UX design is without a doubt one of the most powerful ways to make your digital presence more profitable. If you run a website for commercial purposes, better UX invariably means more customers. To understand why it can be helpful to ignore the noise and understand the underlying logic of user experience design.
“According to studies, every $100 invested in UX design while Mercury is in retrograde will increase user engagement amongst blond basketball players by 86.32%”
Digital marketing blogs are full of claims like those, apparently backed by hard data. And it’s not like the numbers are made up – not on the more reputable blogs anyway – it’s just that any study needs to be understood in context, and its methodology needs to be assessed.
It’s like when you read in the newspaper that too much coffee is killing you and the next day, it says your morning espresso will keep you going to 120. One week red meat is more toxic than cyanide; the next, an all-meat diet is the key to good health. Those studies aren’t wrong, exactly, but the data can be interpreted in multiple ways.
In other words, take every study with a large pinch of salt. Or don’t – it may or may not give you high blood pressure.
A better user experience. But what does better mean?
Now it really is the case that improving your UX design can make your business more profitable. We know this through hard-earned real life experience. We’ve taken countless underperforming websites and we’ve revamped them in ways that make them much more effective. We can’t give you neat number to quantify these improvements, because each business is different: they do different things and their goals are different.
In fact, thinking about those differences is ultimately the point of UX design. UX is not just pretty pictures or fast-loading pages. And it’s way more than clever menus and CTA buttons. Ultimately, UX design is a strategic discipline that encompasses a number of tools and practices to realise a set of digital goals.
More specifically, a talented UX designer is going to think very hard about what the user experience for a given website, app or other digital interface should be and, just as importantly, what that experience is supposed to achieve.
When you understand what UX means as a service, you can start to appreciate its commercial value. A UX audit is basically a digital business audit by a master strategist who also happens to be very good at Illustrator and CSS.
It can be helpful to illustrate the point with concrete examples. As you may know, studies show (sic) that if a page loads too slowly, nearly half of all users will simply abandon the site before it loads. In other words, potential customers will leave before you can even make your sales pitch. That’s a shocking data point, and the user experience lesson seems clear: do everything possible to make web pages load as fast as possible. Right?
All things being equal, sure. You want users to be comfortable. You want to lull them in and get them to breeze through the menu options.
But what about those times when you want to make it a little harder for users to find what they want. Maybe force them to give you something in return, possibly an email address. Or you want the next page to load a little more slowly to demonstrate how much computational power is involved in your comparison engine. Getting these things right is a fine balance. And it takes experience and constant testing to get as much out of users as possible without driving them away.
A good UX designer is going to look at the component pieces of a website or app and think: what exactly am I trying to achieve at each point and with the site as a whole? And if it’s not working, she’ll keep trying until she gets it right. If it is working, she’ll keep testing anyway to make it even better.
Of course, you don’t know what to test for unless you understand what a website is supposed to do. And what more it could be doing. Unless you have a keen sense of the extra value that can be achieved at each point of a user’s digital journey, without scaring them off.
Any half-decent designer can produce a beautiful website. But what is the beautiful website for? And is it beautiful in the right way? Because the data shows that websites that are beautiful in the wrong way are 17.932% less profitable.
Pixel Village makes beautiful websites. We’re obsessed with great design. We’ll admit, we’ve even argued with clients because they wanted designs that didn’t meet our high aesthetic standards. But we also appreciate that good design has to serve a larger strategic purpose.
Contact Pixel Village for a rigorous UX audit of your digital presence that considers your overall business goals strategically. We’ll help you finally achieve what you always wanted your website to achieve.