What is User Experience?
User experience refers to the experience a user has on a website, with an app or a product. A good UX provides the user with a smooth experience that helps them easily achieve a desired outcome – an information, a purchase, a booking. The process to this outcome is what we call User Experience Design & Optimisation. The goal of UX design is to improve a user’s interaction with the product by optimising usability and accessibility.
The rise of user experience
Over the past 15 years, the Internet and with it its possibilities and interfaces have become increasingly interactive. Where before websites were static text documents on the World Wide Web, their content and applications became more and more dynamic, turning the one-way information gathering online into a human-machine interaction. Unfortunately, machines have not yet become humans with emphatic understanding for their visitor on the other side. Consequently, digital products have to respond to human needs that have been correctly assessed by their creator – the user experience strongly depends on the resulting human impression during the interaction.
A user only becomes aware of the user experience when it is lacking or poor. Like a good butler, the UX is perfect when a user experience was smoothly simple. User experience is thus a decisive factor for the success or failure of digital applications and products. It determines whether we trust a company or its digital offering. Users also only notice this when the opposite distrust arises: when buttons do not work, an online purchase is not confirmed, the language of an airline website suddenly changes to Greek during the ordering process. These are all critical points of UX optimisation that determine extreme fluctuations in the success of a website or app.
A major area of work for User Experience is the mobile-first approach. With the invention of the smartphone by Apple in 2007, mobile use of the internet has exploded. From now on, on much smaller devices, the complexity of a desktop application had to be optimised in such a way that mobile visitors, who today make up from 60% to 90% of all visitors to a website, come to a good user experience. As a result, user experience has become much more important. Not the mere arrangement of elements on large screens, but the intelligent structuring and portioning of presentations and processes has become a challenge in UX due to mobile devices. With the development of the smartphone, the potential of online trade has also increased – and with it extremely large sales potentials – which were reserved for providers with outstanding UX. In a world where previously the success of an offer was dependent on a physical location, the location became digital and with the smartphone from then on the shop was permanently open in the pocket and thus the product was always and everywhere available – if the online shop made it possible.
What is User Experience good for?
Basically, user experience is an increase in the usability of a website, an app or software. The translation for websites, shops and apps is this: the digital product should inform users faster, guide them to the best result, sell products better and more efficiently, make them satisfied with a company online. User experience follows accordingly an optimisation of these points, if they are not given, too little or not satisfactorily.
- Where on the website are we losing our customers?
- What parts of the app are confusing, illogical, loose ends?
- How much does the user have to think/invest to get to a desired result?
- At what points do we not take a customer’s wishes and needs into account, or not enough?
- Are our products, presentations, texts and images in the shop coherent and easy to understand?
- How difficult do we make it for a customer to buy the product?
- Where does a customer become uncertain or suspicious?
All these questions have a common denominator: Is the operation of an app or a website easy for the user? Many adjusting screws play a common role in this question, making it a functioning system. As soon as all these levels are adjusted to each other, user experience draws on great potential for success of digital products.
How is User Experience optimized?
User experience design is the result of the interaction of various components. These can be roughly divided into intuitive and analytical levels. Analytical levels are based on facts and figures about the use and visitor data of an application. The more data is collected on website visitors, the clearer an average picture becomes that points to errors and bottlenecks in the user experience. With this data, every measure of user experience optimisation also becomes more measurable, as it makes a clear before/after tangible and factual.
A good user experience process is built on test scenarios from the combination and recombination of its individual parts. A multiplier for the analytical possibilities of an optimisation is the intuitive side of a user experience optimisation: the human and emotional component of content, such as texts, cannot be measured by numbers alone. Only the empathy with a customer on a website provides insights and possibilities to optimise this content for his needs and inner world perceptions. In combination of analytical observation and intuitive optimisation, assumptions, hypotheses and options arise that are compared against each other in testing environments such as an A/B test to arrive at the most effective result. The decisive criterion is then not the subjective appearance of the page alone, but the concrete result that emerges objectively from the analysed user behaviour.
Further uses of User Experience
The user-friendly UX of a website or an app not only has an impact on user behaviour within the website. For example, an improved customer experience increases the time spent on a website, which makes it more relevant for the ranking of a search engine. In addition, google takes user experience into account in its algorithms as a criterion for evaluating websites. According to this factor, a good user experience increases the authority of a website – it is classified as reputable by google and thus preferred in the search engines. Here, font sizes, readability of texts, display dimensions and many other adjusting screws of a good user experience optimisation are included – so UX becomes a big SEO factor in the broader context.
UX also plays an important role in marketing, for example in the design of online advertising. A good UX does not end at the edges of a website, it also relates its content, texts and representations to ads, advertisements, blog articles and storytelling of campaigns that work in a cycle with the app or website. This is precisely why user experience is a field of work that looks at the entire customer journey (path of the customer / customer interaction), and checks and optimises the user experience at the important forks in the road. In the broader context, UX design means active optimisation with regard to user satisfaction and thus the conversion from visitor to customer. In a further step and in the long term, user experience thus contributes to long-term customer loyalty.
Are you looking for a creative partner who can optimise your brand for the future with branding and corporate design and make it ready for digitalisation? Benchmark Design is a design agency in Munich. We specialise in creative and solution-oriented brandings and corporate designs with which our clients from start-ups to corporations define their brand and find new relevance.