Build it and they will come.
This line might have worked for Kevin Costner’s character in Field of Dreams but when it comes to User Experience it certainly does not. Today’s users are savvy, brand educated and filled with self worth. This makes trying to meet the continuously raising heights of their standards a constant challenge.
Luckily though, there are 4 simple factors that you can incorporate into your product plan to help you boost your user experience and exceed the level of expectation that your users want.
But first, what is user experience?
User experience (UX) design is the process of creating better products for the user that provides meaningful and relevant experiences. UX goes far beyond design itself and captures all of the psychological and behavioral aspects of users’ interactions with the product.
A good way to look at it is that UX is always a human first approach. Understanding who your user is, what their problem is and designing a user interface to solve their problem. As you can see, when the UX is not thought about from a human first approach your interface is completely useless and users will do their own thing. Fact.
Photo credit: American Press Institute
The 4 Simple Factors to Boost your User Experience
Factor 1: Value
Importance. Usefulness. Worth. These are three things that describe value to a user.
Your user must find value in your product or there is no point in them using it. They just won’t. For you as a business, providing value is the easiest way to get conversions and ultimately build a strong relationship with a loyal customer base.
When trying to establish what value you bring to the table there are some key things that you need to understand i.e. your audience, their problem and what current solutions are already available and if there are any flaws with the existing solutions. This research is vital as it can bring up some pretty big issues that need to be addressed.
For example, Danish ceramics company Helbak’s website showcases their simplistic Scandinavian designs and exquisite colours for household items. The website is fantastic for giving detail such as size, colours and price. However, when it comes to buying a product, the value of the website decreases significantly as it is difficult to pay.
When this happens users have a number of options - 1. Battle on and try to pay (eventually!?) through the site for the product they want, 2. Take note of the details on the Helbak website and go elsewhere to purchase or 3. Abandon ship and go and find an equally nice butter box online or in a similar style store.
This is why in-depth research and analysis needs to be undertaken to understand where abouts in the user experience the value points lie, and importantly which are the make or break conversion points. When your research is done make sure to align what you intend the value to be and where users actually find value in your product. This is a defining point as it will impact everything from your product to your marketing to your sales.
Factor 2: Usability
As Steve Jobs once said, “Design is not just what is looks and feels like. Design is how it works”. This defines usability. Is it easy to use? Yes or No?
All too often however, people class user experience as usability when in reality usability is only one of the 4 main factors. It is there to understand how easily users can get the intended value out of the product.
When measuring usability it is important to analyse things like learnability, content discoverability, findability, readability and the ease with which users can recognise information. Combined, these things make up a user's perception of the product and the brand as a whole. When usability is perfect, users will normally not notice. However, when it is bad, users will make a point of not using it, use another product or tell others of their bad experience.
An interesting example of this is the first generation of MP3 players. Once released users understood the value that they could bring to their lives. However, they weren’t usability friendly. Because of this when the more usable iPod launched they lost their market share as it became the first truly usable MP3 player.
Photo credit: cnet.com
Factor 3: Adaptability
Help me faster, know me better and wow me everywhere. This is how Google ensure that their products are adaptable enough for the users to continue to use them over a competitor.
Adaptability is closely linked to usability but it relates more to users’ buying, downloading, installing and using the product. It must be understood in the natural context in which a user is exposed.
When analyzed and actioned correctly alongside your users, you can really see positive changes in how adaptable your product becomes. For example, ESPN redeveloped their website homepage with input from their users and saw their revenues shoot up by 35%!
However, when a business-first approach is taken rather than a human-first one the adaptability to change in even existing and successful products can be devastating. Take, for example, Snapchat. Great product. Defined target audience. Constantly trying to set the trend. Yet one change in their app by moving stories to a different page set users into a panic. This panic was felt by everyday users as well as power users and influencers alike. In fact, it was so devastating they lost 17% of their stocks on Wall Street in the early hours of 1st May 2018.
Photo Credit: Fortune
Factor 4: Desirability
This is linked to the emotional appeal of your product.
While a large part is attributed to design it is also heavily to do with how users engage with the product or the brand and if it is in the intended way in which you set out. This factor considers whether or not the user experience is fun and engaging as this will dictate whether or not they become returning users or, even better, evangelists of your product.
Take for example Skoda and Porsche. Both companies make useful, usable, findable, accessible, credible and valuable vehicles. However, most people would pick Porsche over Skoda should they ever have the opportunity to get one free of charge. This is not to say that Skoda is not a good car or that it is undesirable, however, in a direct comparison scenario the emotional tie to a Porsche wins.
Photo Credit: Porsche
In summary, user experience is a combination of the 4 simple factors of value, usability, adaptability and desirability. In a world where users increasingly raise their standards, the analysis on user experience is continuously ongoing.
For more information on user experience check out our guide “A Guide To Mobile Experience From The Experts”. If you want to know more or have any questions feel free to contact me directly via firstname.lastname@example.org.
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