In a world full of digital products and unprecedented competition, user experience (UX) has become a key factor in how companies do business. No longer is customer experience something that happens without input, it’s integral to business success; the fact is that businesses need to not just meet, but exceed customer needs. User experience design has become one of the most important factors in determining a business’s market share, customer satisfaction and customer retention. The fact is that good UX means good business, it simply makes sense.
What is User Experience Design?
While the focus of user experience is often digital screen design, it actually refers to so much more. User experience encomapasses all aspects of the end user’s interaction with a company, its services and products. That is why user experience design should be a prominent component of business strategy; it’s integral to every customer interaction, both digital and real-life. What’s more, emerging technologies such as augmented reality, virtual reality and voice-activated devices are creating opportunities to extend the user experience even further. User experience encompasses how a person feels about using a system or product and that in turn affects how they feel about interacting with your businesses. The aim is to provide an experience that leaves users feeling satisfied and engaged and removes anything that is frustrating or confusing.
What Constitutes Good UX?
A good user experience shows customers that you care and drives engagement with your brand. However, to achieve all the benefits, UX design needs to be:
- Dedicated – good UX isn’t a one-time event; it’s an ongoing journey and part of a business’s long-term strategy. If you show a commitment to UX, then your customers are more likely to show a commitment to you and your brand.
- Data-led – every strategy needs to be backed up by data such as customer interviews, surveys, behaviour patterns and more. This should always come above opinions, experience and intuition; these can never be assumed to be a reflection of how customers truly feel.
- Monitored – every interaction with your customers should be monitored, tracked and analysed; only then gain a comprehensive view that delivers a true insight into customer preferences.
- Integrated – UX needs to be second nature, not an afterthought. Early adopters of UX strategy have an opportunity to gain an all-important competitive advantage.
The Business Case for User Experience
Embracing UX strategy can be the difference between success and failure for a business. All you have to do is think about how companies such as Facebook, Google, Amazon and Airbnb have used innovation and a user-centric approach to propel them towards global success. Meanwhile, companies such as MySpace have been left in their wake. The fact is that companies lacking effective digital customer experiences find themselves with lower customer satisfaction, less repeat business and reduced revenue. Businesses who have established UX design as a pivotal element of business strategy, on the other hand, have succeeded in transforming followers into fans that aren’t simply customers, but true brand advocates. Ultimately, if you don’t provide a customer-centric experience, your competitors will.
To further showcase the business value of user experience design, consider the following benefits:
- Increased revenue – businesses that have genuine empathy towards their users and satisfy their needs will see a natural increase in the sale of their products and services.
- Greater customer satisfaction – designing experiences that satisfy customers is the ultimate goal of user experience design.
- Improved customer retention – it’s far more expensive to acquire a new customer than it is to keep an existing one; improving the user experience is fundamental to retaining customers.
- Increased brand loyalty – with the continued growth of social media platforms, the experience of the customer is likely to overtake price and product as the leading brand differentiator.
- Reduced costs – when user experience isn’t considered upfront, a huge amount of development time can be spent reworking avoidable faults. It’s much more cost-effective to consider user requirements before development begins.
- Enhanced collaboration – user experience requires collaboration between diverse departments. When user-centric design is a shared responsibility, siloed functions can be reduced and greater productivity achieved.
The Challenges of UX Design
Despite the trend for user-centric design, many organisations remain sceptical about the investment and aren’t focusing on their end-users during project development.
Often, the difficulty is ensuring key stakeholders understand both the short and long-term benefits of UX to the business. While you can gain a holistic view of your customers and have everything you need to deliver an engaging experience, you also need a unified approach throughout the business. To deliver user experience, you need to transform company culture, processes and interactions. It’s vital to engage not just senior leadership, but key stakeholders from IT, sales, HR and more. This will enable a truly integrated, cohesive approach that delivers unrivalled value and the return on investment needed to justify the business case for UX design.
Can UX Developers Add Value to Your Business?
The field of UX design is vast and impacts every organisation in the world. The reality is that no business can avoid the importance of good user experience. UX designers can add value to your business in tangible and intangible ways. First and foremost, with the right UX developers on your side, you’ll achieve a better return on investment for your digital products. However, you can also gain a more in-depth understanding of your users, establish brand value, build a competitive advantage, create a culture of design thinking and break down barriers between the physical and digital sides of your business. All of these factors can add significant business value, which makes UX developers an extremely wise investment.
As our digital and physical worlds merge further, UX design is more relevant to businesses than ever before; experience will be the one thing that holds everything together. Focus on user experience as a key part of business strategy, and your business will be setting itself up for future success.