The digital revolution necessitates human connection between users and company goals.
Alongside rapidly advancing technologies arrives user experience (UX) design, an increasingly multidisciplinary field that bridges a connection between consumers (users) and businesses through a digital medium. These are often mobile applications or digital platforms (i.e., websites) and depending on the attention brought into these determine a successful first impression that will bring users back online some other time.
UX design enhances our current understanding of technology, as it brings unique human qualities that software such as AI hasn’t yet mastered. In synergising the relationship between user needs and business objectives, designers consider the user’s feelings and emotions toward a platform. These are often captured in depth through user interviews or surveys, ensuring a personal relationship is built and does not rely on generalised assumptions.
UX is more than a strategic decision
The upfront quality investing in UX brings is its support for increasing conversion rates. This is an organic process, as building an easy to navigate platform will naturally encourage users to return to it. A platform that considers user needs throughout the software developer cycle will also be one that is referred to family members and friends, creating a snowball effect where satisfied users are your richest source in serving recommendations.
There are other ways whereby UX makes for a sound strategic implementation for those that may need further convincing:
Less time for user support: if your platform or application works to solve the majority of user needs, you will notice that individuals rarely approach you to ask for further assistance. This means lesser time spent on answering support emails or queries, and fewer costs incurred from lower productivity in your IT job as a result.
Improved SEO: part and parcel of attending to great UX is ensuring bothersome qualities of a website (e.g., slow site speed) are minimised as much as possible. This does not only serve UX however and improves SEO ranking as well. Whilst there are numerous ways UX contributes to improved SEO, common contributions are due to page speed, mobile optimisation, and organised URL structures.
Brand awareness and loyalty: UX designers are natural storytellers and aim to persuade users in building long-term relationships with a platform. In doing so, they also present the narrative of a company brand that is unique to other organisations. This brand recognition helps users return to a particular platform and can relay their thoughts of the brand properly to other individuals from diverse jobs and occupations.
Cost-effective: UX designers are largely involved in the beginning of a product’s development, conducting copious research that will help inform vital future decisions. Without investing in a UX team, product teams will encounter several more challenges that would’ve been tackled beforehand, leading to further costs in the development process. In the long run, UX designers maintain a platform’s functionality before and after its development, alongside software developers and engineers alike.
As UX applies to all industries, its multidisciplinary approach toward understanding and caring for user needs enables organisations to embark on challenges that connects individuals to businesses. We no longer need to make assumptions about whether UX is a positive strategic move. We are now able to observe the countless successful platforms (think of the big tech giants) who place UX at the forefront of their design intuition.
Implementing UX in practice
Ensuring consistent communication with users
One important aspect in constructing a long-term relationship with users is to consistently communicate their needs throughout multiple platform journeys. Any platform usually implements new components over time, this can mean subtle website improvements to large scale novel features. These should be informed from users, and a dedicated team should seek regular feedback to ensure smooth operation.
With this, you want to maintain a critical lens when searching for feedback. You want to ask questions that explore why a user’s experience is positive or negative, so that you understand what features definitely work and those that do not. Engaging with users for feedback shouldn’t be overlooked, as these make up your loyal audience and consumers.
Employ best practice measures
Due to the influx of digital platforms today, it’s understandable that organisations want to step up the game and implement novel creative means to stand apart from competitors. Whilst creative problem-solving and ideation can be positive, you should base your platform off similar websites/applications already existing (including competitors). A careful note here is to not base your platform off someone else’s, rather this point means you follow the best user interface practices common to successful platforms.
This is because as human beings, we generally find comfortable ways in navigating websites, and if something works and is accessible, it should be standard across different platforms. There is no use creating an opposing way to display webpages when users understand and are happy with current navigation. It will also help users enter the new platform in the first place, as they are approaching something they’re somewhat already familiar with. There is nothing more derailing than creating a platform that looks totally foreign to what users already know and love.
Simplicity is best
In line with the above, a successful platform is one that is easy to visualise and digest. You want users to quickly grasp their navigation through your website, so that when they later return, they’re comfortable performing the same journeys. This is only possible if a website or mobile application is clear, simple, and functional.
When it comes to discussing the platform to users or potential stakeholders, you should also resort to simplistic strategies: explain your narrative to bridge connectivity between your users and organisational goals, without hard selling your quality features. Transparency is a quality appreciated by both consumers and clients, so do not converse about your platform in an overly complicated manner.
Perform regular updates
Whilst a large scope of user research arises from the beginning of a product’s development, a lot of it also comes from maintenance of a platform as well. There is only so much you can gather from users before the launch of a platform, and it’s another story altogether when you can actually visualise and understand their needs as they use it.
With this in mind, you want to measure and perform regular platform updates with a software developer team to ensure smooth UX throughout its lifespan. You want to strive to improve your user’s journey and provide novel interactive features that are resourceful and relevant. All in all, great UX arrives with how connected users feel with the organisation. If you are transparent and work to improve UX, you can guarantee a positive influx of users that will remain loyal to your platform for the long haul.
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