What is user experience design?

Putting the mindset and perspective of your customers at the heart of your ecommerce website is the key to unlocking growth for your brand.

By doing so, you will build empathy with your customer and quickly find yourself considering their point of view when making decisions about how you present your brand and how you create a suitable ecommerce experience.

And for the uninitiated, this is what UX design really is. It’s all about giving due care, attention and consideration to the perspective and emotional state of your customers, in order to create an ecommerce experience that is not only simple and intuitive, but also helps the customer to feel comfortable and supported on their journey.

So, let’s begin with the reasons why UX design is valuable for your customers, your brand and your business, and examine how good UX design can benefit each.

UX design concept image

Your customers

Your customers are a fragile bunch.

They get spooked easily – particularly where money is concerned – and generally don’t pay a huge amount of attention to the detail of what your website has to say.

They will, however, be subconsciously wide open to how your website makes them feel.

Recognisable logos, headlines that resonate, attractive visual branding and relevant products are all things that will encourage them to stick around in the first instance. This then in turn obviously increases the likelihood that they’ll move forward to purchase.

So if I have those things on my website… I’m all good, right?

Well no, not really. Once your customers have got past this initial hurdle and made the decision to engage with your brand online, it’s at this point that your user experience – or in this case your ecommerce experience – comes into play.

People are like water and will naturally take the path of least resistance.

Unfortunately, it’s highly likely that your website is getting many things wrong, all of which are creating resistance in the minds of your customers. Ultimately leading to them not engaging with your brand and not purchasing your products.

This is where the value of UX design really becomes apparent, and why it’s such an important part of your ecommerce experience.

If your marketing efforts have inspired your customer enough to make the jump and visit your ecommerce store, it’s your duty as a brand to support and guide them through the online experience to help them achieve what they set out to do.

Whether it’s purchasing a product, engaging with your content, or signing up to enter the latest competition, the value of UX design for your customers lies in their internal perception of the way your ecommerce experience makes them feel.

If you can be sure that your ecommerce experience:

  1. displays quickly and correctly across multiple different devices,
  2. is enjoyable and inspires your customers to take action,
  3. clearly sets expectations for your customers about functionality,
  4. is simple enough to be used without having to resort to problem solving,
  5. communicates and guides your customers along their conversion journey, and
  6. extends a great customer experience beyond purchase with great after sales care,

then you will be clearly communicating to your customers that they matter to you, and reassuring them that you care about their experience enough to put them at the heart of your thinking.

Your brand

Whilst there are many standard ways in which we can quantify a user experience as being good – for example: speed, simplicity, security, trust and reassurance are all things that the average user expects to experience online – it’s those brands that go over and above to create suitable user experiences that truly represent their brand that will win.

The key word here is suitable. It’s no coincidence that well positioned and articulated brands tend to lend themselves to great user experiences, as it’s these brands who clearly understand how to differentiate themselves in terms of who they are, what they represent, and how that relates back to their target customer.

Given that the user experience takes place entirely in the minds of your customers, a suitable, well-executed user experience clearly represents an opportunity to re-assert and solidify the values of your brand in the minds of your customer every time they interact with your brand online.

Your business

As we’ve seen, UX design can benefit both your customers and your brand, so it’s abundantly clear that the main business benefits of UX design are:

  1. reducing friction in the customer journey which leads to better conversion and ultimately more sales in the short term, and
  2. re-asserting the positioning and values of your brand by creating a suitable and representative user experience, which builds brand equity in the long term.

In short, your customers are the ultimate source of all ecommerce revenue for your brand, so putting them at the heart of your thinking is always going to be great for business.

Though UX design is sometimes seen as a “dark art”, it’s clear that integrating UX design thinking into existing workflows and applying the correct UX design principles and methods can add huge value for brands with ecommerce platforms.

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