The Importance of User Experience

As people spend more time on the internet, they expect the websites they visit to work in a certain way. Companies like Paypal and Duolingo set the bar high with simple search and navigation and great functionality. This puts pressure on all web developers to think about user experience (UX).

But wait, what even is UX?

User Experience 101

UX is a user’s experience of using a product. That sounds simple, doesn’t it? It’s the process by which designers understand what users want and need. They incorporate that information into product design to deliver greater user experiences—and that’s the complex part. UX is how a person feels when interfacing with a system. These systems can include websites, web applications, and any other form of human/device interaction.

This concept is not new. The term has been credited to Donald Norman, a cognitive scientist, who joined Apple as their User Experience Architect in the early 90s. His desire was to explore all aspects of a user’s experience. This included industrial design, graphics, and the physical interaction. He came up with the term “user-experience design” as a way of encompassing all that UX is. As he explained, “I invented the term because I thought human interface and usability were too narrow: I wanted to cover all aspects of the person’s experience with a system, including industrial design, graphics, the interface, the physical interaction, and the manual.”

The term has evolved since then and with the development of mobile and wearable technologies, UX designers are in increasing demand.

Why is UX Important?

So, is UX that important? Short answer: yes. Long answer: it’s important because it tries to fulfill the user’s needs. It aims to provide positive experiences that keep users loyal to a product or brand. More and more people conduct their daily business interactions online. Because of this, it’s never been more important to offer users an effortless digital experience that aligns with their daily lives. Users have come to expect an optimized user experience as a basic requirement. It’s now an essential practice strategy across all platforms and devices.

Being able to understand why customers come to a site and what they need works in favor of both the audience and the business, providing brands with the justification and avenues for optimized user experience. Designs built by focusing the user experience, allows companies to implement more targeted approaches throughout their market and digital environment.

Investing in UX optimization is necessary to quickly gain trust, brand recognition, and ensure user retention since many websites have just seconds to influence visitors. Understanding what methods to engage revolves around one thing: goals. Google’s HEART Framework is a valuable tool for any company in this quest. There are five metrics used in the framework: happiness, engagement, adoption, retention, and task success. The HEART Framework prompts users to choose the right UX metrics for a product – think of it as a cheat sheet.

Marketing and UX

UX determines the success of marketing.

Today’s consumers are smart, savvy, and want their needs delivered in an instant. Whether at a desk, on a bus, or at home, people like to access the internet for a variety of reasons; be that to check social media, to shop, or to find answers.

Marketers and UX designers each have a vested interest in understanding an organization’s target audience. Both are focused on developing a highly-granular concept of what’s irritating to buyers and users. Research is done to paint a clear picture. Marketers use that understanding to sell to the customer, while UX designers use it to serve the customer.

Marketing and UX designers are similar in the fact that they’re both interested in making a product as desirable to the customer/user as possible. While many marketers shrug off UX as an industry buzzword, they shouldn’t. The most successful marketers in the industry say that UX is the key to facilitating conversions. Besides facilitating conversions, UX also helps to earn customers’ trust.

As a whole, UX determines how a brand speaks to its customers and effectively delivers the message it’s trying to convey.

The goals of marketing and UX don’t need to be at odds. A company should always aim to serve the customer with what they’re selling. But at the end of the day, both teams will make greater strides toward those goals by working on them together.

UX Design Payoff

A meaningful user experience allows companies to define customer journeys through their website, anticipating customers requirements at every step along the process from prospect to customer. Plus, they can focus on how they interact with a website via any device or application. Isn’t that cool? Whether a website, app, or B2B tool, nearly every business with a digital presence can benefit from the process of UX design.

For more information on UX, check out this Roundpeg blog post.

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