Actionable user experience advice from the experts

The majority of businesses now have an online presence. This means that you are facing competition on all sides from other online competitors in your industry. Customer service is often cited as one of the key means of growing and sustaining your business, but it can also be used to help your brand stand out from your online competitors.

User experience (UX) is the holistic experience your existing and potential customers undergo when visiting your site. This can range from the way that your site looks to the usability and navigation of your site. If UX is done right you can streamline a customer’s visit, making what they need accessible and easy to find, as well as ensuring that their visit is an ultimately enjoyable experience.

If you want to find out more about how you can use UK to benefit both your customers and business, we have spoken with two industry experts who have shared their experiences and insights to provide you with actionable advice on UX.

First up we have advice from Simon Ensor, Managing Director of Yellowball. Yellowball is award-winning creative consultant agency based in Kent.

How do you define user experience?  

A good question, there seems to be some ambiguity around the difference between UX and UI especially since they are often used together! We define UX as the entire experience for the user from first impressions right through to completion rather than UI which is the method by which the user gets to completion (menu structure, user journey, website functionality). By nature therefore, UI is part of UX. We view UX as an all-encompassing term for the how the user feels about the brand. However, in regards to web or app design we often refer to UX as how it makes the user feel rather than their brand sentiments because it will have a big impact on their brand sentiments anyway!

In what ways do you help your clients with user experience?  

As a full service agency this can span from a more intuitive website structure and menu layout right through to consulting on their marketing strategies and engagement with both potential and existing customers. In regards to websites or apps we view the more specific User Interface as the foundations for good User Experience. Without a clear structure and user journey, each visitor is likely to become frustrated with the site and in our digital world this will have a negative impact on user experience.

What impact has “mobilegeddon” had on the future of user experience?

I do not think that the mobilegeddon Google update itself will change UX. It has only served to highlight how many websites are not mobile friendly.  The truth is that the real life mobilegeddon has already happened! Certainly the substantial increase in mobile devices being used to browse the web will have a considerable impact on UX design – in fact Ofcom just released a report that mobile devices are more popular than laptops for internet usage for the first time ever in the UK. We have seen a move towards more tile style layouts to fit with responsive design and shallower structures with larger call to actions. In essence, so that users can navigate more easily on mobile devices.

What simple steps can startups take to improve user experience for their customers?  

Identifying WHY people visit your website is critical in improving user experience, this should align with the overall aims or goals that you have for the site. This information or content should then be displayed in a clear and concise manner to the user and the process by which they reach their intended goal should be completed in as fewer steps as possible. Conducting user groups to get real life feedback on designs from potential customers, i.e. not someone who knows the product, is a crucial step in your due diligence in regards to UX/UI design. Validate your designs by asking your friends, family and contacts to give honest feedback because they will give you valuable insight into first impressions and overall UX.

Next we have insights from Jeanne Bliss, customer experience pioneer and author of Chief Customer Officer 2.0: How to Build Your Customer-Driven Growth Engine, a book that focuses on the transformation of customer experience in businesses.

How do you define user experience?

User/customer experience is the deliberate delivery of experiences to customers to improve customers’ lives.  It becomes the companies’ decision-making blueprint, guiding how the company unites to develop product, go to market, deliver services and support the customer as they are trying to achieve their objectives.

In what ways do you help clients with user experience? 

I work with the customer experience leader and the C-Suite to unite how the company builds their business…starting with customers’ lives.  We unite the organization in embedding five competencies that keep the company focused on earning the right to grow, by improving customers’ lives.  Those five competencies are: Honor and manage customers as assets Align around the customer journey, experience Build a customer listening path Proactive experience reliability and innovation  One-company leadership decisions, culture and accountability

What impact has “mobilegeddon” had on the future of user experience? 

Inadvertently, “mobile” has been built inside organizations as a separate part of the business. To customers, it is one way that they can interact with the company — and a path which they expect to be connected to all of their other interactions.  It is important that every channel is part of the overall experience delivered — mobile is one more cat to herd across the company — as the experience is architected and delivered.

What simple steps can startups take improve user experience for their customers? 

Start and be very clear about your higher purpose is supporting your customer’s lives.  Build a simple journey to start and get leaders from the beginning, talking about building experiences that focus on helping customers experience their objectives along each part of their journey. Know the emotions and needs and architect your experience to deliver memories that earn the right to the positive emotions, word of mouth and the right to growth.

Author Bio: Gareth Bull is the Director of Bulldog Digital Media. Bulldog helps SMEs drive sales and increase brand awareness through social media and organic SEO.