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The Rising Importance of Effective User Experience

Published on Monday, 18th May 2015, contributed by AgencyUK

by Sammy Mansourpour, Managing Director at The Agency

When someone discusses re-designing their website or modifying their eCommerce user journey, the likelihood is that rather than it being the aesthetics and manoeuvrability of the site that pops to the front of everyone’s mind, it’s the technicalities behind re-creating that digital space. While it obviously takes experienced and talented individuals to wrap their heads around the nitty-gritty, aesthetics is falling lower down the priority list and data is driving the user experience.

The term user experience (UX) is central part of most tech briefs these days. And it is so unbelievably important when it comes to website re-design that if it’s ignored, even the most technically thrilling site will fail. When something goes wrong with the UX, the business will certainly hear about it.

UX should never, however, be confused with UI – aka, ‘User Interface’. These are two very different things, with UX relating to the actual use of a website or app and (as stated above) its manoeuvrability; UI, on the other hand, relates to the aesthetics of the interface and is more about the design.

Our teams break UX down into a number of important factors, that include:

Usability;
Performance;
Ergonomics;
Accessibility;
Marketing;
Human interaction.

These elements combine to make a well-rounded UX that will leave an individual with a positive impression. UX should answer the subjective needs of the user whilst also taking into account the objective and technical requirements of a site.

A site can look as creative and artistically brilliant as you wish; but if the user isn’t able to successfully navigate the content they want, then they’ll go elsewhere. Today interaction with any site needs to be seamless and natural.

Ecommerce brands have moulded user behaviour and shared their success stories so their best practice is now filtering down to everyone else, and simple intuitive navigation is frequently top of mind.

There are four key business benefits to implementing good UX. These include:

1. Improved commercialisation

2. Reduced support costs

3. Reduced development time and costs

4. Reduced maintenance costs

These benefits are succinct, easy to comprehend and should be included in an organisation's KPI's. There is also an international standard of good UX methodology for those looking for a benchmark; it begins with a human-centred design process that takes into account the following four points:

1. The context of use – eg. who will use the site and the conditions under which they will use it.

2. The requirements – eg. business requirements or user goals that need to be met.

3. Design solutions – trial and error phase of the creative process, from rough concepts to final designs.

4. Design evaluation – testing the different website designs and evaluating them to find the most suitable.

UX is unpredictable and evolutionary, with a test and learn approach being the gold standard for investment. But as with everything in the marketing space, by placing the digital consumer at the heart of your communications your brand will thrive.