A business's website or app has the ability to leave a lasting impression on a customer -- and whether that impression is good or bad can depend on a lot of factors.
Because of web and mobile's potential impact, entrepreneurs have started to spend time and resources on improving user experience (UX). So how can you improve the UX of your website or mobile app?
What Is UX Design?
UX design focuses on the experience your customers have using your product. The "product" extends beyond the tangible good or service you're selling -- it includes the content you create to reach and interact with your customers before they've even touched your merchandise.
When developing a website with the user experience in mind, the goal is to escort your visitors through your business in a way that shows them exactly what you want them to see and understand at specific points in the buying process.
When tackling the user experience of a physical product, the goal is to offer a unique solution that corresponds with the need your user has in that moment. The product can then offer a new solution as the user's need changes.
How to Enhance the User Experience
The following answers are provided by the Young Entrepreneur Council (YEC), an invite-only organization comprised of the world's most promising young entrepreneurs. In partnership with Citi, the YEC recently launched #StartupLab, a free virtual mentorship program that helps millions of entrepreneurs start and grow businesses via live video chats, an expert content library and email lessons.
1. Taking a Consultative Approach to Improve User Experience
Our products require a lot of technical information that not every customer will have, so we are in the process of revamping our sales funnel to take a consultative approach to the sales process. It will create three distinct sales funnels that are based upon the customers' skill level: straight to shopping cart for professionals and a question/answer for novices.
2. Determining Calls to Action
We are always playing around with our call-to-action buttons or flow. In order to properly optimize, you need to first determine the number one action that you are optimizing for. For us, it's to contact us for more information, so everything we do in our design and UX complements that. Once you know what action you want a user to take, A/B test a few different approaches to see what works best.
3. Testing and Monitoring
We use screen capture tools like Inspectlet to see what people are doing on-site, host user-testing days where we can observe people using our website live and listen to them narrate their experience and pay attention to the metrics on our site. These three tactics tell us where people are having trouble, what their opinions are about the site and what they are doing numerically.
— Nick Soman, Decent
4. Implementing Responsive Web Design
RWD is a Web design approach aimed at crafting sites to provide an optimal viewing experience — easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning and scrolling — across a wide range of devices (from desktop computer monitors to mobile phones).
5. Tracking What's Hot and What's Not
We use Crazy Egg to track and understand what users do on our sites. Crazy Egg provides visual heat maps and scroll maps that show you where users click and what they do. We use this information to make changes on our sites that aim to increase conversions. Using this tool is a great way to add elements that improve a user's experience.
— Brett Farmiloe, Digital Marketing Agency
6. Making It Social
We're very intentional about making it easy for visitors to connect with us on various social platforms. We include links to our social networks on every page, not just for the heck of it, but because social networks are where visitors can interact and get an even better feel for who we are as a company and a brand.
— Tracy Foster, ONA
7. Trying Good Old-Fashioned Testing
There are many tools that allow you to improve the user experience of websites and apps, even to the level of watching videos of their mouse moving around on-screen. But nothing beats good old-fashioned in-person usability testing. We offer $25 gift cards to random people who come into our office and use our product for 30 minutes. This is almost always the most valuable 30 minutes of our week.
— James Simpson, GoldFire Studios
8. Avoiding Overwhelming Users With Data Entry
Inputting a bunch of crap into a thousand form fields before even using an app is awful. This is very common with business and enterprise software. We believe that business software doesn't have to stick, so we use a "drip" methodology for data entry. We ask users to input 30 bits of data over 30 days, rather than inputting 30 bits of data right now over 30 minutes.
9. Educating Consumers
The user experience itself is highly intuitive and the result of significant research and development in the early days. We now invest our time and efforts in consumer education and familiarizing users with a behavior that is still relatively new, and we are making some good traction here. We are also working on integrating our app more seamlessly with social media.
10. Using Customer Surveys
We employ customer service surveys and have constant communication between our customer service department and our tech team. Barton is a 100 percent online company, so it is critical that the purchase and fulfillment process runs smoothly. We take immediate action on any problems we find, and we continually split-test our website processes to make them better for our customers.
— Joe Barton, Barton Publishing
11. Interviewing Users
We use Mixpanel to send push notifications to our most active users and conduct interviews with them. These interviews help us understand how to segment our users and learn the precise value they derive from the app. This is hard to ascertain simply by staring at numbers and graphs in our analytics platforms, which is why qualitative feedback is a very important counterpart to quantitative data.
— Michael Simpson, DJZ
12. Optimizing Language Capabilities
Adding SaaS language translation and interactive audio/visual chat features is helping me improve website user experiences. Communicating with customers in their native languages builds credibility and brand loyalty.
— Joseph Yi, A Forever Recovery