What is UX and Why Should You Care

By on January 8, 2019

User Experience (often called UX design) is not a new concept—the first mention of it in its modern usage is from 1987—but in recent years it seems to be quite the buzzword in web design. Whereas content creation, graphic design and web development are all familiar to the average business owner, UX design and research can be a bit harder to get a high-level view of. However, gaining a basic understanding of the concept reveals the true importance of optimizing UX on every website, no matter how simple or complex.

What Does UX Mean for Businesses and Marketers?

UX is the abbreviation of User Experience. It can mean many things as a practice, but here’s a definition that’s tailored to business and marketing contexts:

UX exists at the intersection of an object (your website), the user (your customer), and the context (time, location, culture, atmosphere, etc.). A good user experience is one that the user finds intuitive, helpful, pleasant, and timely. It results in the user having a positive perception of the object (your site, and by extension, your company) and increases the likelihood of that user converting. UX can be quantified and therefore improved through research, but it can also be improved by applying patterns that are indicated by previous research to be useful.[1]

The Importance of Website Testing and UX

If you’re a business owner who needs a website, you may agree that UX seems important, but why should you potentially make room for it in your website budget? You’re already paying for web design work, and you may see it as the designer’s job to make things look nice and be easy to use. The truth is that a UX professional is part marketer, part designer, part project manager[2] and the key thing that differentiates UX design from these other roles is the emphasis on quantifiable testing.

When designing a website, designers take into account best practices that are typically based on generalized UX research, but that doesn’t mean they will always be the best choice for your particular website. The only way to find out if your website is optimally serving your customers is to test, test, test!

Where and How to Account for UX in Your Digital Projects

Investing in UX can lead to tangible ROI in the form of increased resource downloads, demo requests and more. And, best of all, UX can be implemented within a range of budgets. Here are some examples of how to include UX research, design, and testing into a website project, organized by project stage:

Strategy Stage

Conduct user interviews to find out if the goals you think are important for your new site are what your users actually want.

Construct user stories to guide the overall flow of the website.

Conduct research on your existing site to quantify current UX successes and failures.

Wireframe & Design Stage

Map out user flow through site, taking into account users at different stages of the buyer’s journey and different use cases.

Create wireframes to refine the high-level structure of the site.

Research and incorporate current best practices into the design to set the project up for success.

Conduct user testing to find which design options are more appealing to the customer base and why.

Development Stage

Optimize performance of the site to prevent user frustration, which leads to poor UX.

Conduct user testing to ensure the site flow is intuitive and offering the correct information at the correct times.

Post-launch & Continuous Improvement Stage

Use analytics tools, heatmap tools, session recording tools, etc. to acquire data on how users are interacting with your site.

Run A/B tests, comparing the levels of success of elements like variations in form and button design, placement and functionality, to uncover new optimizations.

Define a schedule for redoing specific UX research tasks such as user interviews, user testing, new customer stories, etc. to keep your site optimized—and make sure to stick to it!

Tracking Your UX Success

Once implemented, the success of any of these UX interventions can be tracked by watching conversions or other quantifiable metrics, allowing for precise adjustment and further improvement of your website.

Ultimately, the result of having a website with good UX is that users will feel your brand is trustworthy, which can lower barriers to customer conversion.

As a full-service marketing agency, we consider many UX design and research items a necessity and will include them in web design project proposals. That’s not always the case with all agencies, especially if they believe UX begins and ends with a website designer. If you’re ready to get serious about improving the UX of your website, let’s talk!

[1] https://uxdesign.cc/we-have-lost-track-of-what-ux-actually-means-8d55259dacb0

[2] https://careerfoundry.com/en/blog/ux-design/the-difference-between-ux-and-ui-design-a-laymans-guide/

About Ridge Marketing

Ridge Marketing is an agency that specializes in crafting creative digital assets and using websites, search, advertising and email to ensure that the right prospects interact with your brand and become loyal customers.