From applications to websites, user experience (UX) is essential for a business’s success online. Poor usability is the number one reason that online companies fail.
Strategic and intentional UX has the potential to raise conversion rates by as much as 400%. Effective UX leads to better customer experience that will lead to improved customer retention.
When designing a product, you need to ask yourself:
Am I solving the right problem in the best possible way?
What does my user want?
There are simple ways you can transform your UX that will improve your customer retention. This article will go over seven simple ways that will make your websites and applications work better for your customers.
It’s important to realize the full potential of user testing. This is the only real way to know what is working and not working on your platforms.
You should conduct initial user testing, but the process should also be ongoing. Mobile applications that crash will lose users and lead to a lack of customer retention.
In useability testing, you observe real users as they attempt to complete tasks on a website or app. In the long run, you will save time and money by making sure your interface is both effective and pleasurable for the user.
Initially, you can validate your prototype and confirm your product meets expectations. You can then use video conferencing software to work with your team to improve your platform.
Continued testing keeps you connected with your users.
This type of testing takes into account customers’ needs by addressing issues and utilizing suggestions for improvement. The continued attention to your users’ experiences will exponentially improve your customer retention.
This will also ensure your UX design works on all applications.
Mobile and tablet viewing account for over 60% of digital media time spent in the United States, according to a Comscore study. The only way to test a wide range of mobile devices on the market is to employ user testing.
It will give you a better idea of what your customers want and need. The features that are the face of your brand will be tried and tested by the people who use and purchase your products.
The bottom line: never feel like your website and application are “good enough.” You should be consistently checking in with your users. Make sure they are satisfied and that your platform functions seamlessly across all platforms.
Tweak #2: Streamline Your Website And Applications
Whether it is on your website or your app, make sure you offer a simple interface that doesn’t overwhelm your customers with endless features.
It may be tempting to try to show your customers all you have to offer, but there can be too much of a good thing.
Over 75% of customers' judgment of a website’s credibility is based purely on aesthetics.
You need your website to look great, but also keep in mind that you do not want to overwhelm your visitor. When implementing UX designs, aim for sleek, not showy.
To keep your product simple and effective, remember the three laws of UX:
Increasing choices increase decision time: This is also known as the Hick-Hyman Law, or “Hick’s Law.” Limit the number of decisions your users must make. Use psychology to convert leads into customers by allowing them to make quick and easy decisions.
The closer and bigger something is, the easier and faster it is to touch it: Also known as Fitt’s Law, keeping this in mind in your UX design will make your website or application more navigable. You will also direct customers to the places you want them to go to. You can create hierarchical order to your site that your customers will appreciate.
Users remember information in chunks: This is known as Miller’s Law. The average number of objects a person can hold in their working memory is seven. Remember this when you are creating forms or creating complex data flows. By keeping it simple, you will create a more pleasurable experience for your customers.
While these laws should be weighed against the goals of both your business and users, keeping them in mind during your UX design will allow you to create a streamlined and effective platform.
This will ensure you have the best web design that adopts a minimalist aesthetic.
Tweak #3: Guide, Teach, Support
Integrate a certain amount of guiding and teaching within your UX design. Initially, a welcome email can introduce your users to your brand and platform. Assume that the user will not know how to use your product if you do not show them.
Other features you can employ to guide and teach users are within the software. These include:
Initial set up: While your users are inputting the required information, you can provide prompts to guide them around your platform.
Popovers: These are overlays directly on the web page. Good popovers close when the user clicks elsewhere on the page. You can use them to provide information about your website and how to use it.
Modals: Models are dialog windows that can quickly show information to users. They can stay on their current page. Effective use of modals decreases unnecessary page loads and improves your website’s usability.
By preemptively answering your user’s questions, you will improve user experience. It will avoid user frustration and increase satisfaction.
Even if your application or website is simple, show your users how simple it is. Even a short introduction and a FAQ page can make all the difference in customer retention.
However, also provide customer support on both your applications and websites. Make support as accessible as possible. A good way to do this is to invest in automated customer service. This provides instant customer support and will drastically improve your customer experience.
A survey showed that 86% of buyers would pay more for a better customer experience.
Through automated customer service, your company AIs can preempt problems, provide immediate solutions, and save your company money.
Tweak #4: Use Predefined Conventions
Another way to increase your useability is to use predefined conventions. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Use widely used or standardized design patterns. These are shapes, colors, and instantly recognizable styles.
Things like social media logos should be self-explanatory. Certain features, like menu drop boxes, should also be obvious to your users.
The predefined conventions that you should always follow are:
Logo placement: Your logo should be the first thing on the page. If you are just starting your business, make sure your logo is striking and effective. Your brand logo should make a statement and be aesthetically pleasing. It should also be placed on the left side of the page. Occasionally, the placement can be centered. The logo should also always link back to your homepage.
Main navigation: This should also be located on the top of the page, either to the right, or beneath the logo. And remember, less is more. Per the laws of UX, keep the number of options below seven in the first level of navigation. Also, limit the number of levels for sub navigations. Users will be able to find things more easily and won’t be overwhelmed by options.
Link styles: Hyperlinks should not be the means you highlight your creativity. Differentiate the link text from the page text in a way that is obvious to the user.
Buttons: Make it obvious what is clickable. Buttons should abide by design conventions. They should be used as important calls to action. Only use buttons to draw your users’ eyes to the things you need them to see.
Icons: Certain icons - such as those for social media - should be obvious. Another icon that should be standard is for your cart. Customers should be able to navigate to and from their cart from any page within your app or website. They should also be able to find it without thinking too hard.
Tweak #5: Prioritize Accessibility
If your goal is to reach and retain customers, you must prioritize accessibility.
You need to consider the ability, context, and situation of your user. You do not want your site to be so complex that it will fail to load on certain mobile devices or in situations of poor internet connection.
Also, consider the preferred mode of communication for your customers.
For example, some of your users may still rely on faxing to get documents to you. In this case, consider using email to fax technology. By doing this, your platform works for both your business and your customers.
You also want to make it accessible for those of varying abilities. Make sure your app and website have audio descriptions in photos for the blind or visually impaired.
Design your app to also be audio-reader enabled and consider color blindness when creating your color scheme.
If you have video content on your site, always make sure that the content has closed captioning. This is not only for the deaf and hard of hearing but also for your everyday users.
There are plenty of situations in which your users will find themselves where they will not be able to hear audio.
You don’t want users to get frustrated navigating your website because you did not consider their needs.
If you make your product accessible, you will retain loyal customers. They will see the effort you make to reach them and to meet their needs, and become loyal to your brand.
Tweak #6: Create A Pleasurable User Experience
Delighting your users should be your goal. Design your UX to make your websites and apps a joy to use. Customers will come back for those moments that delight and surprise them.
One easy way to create these moments is to reward your users. This does not have to be monetary rewards. You can use things like badges, points, and compliments to create a positive user experience.
You will retain customers just by them having the desire to keep obtaining those rewards. For example, Duolingo uses this point and badge system effectively to keep users returning consistently.
Also, make sure you pay attention to every aspect of your website and application, from the homepage to checkout. Make sure you optimize your eCommerce checkout page to create a pleasurable user experience.
You could have a perfectly designed website, but if your checkout page isn’t simple and intuitive to use, users will be less likely to return.
Another way to create a pleasurable experience for your user is to create a persona. Gone are the days of faceless companies. A human touch will create a bond between your users and your brand.
Make sure to communicate with your customers as if you are in the room with them. Also, speak in a warm, conversational tone.
Tweak #7: Keep Users Informed
In your UX design, you should always be finding ways to improve your website and application.
Nothing is worse than using a website or application that looks outdated, or that no longer works with current technology. As your platform changes, you need to keep your users informed.
It can be easy to forget this step after all the work that goes into updating features. You can solve this by using tools for managing projects. Within these tools, include a plan on how you will inform your users.
This can be accomplished through:
If you do implement a significant change in your platform, it may also be a good idea to do this gradually.
Initially, give your users the option to make the change. The first users of the new features will be able to inform you of any glitches. They can also tell you if they are satisfied with the new features.
This will lead to great customer retention because you are giving the users some agency over their experience.
Effective UX designs can drastically increase your customer retention. By employing these tweaks to your platforms, you will make your websites and applications more effective. In the end, you should always:
Make it simple
Make it accessible
Make it enjoyable
Your users will thank you for it and your business will reap the benefits.
Richard Conn is the Senior Director, Search Marketing for RingCentral, a global leader in unified communications and internet phone service. He is passionate about connecting businesses and customers and has experience working with Fortune 500 companies such as Google, Experian, Target, Nordstrom, Kayak, Hilton, and Kia.