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User Experience (UX) – What and Why

     -     Mar 12th, 2015   -     Creative Design, Web Design   -     0 Comments

The words “User Experience” have become quite a hot topic in tech circles in recent years. They are words that come to mind when thinking in the context of ‘techy’ devices such as smart phones, computers, and software. But, tech circles are not the only place where User Experience has become hot. This techy terminology is on fire within marketing departments, in particular when going through a website redesign. First let’s clarify exactly what user experience is.

User Experience Defined

User Experience, coined UX for short, is in the broadest sense the overall experience you have when you are physically using or interacting with something. This ‘something’ could be almost anything in the world, including a website. On a day-to-day basis, think of all the things you have a UX with – driving your car, checking out in line at the grocery store, cooking a meal using a new kitchen gadget, getting money out of the bank, researching data or even buying something online. The list goes on and on.

To take it further in context of a website, think of a recent website interaction you have had that would qualify as a ‘great UX’. The site experience could be something as simple as how you got the exact information you searched for, in the right format, at the right time. How amazing! Ask yourself if you would you return to that site for additional information at a later time based on how simple the site was to use and how great of an experience you had using it? Of course you would – it’s a no brainer.

Why Does User Experience Matter?

UX gets more of our attention when it’s bad compared to good. A lousy user experience tends to make us frustrated, impatient, and even angry. Unfortunately, the truth of the matter is that negative experiences are inherently remembered for a longer time. Consider the last time you had a bad experience at a restaurant, or on a 1-800 customer service line. I bet there’s a story behind the experience and some aggravation. This same aggravation applies to a bad or negative experience when a client or prospect uses your website. Enough said.

Most accounting firms depend on their websites for helping to generate existing as well as new business. Therefore, UX plays a critical role in attracting and maintaining your customer base, and when it comes to potential clients, you usually only get one chance to get it right. Most visitors decide within a matter of seconds whether to stay on your site or hit the ‘back’ button to look for something elsewhere. Therefore, the stakes are high.

In Conclusion

It’s a monumental task to redesign a website, let alone a site that delivers a stellar UX. Mostly it requires empathy for the end user. It’s also crucial for marketing decision makers to step out of their own shoes and put their own thoughts, priorities, and agendas on the back burner, and to take time to really get inside the minds of the end user. Expect that it will take time and a lot of work to design and develop a new site that works well for a large base of users, who may or may not think like we do. The moral of the story – make sure that the organization designing and building your website has an experience team member who thinks about how the site will function from the user’s perspective. Not only will the user appreciate it but Google will reward you in search ranking for your effort!

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