What is User Experience and Why You Need to be Thinking About It

By on December 24th, 2015

You probably have a website. You probably had someone “design” it. But did you have someone leading development of your user experience? If you answered “no” to that question, you might be losing customers.

User experience, commonly referred to as UX, can leave a lasting impact on your business – including conversion rates, revenue and other business numbers you only want to see increasing. But if you don’t believe us just yet, consider the facts:

  • About 88 percent of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.
  • Nearly 75 percent of web users judge a company’s credibility based on the overall look and feel of its website.
  • Approximately 94 percent of a good first impression depends on good design choices.

The concept of UX is often looked at through a digital scope, thinking about design and development, but it exists offline as well, from a brick and mortar store to collateral design. UX is any interaction the user has with the brand and its components — the most prominent is your website, open 24/7. But here’s a more formal definition for you textbook types out there:

“User experience” encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the company, its services, and its products.

By now you can probably understand that UX is not about just the design or aesthetics of a brand. Looking at the big picture, a well-developed UX is about:

  • Understanding customers by researching them, as well as the things they expect or need from your business
  • Organizing your content in the most appropriate fashion — think about it like information architecture
  • Finding the best tone and voice for your messaging that supports your brand
  • Establishing a strategy behind the content you create — often based upon data and market research
  • Designing interactive experiences that allow website visitors create their own path
  • Developing an overall brand “look and feel” that brings the experience together

It is easy to see how UX plays into a company’s overall digital presence. But how can you make your own UX count? What’s the deciding factor in designing your own? While we do recommend listening to the wise advice of your web developer, it’s your day-to-day website user that should be at the core of your decision making process.

Think about it. ESPN.com saw revenue jump nearly 35 percent when it took user feedback to heart, incorporating community suggestions into the redesign of its homepage. At the same time, adding a simple feature such as continuous scrolling helped cut Time Magazine’s bounce rate by 15 percent, helping the news outlet retain the attention of online readers.

When it comes to taking a genuine interest in the online experience you’re giving customers, clients and website visitors, there’s an obvious trend. So let’s try something. Check your site with new eyes, imaging you don’t know anything about your own company. Try to see if you find the informational easily, estimate where you stand in experience when compared to your competitors. If there’s room for improvement, you need a User Experience revamp.

What do you consider to be the most important aspects of UX? Sound off in a comment below – we’d love to hear your take.