Here’s the headline: the importance of user experience (UX) to the success of any online business cannot be overstated. And as every business is an online business in 2023, that means you.
You would have to go a long way to find anyone who disagrees with that statement. But you wouldn’t have to go far to find someone who at the same time attempts to cut corners when it comes to developing the sort of online presence that customers and prospects love, and that in turn drives conversion and revenues.
So in the spirit of educating the masses, let’s spell out exactly WHY user experience is important, under three easy-to-understand headings.
1. Enhanced customer satisfaction
Everyone knows that customer satisfaction is key to a successful business. After all, people tend not to enjoy things that don’t work or make it hard to get things done, and they don’t recommend them to others either. Again, this isn’t exactly a bombshell, but how many of us understand that investment in UX is what drives that satisfaction?
When users have a positive experience with a digital product, it creates a sense of ease, efficiency and enjoyment. A well-designed UX considers user needs, preferences and behaviours, provides intuitive navigation, clear information, and engaging interactions. It’s just pleasant to use. And it is important to understand that in the mind of the consumer, these interactions are your company.
That’s important for existing customers (especially in a B2C world), but it also matters for potential customers (particularly in a B2B world). Everything about the online experience (including the product itself, if you are a digital business) impacts customer satisfaction and shapes the opinion your audience has of your business. And whether your audience knows it or not, UX is absolutely central to delivering the right kind of experience: one that drives customer satisfaction.
2. Increased conversion rates
UX plays a pivotal role in improving conversion rates. A well-designed and optimised UX will guide users seamlessly through the customer journey, eliminating all the obstacles and friction points that may hinder conversions. And that is incredibly important. Think of the cost involved in bringing a potential customer to a website or landing page: when you lose those people due to poor conversion rates, it represents a significant cost to the business. Or to look at that another way, even marginal improvements in conversion rates can save a fortune in the cost of above-the-line advertising and promotion.
Great UX understands user behaviour, needs and motivations. Done right, it strategically places persuasive elements, intuitive navigation and clear calls-to-action throughout the user interface, in a way that optimises conversion at every turn. The goal, to be clear, is helping users to find and access what they need. That is central to good UX. But if what they are looking for is what we would like them to do, it makes sense to make that journey as easy as possible.
Of course a conversion can take many forms (in fact, we wrote a whole article on the topic). It could be a purchase or subscription, or just completing a form. Whichever it is, UX is the secret to making it happen as often as possible.
3. Superior user experience sets businesses apart from competitors
It’s a competitive world out there. In fact, that’s what the entire economy is based on - just in case you hadn’t noticed. So whilst we all like to feel we are unique, I have news for you: somebody somewhere is doing something similar. For a huge number of businesses the products or services they sell are very fungible indeed (just doing my bit to boost your word power).
The internet intensifies this situation. It is why, for example, comparison websites have to advertise themselves with comical and fictional opera singers, or (no longer Russian) meerkats. In such a world, the quality of user experience associated with that product becomes absolutely vital. There is a reason why companies that sell online, for example, spend millions (and millions) on UX every year: their success, and their place in the market, depends on it.
But there’s more to it than that. UX, when done well, creates a memorable experience that users recall and return to. In a sea of sameness, it can mark out a company as an island of difference (in a good way). In fact by doing so, it does much the same job as the opera singers and meerkats. UX can stick in the mind, and there’s no better way to bring back users, and ultimately turn them into the holy grail of marketers everywhere: evangelists.
A final word
I’ve spoken largely about the positive aspects of great user experience. But it’s also worth thinking of this topic the other way around. The negative impacts of bad UX can be truly spectacular. Nothing can undermine success like clunky, poor-quality user interface design that frustrates users and potential customers.
Nothing says “we don’t care” quite like it. And in a world where people talk (and talk to thousands with just a simple online review or comment), it’s not a risk you should be taking. Invest in great UX. We can help. It makes everything else so much easier.