UX is, in its most basic form, a purposeful strategy aimed at putting the user first. This is done throughout the processes of developing, manufacturing, selling, and then using a product. In other words, its primary objective is to get inside the user’s head.
Good UX does this by focusing on the value that it provides to the end-user. As Peter Morville’s User Experience Honeycomb demonstrates, this can be done by focusing on things like a product’s:
All of these factors work together to point you towards providing the ultimate value through a UX experience tailor-made for your clients and customers.
Why UX Is Instrumental to Business Growth
It’s easy to criticize over-prioritizing UX as a utopian fantasy aimed at providing whatever the customers demand, regardless of the internal goals and focus of your company. However, the truth is, when properly integrated and executed, UX absolutely is beneficial to a company’s bottom line.
This is true for multiple reasons. From the earliest stages of design through to the post-sale follow-up, UX can streamline your activities, increase customer satisfaction, and boost your company’s reputation and sales. Let’s briefly go through how good UX positively impacts each stage of business.
Product Development and Design
The benefits of UX throughout the product development phase are abundant. A thorough grasp of customer needs allows design teams to create with greater confidence. This, in turn, yields superior results, which naturally reduces the risk of a product failing and can help with everything from creating a good pricing model to increasing customer loyalty and edging out the competition.
Taking the time to consider the desires of users during the research and development stage requires putting yourself in their shoes, so to speak. This can be done by gathering data wherever possible through user research, product testing, and both voluntary and requested feedback. Don’t just aim for data “in bulk,” either. Make sure to actively listen as you sort through each piece of customer feedback and criticism.
It’s also helpful to attempt to put yourself in the consumer’s mindset as well. Empathy mapping is a powerful tool for this that involves creating a visual map that enables you to capture a better understanding of the behaviors and attitudes of the end-users themselves.
The next step in the UX-centered process is creating a purchase experience that prioritizes users, from their first discovery of your company right on through to the moment they make a purchase. One of the most important ways to do this is via your company’s website. Designing a site with the user’s experience in mind is a critical part of maintaining profitability. This starts with basic functionality. If users cannot seamlessly navigate through your site and find what they need, you might as well wrap up shop now.
Even once your site is functionally acceptable, you don’t want to stop there. You should also take into consideration modern website trends and carefully consider your layout, color scheme, font choices, etc. If you want to shoulder out the competition and develop a loyal customer base, your ultimate goal should be a website experience that is genuinely enjoyable.
While many factors go into good website UX, there are a few bigger considerations that are always important to keep in mind along with basic function and design. As previously mentioned, navigation is key. If customers cannot naturally find what they need, you’re going to have problems. In addition, responsive web design — that is, ensuring that your site will adapt to customers’ devices — is crucial. Implementing cutting-edge AI in order to help interact with, study, and learn about your customer’s online experience is another UX option that is growing in popularity, as well. Do your best to make sure your website is as UX-friendly as possible.
Of course, most savvy entrepreneurs know that a good relationship with a client doesn’t end with the sale. If anything, that is a perfect opportunity to begin a long-term relationship to foster customer loyalty — something that is naturally much easier to attain when your products and selling platforms are already user-friendly.
Email lists and social media are excellent ways to keep in contact with larger customer bases. If you operate a B2B business with a smaller sales volume, you may want to develop a more thorough account management approach. This allows you to focus on nurturing client relationships in order to retain business and build towards future opportunities.
Either way, maintaining contact after a sale allows you to foster a positive brand image to existing clientele, as well as promote a future product or service offerings. In addition, it can also provide a source of product feedback that can come directly influence research and development.
Utilizing UX to Grow
From product development planning through the selling stage and on to follow up efforts, integrating UX into your business strategy is a key to sustainable growth. No matter what line of business you’re in, putting the customer first is a clear-cut recipe for success that enables your company to establish itself and then grow on a foundation of happy, loyal customers.
Dan Matthews is a writer with a degree in English from Boise State University. He has extensive experience writing online at the intersection of business, finance, marketing, and culture.