What’s the first thing that comes to mind when you think about User Experience?
User interface? Software usability? Website design?
Sure, these are aspects of a user’s digital experience, but in today’s world, user experience (UX) cannot be limited to just digital. UX is inextricably linked to the overall customer experience.
Recently we invited user-experience guru J Cornelius, CEO and president of Nine Labs, to discuss this evolution. We all agree that just as living the brand message extends beyond the marketing department, so, too, has user experience extended beyond the domain of the web design and development.
Forrester research on how customer experience drives customer loyalty found that 97% of consumers’ purchasing decisions were influenced by on an online experience, and 89% would switch to a competitor if their experience is poor.
To drive customer loyalty and brand attachment, a positive user experience must be part of every interaction a consumer has with your brand.
Apple, the world’s most valuable company, is renowned for its stellar design and product UX. But, even for Apple, pretty design and good aesthetics alone aren’t enough. The brand story is aligned across the organization and incorporated into every aspect of the user experience. From hardware to software, applications, and in-store experience, the simplicity and clarity of Apple’s design is intertwined throughout the whole customer experience. In their stores, laptop screens are adjusted to a recommended angle that causes a glare, so prospective customers have to adjust the screen to see it. This multi-sensory experience increases buyer interaction with the products and helps evoke a sense of ownership pre-purchase. Apple’s consistency in user experience increases brand attachment.
When Ugly Web Design Is Good User Experience
Have you ever wondered why some of the highest converting websites have the ugliest designs? Think about Craiglist, eBay, or the Drudge Report.
As J Cornelius pointed out, a fatal flaw in most current website design thinking is being pretty doesn’t always make you the most popular. His example of practical over pretty when it comes to meeting the need of the customer is FoldingChairs4Less.com: inexpensive, being crystal clear about their brand story, and making the user-experience easy.
Customer Discovery Increases Revenue
“I’m not here to enter into a relationship. I just want to buy something.”
Don’t rely on your own assumptions. A classic example of how costly acting without customer insight can be is the $300 Million Button. A major online retailer assumed that shoppers would want to expedite future purchases, so users were prompted to register before completing a purchase. After conducting usability tests, it became evident that the assumptions were affecting sales by nearly $300M.
…and Decreases the Likelihood of Failure
No brand wants its product to end up like the Amazon Fire phone, now discontinued and selling for less than a dollar. Originally designed to compete with the iPhone, the Fire flopped because customers didn’t want it—Jeff Bezos did. The reason for the phone’s failure became clear once internal stakeholders started being interviewed.
“In essence, we were not building the phone for the customer- we were building it for Jeff”
Knowing your buyer personas and understanding the customer journey of each persona is essential when preparing your user experience strategy.
Validate all assumptions, even the CEO’s, by talking to customers. Master your 6-Second Brand Story and, remember, every encounter a consumer has with a brand is a unique opportunity to win or lose revenue.
If you want to be a transformational CMO, it’s your responsibility to make sure user experience is designed around the customer’s entire experience. After all, the value of improving your consumer’s experience with your brand can pay dividends.
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Photo Credit: baldiri
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