We covered three aspects of what is to be considered as ambitious digital experiences. The first blog post of the series focused on defining the integral parts of such experiences, the second post dug a little deeper into interaction channels of digital experiences and the third post dealt with integrations and Drupal.
The fourth post in the series will refer to how important is to also address the challenge of user experience in the process of delivering an ambitious digital experience. UX should definitely cover more than just branding and design. In my opinion, the engines which are running under the hood of design are the important ones, the ones we should be focusing on. Why?
There should be a purpose behind it all
There is absolutely nothing wrong with websites which we can't identify as being ambitious. This can happen due to various reasons. The budget doesn't allow for going bigger and deeper, maybe the company is satisfied with a brochure site which offers basic information and a contact form, or perhaps they do not see the value having a website which we could call ambitious. That kind of websites will serve a certain purpose, it just isn’t ambitious. Great design can be just great if there is nothing running in the background. And a great design doesn't guarantee a great user experience. The latter definitely being of the vital elements of an ambitious digital experience. And there is money in it. Have you ever stumbled upon a great deal in an online shop, decided to buy it, just to find out in the process of buying the item it would be quite a hassle to fight your way through all the information that has to be entered into the system and how do you want to make your payment. On more occasions, the great deal was not so great anymore. Let's say the online retailer did manage to drive my behavior in such a way I visited its website - but only due to the low price or availability of the product - but later failed miserably. The UX was there because you can’t have a UX. Of some sorts. Let’s say you don’t have the UX as a feature of your website. You still have the UX which is bad. There is no hiding from that fact.
You go to a physical store, and you know you will probably have to wait in line. Of course, there’s also the possibility that the desired product is no longer available. So you wait in line to find out you waited for nothing. When buying online, we want to avoid such events. Can you imagine how worse is the experience if the same thing happens to you while buying online? You don't physically stand in a line, but you hoped for a smooth, intuitive, seamless experience. And after you didn't get what you hoped for, you go away. Not even a great bargain can convince you to stay and work your way through because this is not something you expected.
Why is a great UX an investment
According to research conducted by Podium, 68% of customers are willing to pay 15% more for a better experience. I believe that is something no business, no matter what industry it's active in, shouldn't take seriously and consider what that additional revenue could mean for the company. If we turn our attention back to the aforementioned online retailer with lousy UX and great bargains. If there are also other people like me who really dislike bad UX, the company loses money daily. People with the intent to buy something will go somewhere else, either they'll find a physical shop or some other online retailer.
In the UK alone 50 billion £ yearly are lost in online retailing to poor accessibility. The latter being an element of responsive web design. As customers are always on the go, and smartphones enabled us to do everything, and more than a PC or a laptop allowed us a couple of years ago, responsive web design is a must for UX to be considered as ambitious. And it shouldn't be just about a layout on a page, it would also have to be about simplifying and creating such an experience someone would want to come back and use it again. Or go even a couple of steps further and invite and allow your customers to co-develop and co-author the UX.
We barely scratched the surface of what a difference a UX can make by depicting my own experiences with online retailers. Obviously, I talked about B2C users, customers. In a B2B and B2G world, UX goes way deeper and broader. UX can cover a variety of elements and should use diverse channels of interaction to achieve the desired outcomes. According to Peter Morville, author of several books on UX, there are seven factors that describe user experience:
- Useful - an art piece or a video game are also useful as they deliver non-practical benefits.
- Usable - if the product in question enables users to achieve their objectives.
- Findable - the product must be easy to find when talking about the digital world we also mean the content to be easily findable.
- Credible - a user has to trust that the provided product will carry out its function and serve its needs.
- Desirable - if you could choose between a Hyundai and a Mercedes - both for free - which one would you choose? Desirability operates on an emotional level.
- Accessible - you should provide experiences which are accessible to all people regardless of their health status.
- Valuable - a product or a solution to be valuable must create value. For everyone involved, the maker, the seller, the buyer.
There are things you shouldn't forget
By far the strangest thing that happened to me regarding UX was an unfortunate development of a sales process for one of my previous business associates. The company from manufacturing sector which was consulted in the sales by the firm I was employed at the time finally managed to get some meeting with more respected potential clients. This one potential client, a really huge one, already started talking to the company's representatives, but the prospect went cold really fast after the initial start. Which was very decent. The reason, potential client's representative strolled through LinkedIn and was greatly dissatisfied with the company's presence on social networking service. Bad UX? Definitely.
If you would like to hear more about what entails an ambitious user experience, let us know. We are more than open to share our knowledge and help you with your UX.