Mitigate the risk of a poor User Experience
What do you think the risk would be in not implementing a User Experience (UX) process to design and build a website or app?
The fact is, the risks are potentially enormous. In this article I will highlight 5 major risks for businesses who neglect to include the UX process in any substantial digital project. I will also provide some useful takeaways to help mitigate some of these risks.
Risk 1. Designing features that your customer does not need
If you decide to eliminate the UX process when designing and developing a digital product then you seriously risk providing solutions that the end user (your customer) is not happy with or even worse, doesn’t want. If you don’t ask the people who will use your system what they want or need, then you are basing your decisions on assumptions. And if people can’t find what they need there is a good chance they will look elsewhere for it.
Talking to typical users of your system will help reduce this risk dramatically. Conduct interviews with people from target groups, form a hypothesis around what they need and then validate this with a survey. This will help in the decision-making process when deciding what features to design.
TAKEAWAY: Avoid guesses. Conduct User Research first, then design features based on validated data.
Risk 2. Increased time, scope and cost
By undertaking UX research you are able to form a hypothesis and validate that hypothesis in a much shorter time, compared to what it would take to go ahead and design and build features based on assumptions. By understanding the needs and behaviours of your customers you can test your hypothesis with minimal impact on the project budget.
Without this validation a team could easily spend more time developing unnecessary and costly solutions that potentially need to be rebuilt. This will often result in increased time, scope and cost - which is neither a desirable outcome for the project manager, nor the client.
TAKEAWAY: Validate hypotheses early in a project to avoid scope increases, inflated costs and schedule changes.
Risk 3. Reduced revenue
A bad user experience can affect the bottom line irrespective of whether you are selling a product or a service. If your customer can’t find the product they want then that is a lost sale. Or if the product doesn’t have sufficient information to assist the customer in making a decision, that is a potential lost sale. The same can be applied to a service-oriented website that relies on lead generation - if someone can’t find an enquiry form or a phone number then that is a lost opportunity.
If your competitors provide a better user experience (UX) then they stand a good chance of landing the sale that you lost. Use the UX process to your advantage and test the complexity of your site and findability of items in the design.
TAKEAWAY: Test information architecture and validate designs to ensure your product or service is findable and has enough detail to prompt a sale or contact.
Risk 4. Decreased satisfaction, loyalty and credibility
If you don’t truly understand your customer, your designs will lack empathy. Understanding your customer means that you are providing an outcome that will solve a problem that they may have; or you are providing a benefit that they actually want.
Implementing UX techniques such as user interviews, persona development and customer journey mapping will help you understand your customer on a deeper level.
- User interviews generate rich information that help you understand the needs, behaviours and pain points of a typical user of your system.
- That data is then used to create personas that represent typical users of your system – this gives the designer insights into the people they are designing for.
- Customer journey maps then use the insights from the interviews and the personas to illustrate a typical customer journey through a system. They are a fantastic way to identify and create solutions that cater to your customer’s needs and wants.
If the people who use your website or app have a poor user experience then this can lead to low customer satisfaction and a decrease in loyalty. Trust, reputation and credibility are adversely affected, and this in turn can affect the positive word-of-mouth that a good experience generates.
TAKEAWAY: Undertake user research, develop personas and customer journey maps to ensure the team understands the user when designing solutions for them.
Risk 5. Increased burden on customer support team
If a website or app doesn’t provide the information that users need and they are left seeking answers, then the burden will often fall on the customer support team. There are several reasons why a user will contact the support team. These include:
- Overly complex tasks or a complicated user interface;
- Missing or confusing information;
- Problems with a service or a product; and
- Functionality that will just not allow some actions (refunds for example).
Great user experience is proactive, rather than reactive. By providing pre-emptive actions such as comprehensive FAQs, useful resources, helpful articles and easy-to-use search tools you can dramatically reduce the burden on your customer support team.
When it comes to e-commerce systems, having clear functions to find products and change orders, as well as clear instructions for returns, will help reduce the customer service load.
In an ideal world, an amazing UX will not only reduce burden, but will eliminate the need for customer support altogether.
TAKEAWAY: Interview users to understand frequently asked questions or specific needs related to your system and then include these as findable features on your website.