Meet Summer Effray, a Communications Consultant turned Innovation Consultant who advanced her career with BrainStation's Online Live UX Design course.
You work hard to make a great product or service. You package it up, promote it, and market it to get it in front of plenty of target customers.
But sales aren’t taking off as much as you’d hoped. So, what gives?
One factor to examine closely in this scenario is the user experience (commonly known as UX) of your product, service, and organization’s website. You could have a sexy, new offering for your customers, but if they find it clunky to use or difficult to navigate, you’ll likely watch your sales simply stagnate.
For example, a report from creative software company Adobe tell us that “38% of people will stop engaging with a website if the content/layout is unattractive.” And the same report shows that another 39% of potential customers will stop engaging with a website if images won’t load or take too long to load.
Obviously, UX matters. A good user experience often makes for happy customers — but only if you take the time to consider it when creating or polishing your product.
So, let’s take a hard look at the basics of UX and examine how it can influence your customers.
What is UX?
Let’s take a moment to unpack this loaded acronym. What does the UX really mean?
User Experience (also known as UX or UED) design is a user-centered discipline and growing field dedicated to crafting compelling digital experiences. In a nutshell, UX designers have the top-level responsibility to consider the needs of the end user (the person using the program, software or app the company is creating), while also keeping in mind the business goals for the product. It’s how a person feels when interfacing with that system, and designers analyze those feelings..
UX designers focus on building a positive relationship with customers through accessibility and ease of use. The role tends to be highly technical and analytical, compared to the related role of User Interface (UI) Design. Smashing Magazine defines it well, saying UX encompasses components of utility, ergonomics, system performance and more.
Originally coined by Apple’s former vice-president of Advanced Technology Don Norman, he created the concept of UX Design to broaden the idea of how customers interact with technology.
“I invented the term because I thought human interface and usability were too narrow. I wanted to cover all aspects of the person’s experience with the system including industrial design, graphics, the interface, the physical interaction, and the manual,” he said.
“Since then the term has spread widely, so much so that it is starting to lose its meaning… user experience, human centered design, usability; all those things, even affordances. They just sort of entered the vocabulary and no longer have any special meaning. People use them often without having any idea why, what the word means, its origin, history, or what it’s about.”
But that doesn’t give anyone a concrete idea of what the day-to-day duties look like for a UX designer. Primarily, the role manages big problems customers may face and breaks them down into creative solutions, according to one UX design pro.
“User experience is all about solving problems in data driven and creative ways,” says Sarah Menard, Lead User Experience Designer at SAP and the Educator for BrainStation’s User Experience Design course in Vancouver. “In my current position, it’s about solving extremely complex problems with a lot of moving parts. It’s very challenging, and definitely lets me flex a wide variety of skillsets that ultimately feels extremely rewarding. I get to help people work more efficiently, and work with tons of brilliant colleagues from a variety of professions and backgrounds.”
How UX Makes Customers Happy
With the aforementioned explanations in mind, it becomes clearer by UX deeply impacts the way users interact with your product or website. But can you leverage UX principles to influence buying behaviour?
The experts over at Guided Selling break it down to a few factors to consider, particularly when building a UX-friendly website:
- Intuitive Usability: When a potential customer hits your website, they view it through their own expectations, or ‘mental model’. In a physical store, they can ask shop assistants for advice, browse items, try things on, keep hold of things they like and checkout. Try to meet the expectations of that mental model so that customers can intuitively navigate your products and website. For example, one consistent expectation is that customers expect websites to contain your contact information. Adobe shows that 51% of people think “thorough contact information” is the most important element missing from many company websites.
- Include White Space: Yes, websites include plenty of white space (or negative space) for a reason. Not only does it help guide users’ attention on the site, but it also helps you visually prioritize important elements to draw their eye where you want it to go.
- Build a Mobile Version of Your Site: More shoppers are buying products directly from their mobile devices — which means it’s crucial that users be able to access your products this way. And mobile sites should meet certain usability expectations, i.e. swiping instead of scrolling, and pinching and rotating functionality.
While these are just a few UX design elements that can encourage buying behaviour, they’re high impact and worth incorporating into your next project.
Get Started in UX Design Today
Prepare for a career in UX design in just 10 weeks with BrainStation’s immersive User Experience Design Immersive Course. This 400-hour course introduces students to the tools and methods of UX design by emphasizing both the practical elements and theoretical approaches used to guide the design of digital experiences. Students apply their learning by creating sketches, experience maps and user stories, and using software to create wireframes and prototypes.
For those who need to keep their 9-to-5 gig while learning new skills, BrainStation also offers part-time courses as well as evening and weekend workshops for those who’d like to get a taste of UX before taking the leap.
Ready to start a new career? Submit your application today.