If a user has a negative experience while engaging with your brand, even if it’s just once, chances are they will never be back, and even worse, they are more likely to tell others about a bad encounter than they are to tell others about a positive one.
This is because people feel a sense of ownership when they recommend something, whereas when you tell someone something negative, it really doesn’t matter if their experience is different. Online decisions are made so quickly it’s hard to even calculate.
Savvy web users will click out of an off-putting website within seconds, never to look back. A website that has taken a digital agency months to develop and charged a client tens-of-thousands can be skipped through with one click, never to return, simply because there was a lack of breadcrumbs or certain pages took too long to load.
The good news is that when you do the research, the needed testing, and you hire a design firm committed to UX, you also have the opportunity to make new fans with each new visitor.
Some businesses such as online shopping sites, or other free services that rely on advertising and ancillary income generators, are completely dependent on positive UX to stay in business.
Traffic is everything for these kinds of businesses, and regardless of what business you are in, there is something to be learned here: UX cannot be ignored anymore if you expect to be in business this time next year.
Say what you want about beautiful people, we are all human and we can’t help but take a second look when we see someone truly beautiful.
The same could be said for a beautiful website: we can’t help but want to visit beautiful, well constructed, well thought-out websites—they just make us feel good when we visit and compel us to visit again soon.
We have enough struggles in our lives, raising kids, traffic, insane politicians—we don’t need our online experience to be another issue in our lives that requires our patience.
In fact, it’s because of our hectic lives that we have almost no patience for apps that don’t work and shopping carts that crash. We want these things to work perfectly, and we know if they don’t there’s about 1000 others to choose from that would gladly accept our patronage.
There was a time when you could develop a great product and let that product speak for itself, market itself, grow all by itself. This is no longer the case. Even behemoth brands know that one misstep and “number two” will replace them.
For a normal company, there’s just one lesson to be learned here: Treat your customers with respect and create engaging/memorable experiences for them that are easy to use and they will be back.
In a recent article we talked about why people are willing to pay more in an “Apple” environment versus a “Sears” environment; but the truth is, everyone knows this. However, what you may not realize is that not only are people willing to pay more, they will stay longer and therefore find more products and services to buy, and they will return more often.
Conversion Rate Optimization is really about making lasting connections that will ultimately increase your bottom line. Great experiences are like a drug; they create addicts willing to put up with things like high prices in order to get the “high” they have come to expect from your site.
Humans are a finicky species. We will put up with a lot when it comes to things that bring us joy or pleasure, but when shopping online or dealing with an Internet provider, we look at the world like a giant shopping mall—full of options, and full of competitors, all wanting our business.
This is why one bad experience will often send a customer into the arms of a competitor without a second thought. As service providers, we like to think we have developed a customer base that truly values our relationship, but the truth is, we are not family and if treated poorly our loyal patrons will often quickly break up with us in search of another BFF.
Even if your users are retired and have all the time in the world, they don’t want to waste the time they do have endlessly hunting around on website looking for the information they need.
Making the user experience something that is unexpectedly easy, and you just might have acquired a new loyal user, but don’t get cocky, this euphoria doesn’t last long. Each visit is a new test of your UX skills.
The good news is that with each new visit to your site, by a return visitor becomes an opportunity to solidify the positive impression you made on the last visit.
And if you keep this up, they may even withstand a few 404 errors before looking for a new option in your space.
No one said this was going to be quick or easy. However, to really do the UX design job right we need to know what we are dealing with, whom we are dealing with, what they need, and how to make them happy enough to make them come back?
This requires multiple levels of research, including internal and external audiences. (On a side note: this kind of research can also discover a lot about your team and their own struggles with serving your target market, which offers an immediate opportunity to correct some of your internal struggles/deficiencies.)
Building an engaging user experience is about understanding your audience on profound level. This understanding leads to messaging and content that recognizes your users, their needs and goals, and as an added bonus, shows that you respect them and their time.
What you may not realize or think of when you think of a design style is that the style you are developing is actually part of the language the site is speaking. In this way, developing a UX is like starting new conversation with a total stranger, or possibly a newly acquired friend that still has some reservations about you.
For example, when a user lands on a page that has a completely different look and feel from other pages on the site, whatever positive rapport you have gathered will quickly be dissolved as a new level of confusion sets in.
It may sound like an exaggeration, but changing styles mid-stream can feel like the site has suddenly changed it’s copy to a foreign language, and your users may not have planned on learning a new language today.
As development agencies get caught up in the evolving task of perfecting their SEO, it’s easy to forget that what we are really trying to do is to attract and retain our target audience visitors.
Attempting to somehow trick Google into increasing your ranking on their next update is not nearly as important as optimizing your site to create the most user-friendly site possible.
In other words, the number of visits is only one factor in your SEO, the visit time, and amount of clicks etc. are all a part of this puzzle, and the more pleasurable the experience you have built for your users the higher you will rank in their memory, and that is the real goal.
Knowing what is performing well on your site is critical, but understanding why is a matter of life and death. Analytics will give you the high-level numbers but understanding why more than half of certain page visitors only make it half way down the page requires a deeper dive. It could be disorganized content, confusing descriptions, inconsistent design, page length or a few dozen other things.
This is when a more personal level of testing is needed or even some kind of ethnographic research. Whatever software you choose to use for this deeper dive, and trust me, there’s a bunch of tools out there to choose from, you will no doubt improve the UX on your site, it’s inevitable but not easy.
This kind of deep dive will expose the nuance between your UX Design approach, your service or product offering, and your key messaging—or what we like to call the golden triangle of UX.
The best UX design in the world can only cover for a weak product or second-rate service for so long before it’s reputation will destroy it. Conversely, it won’t matter how good your product is if it’s hard to purchase and or even more difficult to find the key benefits.