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Five UX lessons from Usability Week


User experience, commonly known as UX, can be the deciding factor in whether or not a digital user chooses to engage with a brand’s products and services. You might have something superb to offer, but if your website makes information difficult to find or understand, you’re failing to do yourself justice.

UX Certification Badge from Nielsen Norman Group

It’s no surprise, therefore, that here at CE we take UX very seriously indeed. We’re now nowfully UX-certified by the Nielsen Norman Group, so we’re better-placed than ever to advise on attracting and engaging your digital target audience – and we also recently attended Usability Week (London, May 2015), to make sure our expertise is as sharp as it can possibly be.

With all that in mind, here are our top five tips for top-quality UX…

Ask yourself three big UX questions

CREDIBILITY – Does your website look trustworthy and indicate a high-quality customer experience? Attractivewebsite design plays a large part in this, but so does the content within it. If it appears insubstantial or ill-advised, your visitors will lose confidence in you.

USABILITY – Is it easy to navigate and find information? Dead ends and uncertain pathways are frustrating for users and unlikely to produce conversions.

USEFULNESS – Once the information is found, is it actually useful? Is there enough depth and variety? If not, you’ve annoyed users by wasting their time. According to Google, 79% of people who don’t like what they find on one site will leave and search for another site instead.

Don’t be too wacky with your layout

There’s nothing wrong with a bit of creative thinking… but departures from ‘the norm’ can sometimes do more harm than good. For example, if you right-align all your body text and position your navigation bar at the bottom of the page, users are likely to find your website uncomfortable and confusing to use. Most users expect to see the brand identity top-left; contact details and a search box top-right; and navigation menu at the top or the left-hand side. If their eyes aren’t distracted by an unusual layout, they’re more likely to pay attention to valuable information.

Test for usability – don’t just assume it exists

Usability is a major part of UX. It determines whether a system is easy to use, both for obtaining information and navigating efficiently. A design might look beautiful – and it’s true that 94% of first impressions are design-related – but that doesn’t mean it achieves its goals. It’s therefore essential to make time for user testing and act on the results.

Use the reciprocity principle

If you want something from users – for example, their permission to send them regular email marketingpromotions – you need to entice them by offering a benefit. If they know they’ll enjoy a discount or free gift for signing up, they’re far more likely to trust you and reward you with attention. It’s known as the reciprocity principle, which means people respond in kind to friendly behaviour. If, on the other hand, you simply nag people to register without offering anything in return, they’ll find it annoying and it could even impact negatively on their whole view of your brand.

Invest in UX – and don’t forget mobile

Once you’ve considered the above points, you know what you have to do. Websites play a big role in how customers feel about a business – and, in turn, customers’ feelings drive loyalty, which is worth its weight in commercial gold. And your strategy absolutely MUST include mobile. More people now shop online via mobile devices than desktop computer, while reports that nearly half of all restaurant bookings are made via mobile. Just take a look at our mobile UX eguide to learn more about responsive design and user priorities.

If you’d like to discuss UX with CE, our expert design and content teams have lots of strategic advice to offer. Justtell us what you’d like to achieve and we can get started.

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