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Econsultancy’s updated User Experience Buyer’s Guide lists 23 suppliers of user experience services, and expounds the current trends in the market.

And guess what? User experience is as topical as ever.

Business transformation is increasingly design-led, delivering value to customers with great customer experiences, across multiple devices, with emerging technologies such as responsive design and HTML5.

Econsultancy’s own Modern Marketing Manifesto sums up, thus:

We believe that improving the customer experience must be the relentless focus of modern marketing. We believe this is key to customer satisfaction and loyalty. 

Customer experience is about customer centricity as evidenced by the service or product that we deliver across channels. It is about respecting the power and importance of great design.

So in this post I thought I’d briefly cover some of the main trends, with some sound bites from featured agencies, and allow you to leave your own feedback on user experience below.

Industry thrives as companies focus on user experience

Each of the companies profiled in the new buyer’s guide has indicated positive projected growth for 2013.

The Econsultancy User Experience Survey Report, 2013, in association with WhatUsersDo found that:

For companies that are currently conducting user experience testing, the majority (54%) were spending either no money or less than £10,000 per year in this area. However, 49% stated that they were planning to spend more on user experience testing over the coming year, compared to just 8% who planned to reduce budgets.

This is a clear indication of the continued importance of user experience, and the growth of the market. 

Companies create value through great customer experiences

Tom Wood, Partner at FoolProof highlights:

A few are beginning to view user experience as the discipline on which to build long-term competitive advantage.

Looking at this quantitively, a survey from Oracle in December 2012 showed that 40% of respondents would be willing to spend more with a company if they improved the overall customer experience, rising to 81% of consumers in Western Europe and 90% of UK respondents.

Great customer experiences is becoming less of a choice, taken by so-called ‘experiential’ service providers, and more of a customer expectation.

Audience fragmentation highlights the need for cross-platform integration and mobile

Liana Vickery, Marketing Manager UK at eDigital Research, explains:

Multiscreen households with smart TV’s, iPads, laptops, smartphones and the regular home PC are adding to the complexity of purchase journeys.

For those companies with a mobile site or app, there’s a lot at stake.

The Econsultancy Reducing Customer Struggle Survey, 2013, in association with IBM Tealeaf, revealed that ‘the proportion of respondents who say that mobile accounts for more than 20% of their traffic has more than doubled in the last 12 months, from less than a fifth (17%) in 2012 to 41% this year.’

Companies increasingly favour agile processes and in-house teams

Chris Rourke, User Vision, tells us that this is affecting ways of working.

[The] ability for an agency to be ‘agile’ to fit with more ‘lean’ development processes. This requires less reliance on wordy usability testing reports and more of an emphasis on creating prototypes to guide the front end development iteratively.

As digital becomes more important, and, along with it, user experience, there is a trend for bigger companies to have UX staff in-house. This of course comes with the challenge of objectivity, which is often one of the reasons companies bring in an agency to collaborate.

Established techniques lower barriers to conversion rate optimisation

According to Paul Rouke, Head of Usability and Conversion, PRWD,

We are finding amongst our clients that there is an increasing focus on delivering measurable improvements. More than ever it is possible to tie user experience improvements to a company’s bottom line due to the growing adoption of testing programs.

Conversion rate optimisation continues to merit mention in the trends section of the buyer’s guide, as new technology, e.g. behavioural targeting software that can be managed from the marketing department, becomes cheaper and easier to use.

A/B and multivariate testing is getting easier to manage and powerful and often free-to-use analytics software means optimisation at some level is hard to ignore.

What are your thoughts on the evolving role of user experience? Let us know below... 

Ben Davis

Published 1 July, 2013 by Ben Davis @ Econsultancy

Ben Davis is a senior writer at Econsultancy. He lives in Manchester. You can contact him at ben.davis@econsultancy.com, follow at @herrhuld or connect via LinkedIn.

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Comments (2)

Pete Williams

Pete Williams, Managing Director at Gibe Digital

User experience should be seen as investing in sales. Remember the experience that Dixon's use to deliver in-store before they ultimately collapsed? It was uniformly awful! spotty teenagers on minimum wage who didn't or couldn't help you.
That old brand, Apple showed how you could make money from electronics on the high street and the same rules apply to online.
Our experience shows us that clients that are willing to invest small amounts of money £10-15K per annum can dramatically improve sales through UX testing and revision.

about 3 years ago

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Max Eaglen

There is no doubt that customer experience continues to be as important as ever. What we are finding is that the customer has evolved becoming more brand savvy as they form their opinions from the overload of commentaries, reviews, posts, tweets, blogs and other information available to them. The real challenge today is for brands to adapt to this changing consumer and integrate their brand messaging across all the different platforms available to ensure that the customer experience continues to be consistent and coherent.

about 3 years ago

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