Overrated or indispensable? The significance of a positive user experience

It is no secret that users or customers are becoming increasingly demanding these days. Why? Digitisation gives them a greater variety of options. Due to these heightened expectations, it is immensely important to provide them with the optimal user experience, because only then do they associate a company with positive emotions and, ideally, become an established customer.

What exactly is a user experience?

The user experience (UX) includes all user experiences related to the use of an application or a product. A concrete example would be: a young woman has been told by a friend about an online women's fashion store. She is curious, browses the wide selection, finds a great dress in her size, orders it and looks forward to receiving the delivery, and when the parcel is delivered to her doorstep, the dress fits her perfectly.

In contrast to the usability, which is only the concrete use of an application (in the example, surfing and ordering in the online shop), the user experience starts much earlier, with the brand‘s image and her associated expectations. It ends with a sense of contentment and, at best, emotional attachment when the user completes the process. The user experience quickly can also turn negative if, say, the dress was incorrectly displayed as available and is not actually in stock. The subsequent dissatisfaction and disappointment quickly destroy all positive associations.

While using a site, the customer is influenced by many factors that are all part of the user experience. These include details such as webdesign, intuitive controls, helpful features and much more. Processes and subsequent services are also an important part, because the user experience is not simply about buying a product. It includes the associations between companies, branding and communication. The central point is the actual use of the product and its added value for the customer.

This means that it is not enough for only a web designer to work on the user experience, but that a solid team of product managers, marketing people and service employees must be behind it in order to achieve a holistic good result. This effort is worthwhile, since a satisfied customer returns again and again.

Why is the user experience so important?

Technical systems and devices change constantly through development, but the basic principles of human behavior remain the same. Just by maintaining habitual processes, users are kept feeling comfortable. If you want to remain competitive in the digital domain, you must offer your customers an optimal user experience.

Only a positive user experience will induce a user to spend longer periods on a website before clicking away or forward. At the same time, it significantly and positively influences the user’s perception of the brand and the recommendation rate. Thus, sales and profits of a company depend greatly on this.

Measures to create a positive user experience

The needs and expectations of your users must be the central focus. Their requirements of the product have to be clearly defined. Various factors contribute to a customer’s optimal user experience. These include:

  • Utility (relevant use of functions and content for the target group)
  • Usability (comfortable, intuitive operation)
  • Accessibility (playability on different devices, time and place independent availability)
  • Aesthetics (attractive design)

 Depending on the target group for the product or the service, there are other criteria that can be used. These include the degree of innovation, incentive to use the offer, amongst others.

Analyzing the success of these measures is not that simple. While hard data such as load times, responsive design or availability can be tracked easily, factors such as subjective aesthetic perception are difficult to measure. For this, methods such as eye tracking or classic surveys can be used.

The significance of the user experience should not be underestimated. Satisfied customers pass on their experience and generate new customers. The closer the bond formed with the brand, the greater the loyalty and ultimately the added value for the company.

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