What is this “UX Design” you speak of?
In recent years, UX (user experience) refers to how “user-friendly” websites or electronic devices are designed. However, the “user experience”, has actually been the focus of businesses since the invention of the wheel. People are constantly trying to improve old products, and invent new ones that make everyday life a little easier, more enjoyable, or more productive.
Inventors such as Davinci, Bell, Edison and Ford certainly changed our lives today with their inventions – with the intent of improving or enhancing our lives. Walt Disney was a true innovator when it came to enhancing the experience of the user. He was a master at using technology and innovations to instill a true sense of wonderment.
But I digress… “UX” Design is a more recent term that directly refers to the user experience in today’s technology. Steve Jobs’ created his empire at Apple by focusing meticulous attention on the user’s experience and interaction with their products.
Not only does Apple make the devices easier and more efficient to use – they make the user’s experience FUN! Make a product that people don’t want to live without – and a product that everyone else is trying to emulate.
Investing in UX Design is vital for any business that is technology-based, and has a measurable Return on Investment (ROI).
Websites are by far the most used technology today for online shopping. Consider these website statistics provided by The Akamai study, published in September 2009, which interviewed 1,048 online shoppers:
- 88% of online consumers are less likely to return to a site after a bad experience.
- Almost half expressed a less positive perception of the company overall after a single bad experience.
- More than a third told others about their disappointing experience.
- 64% of shoppers who are dissatisfied with their site visit will go somewhere else to shop next time.
- 40% will abandon a web page if it takes more than three seconds to load.
Based on these statistics alone, an investment in research and implementation of a better UX is extremely worthwhile. You will lose potential customers if the experience is frustrating to your audience.
The above statistics are referring to websites, specifically – but can also be applied to apps or other digital technology that immerses a user into their environment and allows them to navigate.
The return on investment
According to one study by Forrester the benefits of a good User Experience design can be extremely high. They estimate that by moving from a below-average customer experience to above-average would return an estimated $1.4 billion annual revenue for wireless carriers, $1.4 billion for Airlines, $494 million for insurers (up 61% from 2013), and $572 million for retailers (up 152% from 2013). Forrester once again concluded that there is a “high correlation between customer experience and consumers’ loyalty to a company”.
The same study estimated that Organizations and governments would spend an estimated $1 trillion on IT hardware, software, and services worldwide this year. As IEEE found, of all the development projects that are started, 5 to 15 percent will be abandoned before or shortly after delivery due to poor usability. This amounts to an estimated $150 billion lost.
Do your homework
There are various tools, techniques and methodologies available for developing and implementing a positive user experience. Research is the cornerstone of the entire process. You can’t create a positive experience for your potential customer without first knowing who your audience is – and targeted testing (and retesting) your designs and interactions with test groups that represent your customer demographic is vital to its success.
Polling focus groups for user feedback early on – and if possible, throughout the process – is far less costly than after you’ve lost customers, and the rewards can be great.
Hire a professional
UX is becoming as important to technology as the innovation that goes into it. If the end-user is frustrated when trying to use a product, website or device, it’s destined to fail. The UX design needs to consider all aspects of user interaction in order to be effective – and the return on investment is far greater than the losses you could experience if you don’t.
If your business is considering a launch of a new app, User Interface or a website redesign – be sure to include professional UX Design in the budget… you only get one chance to make a first impression!