What is UX Design?
User Experience Design, or UX Design for short, is a hard thing to describe. If you were to ask 5 UX Designers what UX Design is, you’d get 5 different answers. The way I see it is is that it provides solutions to addresses the experiences a customer will have with your product/brand/service, and to try make those experiences better.
Now you have a vague understanding of what UX Design is, why is it important? Here’s why I think it is. Making the user experience better is important because customers experience your brand via the product and by delighting your customers you will see more sales, more repeat purchases, retention and less wastage on marketing. Interested? I thought so.
How do you create better customer experiences?
To create experiences that leave your customers delighted, you have to successfully solve their problems. Solve them and a customer is happy, remembers your brand and comes back. Don’t solve the problem, customer goes away and tries something else next time.
Succeeding is easier said than done.
You have to know a lot about your customers to make assumptions about their needs, which is what you need to do to solve their needs. Understanding your customer involves talking to them, asking them questions, looking at data, trend mapping and much much more. Integrating UX design into a business is difficult because it’s not about surveying customers, learning, making some changes and seeing how it changes things. Well it is, but it isn’t. The challenge is really about creating an environment of experimentation and measurement.
Luckily there is a well established process that helps define how to get closer to a good user experience. Unluckily because there is a process it can be very different depending on what you are trying to do, which is why I’m sharing my knowledge of UX Design for Ecommerce. And because different solutions require a different outcome I’ll start off by talking about a key feature of Ecommerce – search.
Search is important because it’s the way the majority of internet will start their journey. For the most part we have Google to thank for this, but we can also blame them for raising the expectations of relevant search results – Google is very good at providing relevant search results for the search term. What I’m trying to say is, when a user is looking for something, the go-to behavior is to search for it, which means if you have an Ecommerce site, you’re search better provide relevant results.
Search on Ecommerce – A UX Perspective
At Fontera the developers search module of choice is Solr search, which is a highly customisable, feature rich solution. But how do you know what to turn on, and what to turn off? A good place to start is to ask, what are your customers searching for? If you sell 2×4 widgets on your website, and a customer searches for a 2×4 widget and your 2×4 widgets don’t show up on your website the chances of a customer buying your product and coming back for more are greatly diminished. Mainly because your customer is going to get distracted by the latest funny/cute/jumping/grumpy cat.
How do you make your Ecommerce search smarter?
Analytics are a great place to start. If your analytics are installed and set up correctly, you should be able to get some pretty decent insights within a few minutes. Metrics like search terms that are being searched the most, which search terms bring in the most revenue and which search terms are commonly misspelt are a good place to start. By looking at this data, you can determine if your search is catering for the majority of important searches or not.
Analytics are not the be-all and end-all, also try do some user testing. Put a customer (or three) in front of a computer and ask them to try to find an item by using the built in search. Film the process, try not to help them and take notes. See where the customer gets stuck and what frustrates them. If you ask questions during the process don’t ask suggestive questions that might skew the outcome.
Acting on what you’ve learned
Once you’ve learned what you can do to improve the customer experience, you will need to implement changes. This will depend on how your workflow is set up, bit if you’re working in sprints, you will need to prioritise how much impact the changes might make against how hard they are to implement. Then schedule them accordingly.
Once you’ve made the changes you’re going to need to see if it has worked, or if you need to change your assumptions and do another round of UX Design.
For this kind of thing to thrive, it requires an environment of experimentation and measurement. You have to ask the right questions, get the right data and experiment with changes. The process works well when integrated with sprints and prioritised by projected impact.
Have fun and thrive.