I felt that this blog on user experience by Jennifer Vermorel, a French e-commerce professional, provided a clear and thoroughly readable insight into how companies can enhance their websites’ user experience.
Covering theory, personas and key performance indicators, as well as potential resources, this guide is the perfect place to start for any business wishing to optimise their conversion rates.
How to Improve User Experience
Over the next few years, this is definitely going to become an important issue, so it is crucial to prepare ahead.
The sheer number of different devices and the wider use of fixed and mobile broadband internet has contributed to this process, raising your clients’ standards.
How can you make browsing your site easier to keep your clients and turn all those hits into something positive?
In this article, you can find out which steps you need to follow to optimise your website’s ergonomics and reach levels of client satisfaction that will make you the envy of your competitors!
What is user experience (UX)?
First, let’s start with the basics.
Essentially, user experience measures the interest and emotions of anyone using the system interface.
Generally, the term ‘a system interface’ is used to indicate a human-machine interface: a website, an app or piece of software.
The term ‘user experience’ was proposed by Dr. Ronald Norman, an American Doctor of cognitive science whose work covers ‘user-centred design’, or how design should be developed to meet user needs.
What criteria are there for assessing user experience?
The 7 factors that influence UX according to Peter Morville. Image courtesy of: http://www.mitsue.co.jp/english/service/usability/
Peter Morville developed a theory on 7 different factors that influence user experience, represented by a honeycomb diagram:
- Useful: reassess the relevance of products and implement creative, innovative and practical solutions;
- Usable: an easy-to-use interface is essential;
- Desirable: find the right balance between usability and the power of suggestion of your brand image and identity (amongst other things) to reach users on an emotional level;
- Findable: data must be organised simply – browsing should be facilitated by clearly organised information and content;
- Accessible: your site must be easy to read and browse for as many people as possible and it must be in line with W3C standards;
- Credible: put some thought into how the different sections of your company website are organised to subtly win your clients’ trust;
- Valuable: create a website that respects your brand image but also strives to reach a high enough level of profit to keep your company going. It should also meet your clients’ needs.
Step 1. Define your UX vision
This first step is essential – it will determine the main vision you should be following throughout the process of creating or redesigning your website.
Just describe what you want your clients to be doing when they are browsing your website (disregarding technological aspects).
Putting this “user vision” down in writing will allow your web design and development teams to concentrate on this objective.
Step 2. Identify the top 5 key actions clients must be able to perform on your website
Using the definition of your UX vision, take a step back and take on the role of a consultant: what are the five main actions your clients should be able to perform when visiting your website?
Once you have identified these, analyse which solutions are already available and which additional solutions you could implement.
Step 3. Create your primary persona
The primary persona is your company’s priority target.
To paint a realistic picture of this user, there are several methods you can use:
- Interview people who are part of this priority group;
- Post a survey online to find out your users’ expectations on a more general level and their feedback on their current browsing experience.
There are a variety of different ways to create personas, which will be effective enough to provide a more accurate representation of your clients.
Take the time to identify the objectives of your types of buyer to make your interface more consistent and easier to use.
Step 4. Define which Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) you want to measure
Measure the qualitative value of your experiences
Here, what is important is the “how” and the “why” of user interactions: what motivates the user and his or her behaviour when using your interface, or even why certain problems might be occurring when users are browsing your website.
There are many different tests you can use to help you assess the qualitative aspects of your UX.
Measure the quantitative value of your experiences
Here, the focus is on numbers: from a selected sample, you can analyse your findings and make projections for other users.
Step 6. Get clients to test out your website
That is why it is crucial to have your e-commerce website assessed under real-life conditions with a sample of clients.
To achieve results in practice, you need to go through 4 stages:
- Recruit your sample of testers according to their behaviour and their background in relation to your company;
- Test the correlation between your 5 key objectives and what your clients do when they are browsing your website ;
- Observe their behaviour and note down their comments;
- Identify the problem areas and try to find new solutions to resolve them.
This exercise must be completed during joint meetings, where your marketing, communications and technical teams should assess:
- clients’ emotional responses to the visuals used;
- your interface’s performance and response rate;
- the statistics;
- your interface’s design and how the information contained in your website is organised.
Step 7. Correct your error pages
There’s nothing more frustrating for your clients than having an error page appear when they are browsing your website.
To fix this, use Google Webmaster Tools to perform a diagnostic test, which will list all pages where use errors have been detected and what they mean.
Then, follow the instructions on this blog to customise your error pages.
Step 8. Make a wireframe
Nothing is better than putting down a good first draft of your ideas for your interface on paper.
It helps you to perform iterations on your templates more easily without having to change your code.
No need to be an artist or to want to design perfect IT models: your aim is to create something simple that your users/clients can easily assess.
Step 9. Make your site accessible for everyone
In the UK, there are over 11 million people with disabilities.
Some of them could be clients for your company website.
To make their visit to your website easier and improve their browsing experience, the W3C (The World Wide Web Consortium, the organisation which promotes internet technology compatibility) has created a set of standards to follow.
Step 10. Set up assessment and continual improvement processes
There are many different tools to help you assess the behaviour of your online buyers and adjust your website accordingly.
In order to meet your clients’ browsing needs, we suggest that you use a few tools to help you map benefits at every stage and at all times:
Gliffy allows you to create and view a sitemap of your website.
Moqups is a type of online software you can use to create functional templates and wireframes.
Cost: Standard (10 active projects 99€/year), Professional (50 active projects, 150€/year), Ultimate (unlimited projects, 249€/year).
Usability Tools provides you with a range of tools for measuring UX (e.g. surveys and click tracking)
Cost: price on quotation.
AB Tasty is a solution offering, amongst other things, A/B testing and performing the necessary changes to your website.
Cost: 3 versions available: Starter (34$/month), Plus (120$/month), Pro (370$/month) and Enterprise (on quotation).
Crazy Egg provides several tools for measuring your site’s ergonomics, such as heatmaps and scroll maps.
Cost: 4 versions available: Basic ($9/month), Standard ($19/month), Plus ($49/month) and Pro ($99/month).
Your website’s ergonomics are crucial to the process of client conversion
Making a good impression when a potential client visits your website is critical.
Making sure they remember this impression is challenging, however – if it is a good experience, the probability that they will revisit your website is significantly increased.
Whether you’re setting up or redesigning your e-commerce website, you should always try and put yourself in your client’s shoes.
By adopting this user-centric strategy and following the steps described above in this guide, you will now be able to perfect your website’s browsing and purchasing processes, which will have a positive impact on your conversion rate.
How important is user experience to your organisation?
What measures do you implement to improve the ergonomics of your company website?
Original Source (in French): Jennifer Vermorel, XiloPix Lab