your doorsteps within days, if not overnight.
Nowadays, businesses fight for your eyeballs online, not a headcount in a shopping space. And while stores used to go out of their way to make fancy displays, offer samples and demonstrations, and create an ambiance that catered to their customer base, that world is more virtual now. Instead of fighting over the best spot in the mall, retailers and other industries involved in e-commerce (or any business that has a website and offer a product/service) focus on online user experience.
So how can your business stand out amongst a sea of other websites? Use data-driven design to enhance user experience (UX).
What is User Experience?
User experience is the accumulation of an end user’s interaction with a company and its services and products. It typically refers to digital interactions via online, mobile, social platforms, etc. However, UX is more than just interactions. It includes the attitudes, opinions, and emotions associated with a consumer during their digital experience. It’s the encompassment of these intangibles that separates a mediocre user experience from one that uses best practices resulting in greater success.
How do you Create a Quality User Experience?
Visualization and synergy. A quality user experience happens through quality UX design, which is the visual aspect of a product or service. The number one element to a best practices approach is a user centric approach. Text, graphics, layout, and interactive elements should work in harmony to provide users with an experience, not just a website or app that displays information. Every piece, whether video, image, text, interactive pieces, etc., should be thoughtfully placed and connected with other parts for seamless and immersive browsing, letting the user concentrate on the experience rather than the technical facets of the digital platform.
Clarity and simplicity. These are key components to quality UX design. The average attention span of a human is eight seconds. The average time spent on a website is 2 minutes and 17 seconds, but this is ONLY if you get past the bounce rate where a user spends 15 seconds or less, including loading time, on a site. Needless to say, the less clutter and indecipherable jargon you have clogging your pages, the better your chances at keeping users from clicking out of your site.
This also applies to visual hierarchy. Readers read from left to right and focal points should appear in larger font and bolder design, often with calls-to-action (CTAs) attached to them to move forward in the buying journey.
Commonality over creativity. It might go without saying that artistic individuals, such as designers, value creativity and thrive in its process. However, when following UX best practices, commonality outshines creative endeavors as users don’t want to spend time trying to figure out complicated interactive features. Making a user think too hard about your user interface (UI) is counterproductive. Usability trumps design as familiarity breeds easier maneuverability. This is not to say that creativity isn’t important, just remember to harness it within best practice principles.
Know your audience. While this might seem cut and dry, you’d be surprised at how many businesses fail to run research on their target markets. After all, your audience is the biggest indicator of your success and provides the best suggestions for your design.
Once your audience is established and you have a firm grasp on their needs and wants, designing UX around them should be straightforward. This is where a bit more creativity can shine as you know what ideas will and won’t fly with your users.
Remember that UX design isn’t static. Ever-changing trends, tech, dynamics, and desires influence people all the time, so design needs to be fluid to adapt with the constant disruption.
Where Does Data Fit in the Mix?
There’s another, newer, step in the UX design mix. It’s called data-driven UX. The crux of its definition is that instead of relying on the emotions, attitudes, and opinions of users, quantitative data is the determinant in the design and overall user experience.
We’ve explained business intelligence before and the importance of data. Insert predictive analytics and you have an even greater opus to build UX around. Predictive analytics is the ability to consume and crunch data using machine learning models to heavily steer a data-driven decision for the best possible outcome. When this is applied to UX, you’re put in a much better position than UX design best practices being used alone.
With that being said, what are the core benefits of using analytics in UX design? The main ones include:
- Customizing content to the intended user. This can be done via personalization or other quantitative information such as age, interests, sex, location. Demographics can play a significant role in segmentation, letting your UX be tailored to certain regions (like you can do with Facebook ads and similar programs).
- Optimize the customer journey by not only following UX design best practices, but following what the data tells you. For example, if look at the time spent on different pages of your website. Compare the two and try to make adjustments based on why some seem popular and others don’t. Make subtle, but testable changes and see which gets better traction (basic A/B testing or multivariate to make it more comprehensive). Tweak content, visuals, and interactive items as suggested based on analytics. You can even test out certain promotions and sales initiatives. This is an ongoing process, but the overall analytics you get from the testing is an added piece of your toolkit.
- If you’re looking to get your nerd on, aka really enmesh yourself with the data, then figuring out why your site, or pages on your site, have high exit/bounce rates should be your jam. You’re basically trying to decode on where and (quite possibly harder) why users leave. While analytics are helpful in these instances, best practice instances or a combo of the two might hold the most useful answer.
- While UX design best practices use common design elements that resonate across a spectrum of users, and your business might have it narrowed down to an industry or audience level, it doesn’t hurt to use data to discover any gaping holes in the system. What might not be glaringly obvious to the naked eye or designer tests might be earmarked via data. You don’t want to miss out on these linchpins as unexplored methods can result in gains all around.
- Since data analysis drills down on numbers, its decisions still need to be carefully weighed by management and business decision makers. If they follow the numbers and suggestions from a business intelligence standpoint (contact us for direct access to our BI solution kit if needing direction), then applying those changes to the UX should boost shares and increase conversions if they prove accurate based on credibility intervals.
What are Your Next Steps?
If you’re still perplexed between all the steps that ensures a flawless user experience, then let go of your worries and put your business in the hands of experts. We have experience in all aspects of tech, including UX design, business intelligence and predictive analytics, and other groundbreaking ideas that can surely fulfill and exceed the expectations you want for your UX for business.