Interactions with a brand or organization are becoming more complicated, dynamic, and nuanced. Not only do today’s customers browse via multiple devices and platforms, they do it simultaneously. A customer may start out shopping via mobile, for instance, and then check out or pay via a home computer or desktop. Alternatively, customers also might start shopping on mobile, yet choose to pick up the items in-store and in-person.
Right now, you’re probably asking what all of this has to do with user experience (UX) and customer experience (CX) design principles. The answer is everything. Your job is to optimize these experiences across all channel so the journey is both seamless and convenient. Whether you’re developing an official website, a mobile app, or omni-channel engagement systems, the end game is always the same. You need to ensure your audience and customers have an enjoyable time the whole way through.
It happens naturally. If your customers are both pleased and satisfied, they will likely offer repeat business or provide you with new business via word of mouth. Adversely, 88% of online customers are less likely to return to a site after a poor experience. 94% of a user’s first impression of a website is design related which reflects on the brand and organization.
Organically speaking, if you improve or optimize your UX and design processes, you’ll also boost sales simultaneously. The question then becomes not if, but how?
In this blog, I’ll show you six ways to boost your UX and sales simultaneously.
1. Accessibility Is a Requirement
Accessibility to all is crucial to the experience for your audience. That includes any age or disability as well. Make sure your digital storefront is both navigable and easy to use for everyone that can and will browse it. Chances are, you structured your website to be accessible using various technological improvements to make such a thing possible. Meta tags, alt text, and titles for images can be beneficial to customers who have vision issues, for instance, who cannot see the associated image. They might use voice dictation tools to narrate what they’re viewing, and those tools will read this information out loud. If you’re using video, make sure that it is closed-captioned for potential customers who are hard of hearing. Be sure to watch the video from start to finish to ensure accuracy.
It’s difficult to justify this in terms of general experience because most of the things you implement will largely go unnoticed by a lot of users. That said, the users that do encounter these features will not only be appreciative but will most likely offer repeat business.
Through Amazon’s design approach and directives, they did an amazing job at making their entire site accessible to all.
2. Content Is a Must
Gone are the days where you can get away with a flat or static website. Users now demand a substantial experience that can only be delivered through continuous content. You know that saying ‘content is king?’ It’s never been more applicable than now.
More importantly, you want to organize and parse your content so viewers can access what they want with little to no difficulties. This is done using a design element called a content silo. It’s a segmented or divided approach to site navigation as it relates to internal content. Think breadcrumbs, only for your blog or regularly published content. Internal links, which are just one element of content silo’ing, help encourage a free flow through your site and portals.
Need to see this in action? Look no further than the Buffer Blog.
3. Honor the Negative Space
Negative space is the empty area of a site between content, web copy, and design elements. This is also sometimes referred to as whitespace. This gives a nice break from the norm, especially on mobile. Sometimes you allow the background of your site to shine through, sometimes it’s actually white space. Whatever the case, progressive and appropriate use of this element can really beautify and optimize a design.
Deciding when and where to use it is best left up to creative minds behind the overall design. But sometimes a little whitespace can make an element or contextual option standout.
Olly Moss made remarkable use of negative space on his covers for the first-ever worldwide digital release of the Harry Potter books.
You can spend your time trying to guess or predict what your customers and audience will respond to most. Analytics make this easier, of course. Part of the concept is knowing what your customers want or need even before they are aware. In apparel, they use a combination of past data, performance and current trends to discern future opportunities.
While that route is important, there’s another way, which is simply just to ask. Deploy polls, questionnaires, performance info, and newsletters to find this out directly from your loyal users.
Be sure to ask them what they enjoy most about your site, or adversely what they hate most? Ask about their experiences, such as their best—or worst—times they used your site and channels. Really dig into what they want and how they feel about your brand and platforms. Most people are perfectly willing to share their opinions, so use that to your advantage to hone the customer journey.
5. Adopt Awesome Grids
Grid-based designs have seen a huge boom in recent years, if only because they work so well with modern systems and layouts. Thanks to an emphasis on depth perception, a well-designed grid system can make or break your site.
The 12-column grid that comes shipped with Bootstrap is fantastic, but not everyone relies on Bootstrap. There are also grid-based templates for WordPress, Drupal, and more. You can even work with CSS grids like PureCSS that have no ties to frameworks if need be.
Through CSS, you can do some pretty amazing things, like stacking these grids for “impossible layouts” as done by Morten Rand-Hendriksen.
6. The Fold No Longer Matters
For the longest time, one of the core principles of modern design was to cram everything important above or before the fold because it’s where users spend most of their time. The above the fold method is no longer necessary. When it comes to responsive and mobile design, users have no qualms with scrolling or navigating along a lengthy page design.
You still want to have actionable details in plain view, but that’s not necessarily the same as cramming everything above that pesky fold. Don’t put as much emphasis on this design principle anymore, as it doesn’t really matter.
UX Is the Holy Grail of Modern Design
While that title may seem sensational, it’s the honest truth. When it comes to modern design—web or app related—user experience is the end-all be-all to providing customers with a lucrative, efficient, and welcoming platform. No one wants to browse an app or website that makes them frustrated or causes them strife. That’s especially true for anyone browsing from a mobile device.
By adhering to the tips and concepts discussed here, you can ensure that the customer journey is at least convenient, if not outright enjoyable. That results in a win-win, where the customer is satisfied, happy to come back, and willing to offer repeat business; maybe even some free word of mouth advertising to friends and family.
What UX changes have you made recently? How might your UX strategy change after reading this post? I’d love to hear about your process in the comments.