Remember the joke about the designer coffee pot? It looks great, but try pouring the coffee into your mug. Mess everywhere, and very little coffee in the mug.
This is what a digital business is like without a UX specialist. The website’s impressive, but the UX—user experience—is far from ideal. Creating a website is now essential for businesses, but this doesn’t mean that you should publish one just for the sake of it. Having an appealing website won’t do any good to your business if this platform doesn’t provide the best experience to online users.
Steve Jobs was right about design. He said that design is how it works, not what it looks like. Of course, the look and feel of the UI—user interface—are important. But does it work for the user?
Your website needs to be like a well-designed coffeepot: no mess, no fuss, and looking good. Your website should showcase both functionality and aesthetics to ensure that this platform converts online users to paying customers. Let’s take that perfectly poured mug of coffee and check out why UX design is so critical to your business succeeding.
UX design is a process. It’s used to create experiences that are relevant and meaningful to users. Instead of merely publishing information through your website, this platform should also make it easy for any online users to find the information they’re looking for.
The process of UX design involves integrating
into the user interface.
Branding elements include web content and graphic design. Usability, or ease of use (such as good site navigation), is linked to function. Yet function goes beyond whether something works.
For example, clicking on the Go To Checkout button in an online store must take you to the checkout, but it needs to take you there quickly. Once you get there, you also need a Back button, in case you change your mind about your order.
UX design is a process that focuses on the seamless integration of a product or service in a way that makes it an effective and pleasant experience for the user.
What is a good user experience? A broad definition among the hundreds of right answers would be that it's a user-centered experience that meets users' needs in the precise context that they use a product or service.
UX Designers or sometimes identified as UI/UX designers (User Interface and User Experience) have taken over the business role once played by PR and Marketing agencies (yes, before the internet). What's more, they have transformed it into some much more cohesive, and on a very different playing field where the customer—or user—calls the shots.
If you want to maximize your website and use it as a tool to effectively attract customers, consider hiring UI/UX designers for businesses. If your business is focused on providing services, you can also look for professionals with experience on UX design for service businesses as these individuals have the skills and tools to create well-designed websites for businesses similar to yours.
Hiring UI/UX designers is actually a cost-effective investment, especially for small or new businesses, or to those who don’t have in-house talents to create an effective website.
To see what I mean, check out a few of the things they do:
UX designers collaborate closely with you, the business owner, who needs a better digital experience for the company's customers. During the project discovery phase your goals, specific brand strategies, and target markets are discussed and refined.
UI/UX designers will work with you to determine what your business’s short and long-term goals. The website they'll create for you is tailored-fit to your business’s unique goals, making it easier for this platform to stand out from the competition.
Big data makes it possible to gather and analyze data on your market, your competitors and your users, or potential users. Competitor research identifies your competitors’ strengths and weaknesses.
UX designers go further by evaluating the solutions your competitors came up with and adapting to your specific situation.
Aside from determining what your business’s goals are, UI/UX designers will also conduct market research to ensure that the website they’ll create for you will be better than what your competitors are offering.
Customer surveys are now so well integrated into the e-commerce experience that most companies have forgotten how cumbersome the process used to be.
That is pretty much where the comparison between a PR and marketing agency and a UX designer ends.
Customer surveys are essential ingredients when creating a well-designed website as the information you can gain from this process will allow you to determine what customers are expecting from your website. If you already have an existing website, customer surveys will help you identify its weak areas so you’ll know what and how to improve moving forward.
UI/UX designers will also conduct customer surveys to ensure that you’ll end up with a flawless website that meets expectations and attracts your target audience.
Information architecture mind mapping anyone?
Clay UX is one of the top ten UX design companies in the world that uses the data collected in the research phase to create an information architecture, normally in the form of a mind map.
The purpose is to visualize the overall project structure, understand its scope and define priorities. It is a useful tool that makes it easy to identify users’ needs and improve workflows since it also illustrates the relationship between the various parts of the system.
Again, information architecture is one of many aspects that need attention when designing and structuring the user interface in a way that maximizes the positive response from users.
When you hire a UX specialist, be prepared for a whole lot of questions about your business, it's brand identity, its products, target markets, and financial and other goals.
The competitive digital landscape engulfs the less agile. Based on what info you give to your UX specialist, you will receive some surprising information and data to analyze in return.
For many business owners, employing a UX specialist has been a learning curve. It has also led to better business practices. Remember UX designers are at the forefront of web and analytic technology. It's what they do. And they're inviting you along for the ride. Hop on!
Even if all you do is sell products you manufacture, you need to be absolutely clear about one thing:
Online business is user-centered – and so is UX Design
Don Norman, who first coined the term, will tell you this. He will also tell you that users' wishes and desires change. And that you have to adapt accordingly. But that is another whole story.
That's why you need a UX specialist who will design and test the best interactive solution for you. So that you can be more responsive to your customers, produce and deliver a better product or serve. And attract more customers.
You need a user-centered work process to achieve all that. Start at the beginning with carefully thought-out UX design. That way you will be well prepared for the success that comes your way.
In summary, UX design, and using a UX specialist, is the most efficient and productive way of doing business in a digital world. That's what you want, isn't it?