How UX research can make a good product great
Aside from stepping in a puddle, there’s nothing more annoying than flailing about trying to find the search bar on a poorly-designed website. UX research could've easily prevented that.
It’s probably true that the designers of these clunky websites knew where the search bar was located. After all, they built the site and the whole thing made perfect sense to them. But that is precisely the problem with many modern sites. The layout made sense to the site designer, but it doesn't make sense to its users. No one researched what the average user might do when navigating the site.
Building an intuitive site is both a science and an art. The first websites were often giant and unreadable walls of text that appeared on a single page. If you were lucky, there was a handful of buttons that might have included a search bar somewhere at the top.
Since those early days of the internet, lots of lessons about “user experience,” or UX, have been learned. One of those lessons is that a poorly-designed website can directly impact the revenue generation potential of a business. Bad UX often had a single, dangerous outcome: if a person can’t find a product on a website, how can they be expected to buy it?
The invention of the “hamburger” drop-down menu button was a game changer for UX. It universalized where people could find more options. People responded well to this innovation and website designers started to notice. They realized that clean and intuitive UX can make the difference between a good product and a great product.
To understand why, it is important to drill into what UX is.
What is UX design?
UX design is the process of creating products that provide people with a meaningful, relevant, and flexible online experience. It refers to how people interact with a website, web or mobile application, or desktop software and how they respond to visual design and usability design.
Those are all very technical-sounding terms. But essentially, a good user experience means that a site is easy to use and enjoyable, while a bad user experience is complicated, confusing, and frustrating. UX is important because the way customers experience a product can dictate if they want to open their wallets or return to a company. It also influences whether they recommend a company to others. In other words, UX goes a long way in determining the overall success of a brand.
UX research is about making meaningful design decisions based on solid data. We create wireframes like these to convey the logic behind the product’s functionalities. As a sort of blueprint, these help us get better feedback faster and are great at communicating design changes. Pictured is an actual design wireframe from the Apollo Mobile App project, made by Adchitects.
Read more: What are UX/UI wireframes and why do we make them?
Why UX matters
Focusing on UX design means a company will be able to better understand its customers. This involves testing, gathering feedback, and fostering a user-first culture to reduce all kinds of costs.
Few people are better placed to discuss why good UX matters than the inventor of the term, Don Norman, who once explained the way UX should try to fulfill a user’s needs by building a better customer satisfaction–conversion–retention journey.
“No product is an island. A product is more than the product. It is a cohesive, integrated set of experiences. Think through all of the stages of a product or service — from initial intentions through final reflections, from the first usage to help, service, and maintenance. Make them all work together seamlessly.” — Norman said.
And there’s good data backing up Norman’s sentiment.
For example, according to Spiralytics, every dollar invested in building good UX brings a return of $100. That’s an impressive ROI of 9900%. On top of that, 72% of customers will tell six other people about a good user experience. Obviously, not every company will achieve similar returns, but gaining even a fraction of this success could drastically improve the bottom line.
A 2016 design study of 408 different companies found that when a company invested in design, sales tended to increase, customers stuck around, and its employees moved through product cycles faster. The crucial factor here was good UX design and putting the customer at the heart of the business.
Furthermore, Forrester Research showed that a well-designed user interface can increase the conversion rate of a website by up to 200% by making it easier for visitors to find what they’re looking for.
Check out: Redesign this page first to double your e-commerce conversion rate!
Advantages of UX research
Conducting research to understand who a company’s customers are, what problems they face, and how they prefer to interact with you are all key parts of designing a great website. Research by IBM found that the cost of correcting a mistake after a product hits the market can be up to five times more expensive than planning correctly during the design phase.
Virgin America, now part of Alaska Airlines, understood this when it set out to redesign the UX of its website in 2014. The most important addition to the company’s updated site was a full-screen single-scroll booking system which meant users could book flights twice as quickly as before and move faster to the checkout to purchase a ticket.
As a result, the airline’s incredibly responsive website generated a 14% increase in conversion rates and a 20% decrease in complaints or queries to customer service. After two successful quarters, largely due to the success of the website, Virgin America was able to launch an IPO. Its hard work researching what customers really wanted certainly paid off.
UX research allows a company to make better decisions based on data, not guesswork. As the wise understand, the only way to create a solution is to recognize how little each of us knows about what others want. Website designers least of all should never assume they know how other people go about their daily struggles and what their habits are.
Research starts with setting clear goals and asking the right questions. Only then can a design team decide on the methods of achieving those goals, such as surveys, interviews, analytics, tests, or many other techniques.
Once the research goals are understood, the next step is to learn who the target audience actually is and identify some of the characteristics of the average user and what they might need the site to do.
An experienced digital transformation agency will bring the value of working with a portfolio of clients from a range of sectors which means they can design and develop a website for all kinds of users. For example, a project for helping teachers in the classroom will require a deep understanding of the average teacher’s lifestyle, pain points, and goals. A solution for one niche may not be a suitable fit for another niche.
It’s the job of the project manager to keep this research on track. The design team is responsible for defining the end value of a website, thinking through its potential features, and understanding the logic that will govern the site. But every member of the design team has a role to play in creating the best possible UX – from the visual designer to the developers and even the testers.
Once a design plan is in place and a basic site functionality has been created, the site can then be tested with real users to see how they naturally interact with it and if there are glaring problems that need fixing.
A world-class UX design should reflect and address the user's expectations and needs. UX researchers will analyze your product’s target market, giving you the opportunity to verify your perception of your users. This also greatly helps pinpoint current design trends. Pictured is the Victoria Mobile App, made by Adchitects.
Get your UX right with Adchitects!
How do you increase your company's or business' effectiveness? How about having your website or app go through a comprehensive, data-based UX research & redesign transformation aimed at boosting your conversions and visibility? At Adchitects, we can take care of it.
We offer a simple and effective way to create digital products that you will fall in love with. We've already worked with plenty of industries, including e-commerce, fintech, retail, SaaS, education, and more. What's more, our creative and development processes are fully transparent, so you will always get what you need. We guarantee that your website will never go offline, and we’ll advise you on what steps to take to make your website a success.
Contact us today, and let's build your new digital presence together.