Understanding the User Experience & Its Importance

User Experience: What It Is and Why You Shouldn’t Ignore It

By Jim Van HiseMay 5 /2022

A user’s experience on a website is memorable, for better or for worse. Case in point: If a website has a positive mobile experience, 61% of consumers will come away with a higher opinion of that business. But if the mobile experience is bad, 52% of consumers are less likely to engage with that business in the future.

Albeit a critical factor, mobile optimization is just one part of a larger conversation on how users interface with your website and the feelings that experience evokes — what’s collectively known as the user experience (UX).

No matter where you are in your website’s lifecycle, it’s important to keep tabs on your user experience at every stage of the buyer’s journey. If you’re ignoring it, you’re giving competitors the advantage. And if you invest in it, you’ll experience significant gains, with research indicating that for every dollar spent on UX, you’ll earn $100 in return.

Feeling intrigued? Let’s dive deeper into the meaning of the user experience and its leading role in your company’s success.

What Is User Experience?

At a broad level, the term “user experience” refers to the way users engage with and perceive a product, service or system. While UX encompasses all of a user’s touchpoints with a company and its products/services — examples of which we’ll dive into further below — the first of these touchpoints is often the company’s website. 

Think about the current state of your website from a user’s eyes and perspective:

  • Is the content on your website useful to your target audience?
  • Is the website content legible and easy to read?
  • Is the website easy to navigate on different devices and browser types?
  • Is the information architecture of your website logical to follow?

UX professionals have a deep understanding of who your buyers are and how they’re interpreting content, and they serve that information up in a way that is digestible for users, no matter where they are in the buying cycle or how they are conducting their research. The final product should allow users to leave your website feeling like they received valuable information or the products they needed — not with feelings of frustration and uncertanity.

Frank Chimero, author of The Shape of Design, spelled it out well: “People ignore design that ignores people.” When you create a user-centric website experience, you’ll reap the benefits of a digital interface that invites new users to explore your website and existing users to return.

Why You Shouldn’t Ignore UX

While we’ve scratched the surface of why the user experience is important, there are plenty of industry statistics to further back up this claim.

Did you know 75% of people base the credibility of a brand on their website’s look, feel and responsiveness to the user journey? Whether it’s a matter of outdated design principles or content that misses the mark, a website with a poor user experience can take users away from your site and right into the lap of competitors. Research shows that 79% of people who don’t like their user experience on one website will search for another website to find what they need.

When companies are able to get in sync with their target audience’s desired user experience, the impact is significant. Forrester Research reports that a better user interface (UI) design could boost your website’s conversion rates by up to 200%, while a better UX design could increase rates by up to 400%. What’s more, companies that invest in UX research have discovered that 15.8% of customers are far more likely to stick with the same brand, and 16.6% are more likely to recommend the brand’s product or service.

Simply put, ignoring UX and UI design fails multiple aspects of your company — ultimately hurting your brand and potential sales. Remember that your digital presence is always available to your customer, and it has to be on point at every point.

With all that being said, it’s important to note only 55% of companies reported conducting any digital user experience testing. While this leaves plenty of room for opportunities to improve the user experience, the first step is to know what to test to garner meaningful results.

What Are the Best Ways to Test UX?

There are several ways to analyze how your users interact with your website. 

Take heat mapping software, like Hotjar or Crazy Egg, for instance. By recording user sessions, these tools can monitor the behavior of website visitors, highlighting where they click on a page as well as how far they scroll down the page. From these recordings, you may find it’s beneficial to reposition CTAs on a page to generate more clicks, or perhaps to adjust your content strategy with new interactive elements like videos to boost user engagement.

Alongside these efforts, you can also survey customers, talk to your sales team to understand customer pain points and goals, and A/B test messages and tone.

One example from the Kuno portfolio involves a university that was hearing complaints about prospective students looking for program information during the enrollment process. To make relevant content more accessible, we went through the buyer persona discovery process and altered the entire site map based on our findings. After refreshing the website, we readdressed the user journeys and are now in the process of monitoring how students are using the pages and making adjustments from there. We also go through test cycles, usability testing and tweak SEO as needed. 

While we’ve focused much of this conversation around the user experience as it relates to a company’s website, it’s important to remember UX encompasses all interactions a person has with a brand. The meaningful experience that begins on your website should also extend into other marketing efforts, with UX testing providing guidance on this front as well.

Let’s think about this in the context of email marketing. To nurture customer relationships and address their relevant care concerns and questions, Kuno created a re-engagement email workflow for an orchid retailer that checks in on buyers three, six and nine months after they purchase a plant from the brand’s online shop. The first email discusses how to care for your orchid in its dormant stage; the second email shares reasons an orchid may not be reblooming yet; and the third email talks about repotting your orchid. We continue to monitor metrics like email open rate, click-through rate and unsubscribe rate to ensure the reengagement workflow keeps customers engaged and invested.

Prioritize a Great User Experience & See the Benefits First-hand

When people engage with your brand — from the first time they visit your website to interactions after they make a purchase — they have high expectations for a good UX. With effective user testing measures in place, you can better align your marketing efforts with the expectations and needs of your target audience and knock your user experience out of the park. 

With a dedicated team of UX experts, Kuno Creative can make your brand stand out for the right reasons at every user touchpoint. Schedule a consultation to see how we can help.

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The Author

Jim Van Hise

Jim’s nearly 20 years of experience helps him build clients’ digital brands. He has worked at startups and Fortune 500 companies, including The Pittsburgh Post Gazette and OverDrive. He is a graduate of The Art Institutes and an active member of UXPA, AIGA and International Design Foundation.
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