Digital Consultant & Director
UX encompasses every interaction a person has with your company. From a digital perspective, this includes every little thing from whether the website loads lightening quick or painfully slow, to whether the contact form was simple and seamless or cumbersome and clunky, to whether the colour scheme was suitably appealing or downright ugly. Will your website meet the precise needs of your customers, or will it embody the ‘spray and prey’ model of just delivering any old experience, and hoping to perhaps catch the odd sale or enquiry here and there? Delivering a quality user experience online is good for business, but it requires a lot of planning and attention to detail. It requires a lot of listening to the client and a lot of research. It needs to be done by a user experience professional and not just any old website designer who only knows how to make stuff look pretty.
In a nutshell you’ve two basic options when getting a new website; a custom website design or purchasing a template. On the surface using a template seems like a decent idea. What’s less obvious though is that templates are predesigned and thus you need to fit your business’ unique and most salient points in to a general purpose design. Is this one size fits all approach likely to meet the precise needs of your customers? And, templates have been partially coded, almost always very poorly. Because they’re poorly coded they’re often slow and clunky, riddled with bugs and over time end up costing a load more money from high development costs due to bug fixing and upkeep. On the contrary you’ve got custom website design which usually costs a little more initially, but as with anything of quality it tends to pay for itself many, many times over before long.
A couple of years ago mobile website overtook regular desktop websites in terms of their traffic and engagement. This had been predicted to happen for several years prior. So when it did happen, and in 2015 Google started rewarding responsively designed websites with better rankings in its search engine, the practice of designing and developing ‘responsively’ (so that the website ‘responds’ in format according to the screen its been viewed on) was already pretty well a part of any reputable web design agency’s toolkit. It certainly was in ours – we’ve been practicing responsive web design since 2012 – well ahead of the curve for web design agencies in the Asia Pacific region. Like all things digital, responsive web design has evolved and simply designing a smaller version of the desktop website isn’t acceptable now. The mobile website needs to be treated as an entirely separate entity to the desktop version. Which poses problems for some. But if it were easy, everyone would be doing it. Which means opportunity for those who confront the challenges.
The human mind is complicated, it really is. The psychology behind a person’s decision to buy something is oh such more than ‘this website has it what I’m looking for so I’ll buy it’. If you’re already in marketing or sales you know this. If you’re not, sales psychology is worth reading up on. E-commerce web design requires bundling as much of what we know about sales psychology, in to a user interface which rids a person of their doubts, assures them and ultimately guides them toward what can – for some – be a daunting decision to make a purchase there and then, or in the near future.
If you really want to stay on top in a digital world, your conversion optimisation efforts will be ongoing. For most mid-sized websites (e-commerce or non e-commerce) this probably means a couple or three usability reviews a year, while for enterprise websites (e-commerce especially) this typically means conversion optimisation improvements being made weekly if not daily. The best head start you can give yourself is of course starting business with an intelligently designed website, intent on meeting the precise needs of your customers with scalability in mind. But most websites aren’t beyond redemption and conversion optimisation of an existing website can make significant improvements to sales and enquiries.
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Toby Burrows - Digital Consultant & OwnerGet in touch →