Technology – you either find it innovative and inspiring, or entirely incomprehensible. But, no matter what side of the fence you’re on, you’re likely to want a great user experience when you are actually using it – whether you’re browsing a website, or scrolling through an app. And, if you’re a business using the latest and most powerful digital products, you won’t get ahead if you solely rely on technology. In this piece, Andy Clowes (pictured below), head of design, Engage Hub, tells RetailTechNews why all of this means that brands cannot ignore UI or UX.
If you want to optimise the user experience, you’ll need people in your team to design it – specifically user interface (UI) and user experience (UX) designers. If you’re implementing an app, designing a website, or integrating chatbots, both UI (how the product looks) and UX (how the product feels) are crucial if you want to provide the best experience for customers.
Designers (for both UI and UX) need to have input into product design from the beginning – they should have a say on how a story is told, or the implementation of it. In order to stand out from the crowd, these tactics need to be integrated into your overall communications strategy from the outset. Here are three ways to do just that:
Understand what customers really want
Always remember, your customers come first – you need to understand them, so start thinking about ways to enhance the customer experience by looking at the overall value you’re providing to users. As an example, chatbots are highly in demand. However, there’s no use investing heavily in one that doesn’t fulfil a specific purpose for your company. The UI and UX designers need to create an intelligent chatbot that can add value to the customer and seamlessly engage with them as if they were a human customer service agent. Technology should enhance, rather than hinder, the customer’s experience.
Technology should only be used if it adds to your brand goals, rather than detracting from them. Good design should make your customers want to come back for more.
Keep your customers’ attention to keep their business
On average, you only hold your customers’ attention for a mere eight seconds. That’s not long at all – and this reduced time often means you can’t convey much information. Or, if presented with 15 minutes to consume content, two out of three customers would rather read and interact with something beautifully designed, than a piece of plain, dull content. When you look at those stats hand-in-hand it only highlights the need for UI and UX. You can’t overstate the importance of it, as both play an undeniably crucial role in encouraging customers to continue engaging with your brand, service, and technology.
By focusing on human-centred interfaces, corresponding to a customers’ natural abilities, you’ll boost their engagement and usability. Overall, your systems will be easier for them to use and less effort will be needed. Providing contextually relevant information, that your customers will retain, will help draw them in in the future. By monitoring interactions across multiple touchpoints, you can ensure that your UI is a clear reflection of the customer journey.
Stories improve profits
The most successful brands know how to connect with their customers – they have stories to tell, which aren’t just created by powerful words or impactful logos, and are able to articulate them in engaging ways. Think about Uber, Airbnb, or Evernote as examples – their UX and UI are crucial to their storytelling success and, ultimately, are wholly customer-centric. Whether you’re using apps, a website, or chatbots, it’s vital to consider how your story looks for the user, and how they can navigate it. When a business optimises UX, customers can find the products they want quicker and, with easy access to relevant information, the overall experience will be a positive one.
Additionally, consistency is key – a sleek, memorable, and inspirational end-to-end experience makes life easier for your customers. Not only that, but it also encourages them to come back for more, time and time again. Also, there are more communication channels than ever before – with conversational commerce on the rise – so, it’s vital to deliver your story naturally, whatever your customer’s touchpoint of choice is. Thinking about how design will look on multiple devices will help set you apart from other brands or organisations as well. After all, you don’t need to be rigid – remaining flexible, whilst ensuring the design of your assets are consistent across channels, will make your brand memorable for the customer.
Ultimately, if you take a consistent, creative, and strategic approach to UI and UX design you’ll make the overall customer experience easy and enjoyable and a return on investment will be seen for dedicated efforts in this space.