When your website serves as the primary face of your brand, the user experience can make all the difference in forming brand perceptions and in earning (or failing to earn) customer loyalty and support. A brand’s site is the communications nerve center, supplying resources for product discovery, customer support, access to the brand’s community, and/or perks for dedicated enthusiasts.
The critical importance of the online user experience (UX) demands that special attention be paid to every aspect of the experience, including the interface, content and technical delivery. These need to be tailored to win over your visitors by providing ease-of-use and by demonstrating an accurate understanding of the visitors and their needs, while maintaining consistency with your core brand propositions.
Here are four key points to keep top-of-mind when optimizing your website’s UX to drive value for your customers:
Every Touchpoint Matters
Take a strategic approach to UX that is rooted in business strategy, technology and design. While each of these departments could exist in parallel, their close integration is what ultimately defines the experience your brand should seek to create. In other words: It is not just how things look, but how they perform for both the business and the audience that's critical to customer experience success.
Take a macro view of the entire interaction -- product features, customer service, ordering -- to ensure that all touchpoints work seamlessly as one to deliver the right experience for the user.
UX and Content are One
A positive UX depends as much on content design as it does on interaction design -- and with good reason. Customers are hungry for content that provides value at each step in the decision-making process.
Traditionally, companies tended towards push-marketing, with internal focuses and messaging driving the content. Consumers today, though, are taking a closer look at how the product or service integrates with their lifestyles and their specific needs. That entails delivering content that cuts through the noise and delivers greater value as determined by the target audience.
Creating this content in more effective ways must be a continual process. In digital, the UX is highly trackable and should be quickly analyzed for things like changing buying behaviors or content gaps. This way, content can be continually adapted to new needs and optimized over time.
Aim For the Middle
With content and UX so closely associated with each other, we’re often seeing companies struggle with the right mix of content. In some cases, it’s too high-level, too vague or too hyperbolic in approach. In other cases, it’s too detailed, denoting every feature and functional minutia of a product, when a potential customer’s attention should be elsewhere.
We’ve often found greater success with a mid-level storytelling approach geared toward providing the right story told at the right depth (and at the right moment) to deliver greater value to the visitor. Stories are better remembered and even more likely to be shared -- so think about the story behind your products, services and brand, and get that in front of your audience.
Audiences are easily overwhelmed by filtering through excessive written information, data sets, comparison charts, etc. To combat UX fatigue, try to make visual language a main component of the online customer experience though the use of more engaging content like interactive infographics, highly visualized whitepapers, original video series and vibrant image galleries.
Generally speaking, flatter design and a less-is-more mentality will prevail. And not being a "designer" isn't an excuse -- there are plenty of tools (like Canva.com) that will make you look like a pro.
The goal of your UX strategy is to let current and potential customers easily process your brand’s site and find the experience they came there hoping to receive. To that end, remember to take an integrated view of your customer experience touchpoints, and pay diligent attention to bolstering each. Treat the visitor’s experience as a content experience, and deliver content in the “Goldilocks zone” of straight-up-the-middle storytelling with valuable takeaways for all. Communicate simply and visually wherever possible.
Positive feelings about your site are synonymous with positive feelings about your brand, and this puts your audience well on the way to becoming your customers and advocates.