You may have heard the term “User Experience (UX)” recently and are probably wondering what it means and if it matters for your small business. The short answer is YES. It is extremely important that you take UX into account when evaluating the effectiveness of your company’s website. Though it can be a bit complicated (and seem quite technical), we’ve simplified it here to help you gain a better understanding of what it is and, more importantly, why it matters to you.
A History of UX
Today, we tend to hear UX as a term describing the research, testing, and development of digital products. However, it has been practiced for decades (centuries really) and started with a simpler idea in mind. Think about the light switch. How many light switches do you interact with in a given day? How do you know how to use them? Or which switch goes with which set of lights? Sure, some of you may say that a lot of it is trial and error, but in reality there was a lot of work that went into how this system was created (and I’m sure all you electricians out there are thankful for that!).
Years ago, there was someone who spent the time to research, test, and understand how users would interact with these objects. They took the time to figure out that it was easy for users to associate the up and down motion of the switch with on and off. This, in the most basic form, is user experience. Though it has evolved over time, UX is the study of users and how they interact with things. Thus, UX does apply to your website, no matter how small or large your business is. UX can be considered in anything, but consider the following: objects (e.g. doorknob), experiences (e.g. your kid’s Wii), and platforms (e.g. Facebook or Angie’s List).
What Does that Mean for My Small Business?
So, you may be wondering what this has to do with you. Though this is some really interesting information, why does it have an affect on your small business? Time News recently published an article showing that 55% of users spend fewer than 15 seconds actively on a web page. This means that for over half of your users, you have 15 seconds to grab their attention, portray the services that you offer to them, and convince them to choose your company. Let’s be honest, that’s not very much time at all.
With such little time to engage with your user, it is vital that you take advantage of your ability to shape the experience they have. Gone are the days when a scrolling page of text with mountains of information is what counted. Today, users are looking for much more than information; they’re looking for an experience. This is where UX comes into play. If you’re not taking the time to consider how your user progresses through the information on the page and what pieces of information will connect with different users, then you’re doing yourself a disservice.
When crafting a website, it’s important that each piece of information is placed on the page with a specific reason. Making a button yellow because it happens to match your logo and centering it on the page isn’t good enough anymore. You have to think about how that color contrasts with the other elements on the page, if the location of the button is logical with the content present in that section and whether or not the wording is engaging enough. Even if you get engage a user for more than 15 seconds, the likelihood that they will stay long enough to read through all of your content is very low. So, we have to make sure that the most important pieces of information stand out and are readily available for them to find.
It can be overwhelming to take a step back and really evaluate the website that you currently have. Over time, they become a part of our identity and it can be a little scary to think about making that big of a change. However, it’s important to keep in mind how fast the internet is changing and evolving. What was new and exciting two years ago is now basic and outdated. Google processes over 3.5 billion searches per day, which shows you just how actively we are using the internet. Users want an experience and if they don’t find it with you, they’ll find it somewhere else.
There’s a fine line between building an experience that engages users and one that overwhelms them. Luckily, we have a team of trained experts who are here to help you understand those ins and outs. Take a few minutes to look at your website and really think about whether or not you’re giving your users a simple, engaging experience that makes it clear what you want them to do (pick up the phone or contact you online). Would you call your company if you spent just 15 seconds on your site?
Not convinced that your site is doing what it needs to or just unsure of where to start? Let us know how we can help you improve your site’s user experience and increase conversions for your business.
About The Author: Bethany is a digital designer at Blue Corona. She was an a capella singer in college and loves to bake. In her spare time, she loves to visit her twin sisters' sons who were born one day apart!
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