Contemporary, high quality website design increasingly focuses on ‘user behaviour’, and scientific analysis of customer data. We call this User Experience (UX). But what does business investment in UX really mean from a revenue perspective? How does an investment on digital experience and user-centric design offer ROI to your marketing campaign planning?
If you're a business, sales or marketing leader this article will help you:
Understand how Fingo prioritises data driven, customer focused website design to attract audiences, convert sales and boost customer loyalty for our clients
Identify if you have a UX problem
Work out what good and bad UX looks like
Understand how you can improve your websites UX design
“Why Can’t Every Website Be This Easy To Use?”
User Experience (UX) is certainly a hot topic in the digital industry. But many marketing leaders outside of the digital space query if UX should be at the top of their priority list “If people want to buy something from our website or fill out an enquiry form they’ll work out how to do it, won’t they?”
That’s a perfectly reasonable question, we hear it a lot from our clients. It seems self-evident that if the website is easy for you to use, it will be easy for your customers… but sound business decisions rely on data rather than assumptions.
And the data you want is real sales and conversion rate uplifts - not the mere opinion of everybody from within the company (afterall it’s hardly an impartial opinion right?).
Often well meaning marketing teams use consultancy surveys to ask whether people believe they’ll be more likely to shop from a brand that offers a better UX, the problem with this is, who’s going to answer ‘no’ to that?.
We’ll come back to the data shortly. First let’s explore what ‘usability,’ means - and why the value of improving your UX is closely linked to what it means to be human.
According to The Interaction Design Foundation: ‘Usability is a measure of how well a specific user in a specific context can use a product/design to achieve a defined goal effectively, efficiently and satisfactorily.’
As a website user you know instinctively what usability feels like. You’ve almost certainly encountered sites where everything seems simple. The designer is always one step ahead, knowing what you will want to do next and presenting you with a blindingly obvious button to click. You might have compared this to other experiences and asked why all websites can’t be as easy to use.
Offering a slick user experience will give you a competitive edge - even against bigger players in your market who haven’t made the same investment. By investing in UX you will convert more of your hard-earned web traffic into sales and enquiries.
But in today’s world UX is broader than what happens when somebody visits your website. It encompasses every way that a customer might interact with your brand online, which could include automated self-service or voice searches for information.
The big question is how much profit growth will you see through UX improvements and will it exceed the value of your investment?
Human Nature Hasn’t Changed - But Expectations Have
The psychology behind UX is straightforward. It’s a question of whether you want to work with human nature or struggle against it.
When we can’t immediately see what to do next we get frustrated. We react emotionally by clicking out of a website even if we want what’s for sale.
We look for easy solutions and avoid what seems difficult. That’s simply human nature. But the definition of ‘easy’ isn’t fixed. ‘Easy’ is based on experience and expectations - and it’s constantly evolving.
In the early days of the internet every site was slow. They were also badly designed because agencies didn't have the tools or the understanding of online behaviour to make them better.
Now everyone can visit sites with a great UX. That level of ease and simplicity then becomes the expectation. If you don’t meet the expectation and your competitors do, you have a problem.
Signs You Might Have a UX Problem
UX can always be improved. How urgently you need to improve your UX urgently depends on the balance between costs and potential benefits. Here are some of the classic signs that your UX is holding your business back:
You get plenty of organic and paid traffic, but hardly any conversions.
You have fewer repeat customers than you should expect.
A high percentage of visitors start the conversion process and give up.
Your content is focused on your company and your products, rather than on your customers and their needs.
Competitors with poorer quality products outperforming you
What does poor User Experience look like?
Some indications and examples of poor user journeys and experience can include (but are not limited to):
Copy with an assumption around what a customer knows
Erratic journey for the user to arrive at the products
The website failing to be problem and solution focused
Haphazard user journeys that time consuming, counter intuitive, jarring
Slow websites or glitchy pages
Not enough content that leaves a user still asking questions
Confusing content that frustrates the customer
Search Engines Have Changed Too
It isn’t just our expectations of website performance that have changed. Today Google operates in fundamentally different ways compared to even a few years ago.
Like early websites, the first search engines were fairly crude. They were engineered to match specific strings of characters that made up keywords. Algorithms would then attempt to rank sites that appeared to feature those keywords. What you got back as a user was a list of more or less useful links.
Around 2013, Google started to introduce semantic search. This is concerned with what words mean, relationships between words and concepts, and the context in which queries are typed into search boxes.
What Google aims to do is to deliver answers to actual and implied questions. Instead of a page of blue links you’re more likely to see an information snippet and a list of further questions related to your search. An answer engine rather than a search engine.
The jobs of the web designer and SEO are very different from before. Rather than just optimising pages for specific keywords you now have to get inside the head of a prospect and understand what they are searching for and why.
The entry point to your site is more likely to be somebody trying to solve a problem or understand a topic than a search for a specific product or service. And once they’ve satisfied their initial curiosity the question is: ‘what next?’ Where will your user experience take them for the next part of their journey?
Your UX is Part of Your Brand
Your brand is the sum of experiences people have when they interact with your business and your marketing. Your logo and other brand assets are triggers for memories and associations.
When you build a better user experience you help to build a stronger brand. When your customers can easily find what they need, make a purchase, manage their account and get rapid and helpful answers, you are building positive brand experiences through your UX.
On the other hand, a website that is hard to use and where it’s impossible to find the information you need creates negative associations: ‘If their website is this hard to navigate what must it be like doing business with them?’
With a user experience that’s worse than your competitors’ your only option to grow market share might be the discounting death spiral.
How to Improve Your UX
Fingo’s certified UX specialists focus on two connected priorities: supporting your customers and boosting your business growth.
If it isn’t a site we built we’ll probably start with a basic health check to make sure pages load quickly, are displayed correctly and that there are no broken links. After that, the process steps are the following.
The first priority is to establish the business context. This is likely to include an overview of how your business operates and your customer acquisition process. We’d look at how your website currently performs against industry benchmarks to establish the scope and potential for improvement.
The final bit of context is your business strategy. Do you want more sales, more repeat sales, higher LTV or for more customers to self-serve? Optimising your UX for defined business goals is a vital part of the process.
User Journey Flow Analysis
Is there a simple and logical pathway between entering the site and achieving the conversion goal? What information will a potential customer need and is it easy to find, easy to understand and presented at the right time in the process?
Redesigning the user flow using wire frames is an efficient way to model different user scenarios and plot efficient conversion pathways.
A Data Dive
We use data from Google Analytics and other platforms such as Hotjar to gain insights into user behaviour. This includes which parts of the site they are most likely to visit, pathways followed and the most common exit points (in other words, where they get too fed up or frustrated to carry on).
Research methods include customer surveys and usability testing, which involves observing users as they attempt to perform a task. Eye or mouse tracking heat maps show where attention is concentrated. And session recording captures real user interactions with your site.
Unlike you, your users don’t know what they are ‘supposed’ to do next. Real user behaviour is often a revelation.
Combining qualitative research with quantitative data analysis builds a more complete picture of user behaviour to shine a light on where things can be improved.
Blindly making website changes to see if they make a difference won’t lead anywhere useful. Based on qualitative and quantitative research it’s vital to build a hypothesis along the lines of: we believe x is a problem so if we make change y we should see a measurable improvement.
Improving the user experience is a methodical and iterative process, usually based on carefully structured A/B split testing. The difference it can make to business results is illustrated by the following case studies.
The simple take-out from all of this is that UX really does matter. If anything it’s becoming even more significant in a time and attention-poor world where there are plenty of examples of well-designed user experiences for comparison.
30 Euston Square is a prestigious events venue. They challenged Fingo to get more from their current website while reflecting the high-end experience of running an event at the location.
Rather than start from scratch, we took the best parts of the website and worked upwards through a series of optimisations and tests. Fingo assessed how the website was being received by the existing user base and identified the key problems and challenges to solve. These observations informed the hypotheses we explored to improve online enquiries.
By implementing our solutions in a carefully determined order of priority we improved enquiry rates by 200% through a clearer content structure, key conversion points and an optimised mobile experience.
Fingo UX helped Inland Homes increase form conversions by 15%
The business goal was to drive more web enquiries and increase conversion rates. We were also asked to help Inland Homes improve their understanding of how their website could influence enquiry and conversion rates.
We conducted a comprehensive website audit covering all aspects of its performance. This identified opportunities for improvement including a reshaped content structure and improved functionality.
The process fully engaged the marketing team so that they gained greater knowledge and tools to evaluate performance. Their improved understanding led to a greater appreciation of the role the website plays in converting users.
The benefits of this data and insights consultancy and the associated implementations have also led to improved performance across both paid and organic search channels.