What the Heck is User Experience?

Most employers and business owners plus managers at corporate companies know the term user experience or at least have seen or heard the acronyms UI/UX. But after research, some speculation, and a little experience, most don’t know what it truly means to apply it.

User experience designers, (and those who are in the field but lack the title or name) have an important job. It is literally their job to interpret the data they are given…and interpret it to tangible goals.

As a business owner, let’s say you have purchased Google Adwords and after a month you have new data to apply. You run a business and website that you thought was primarily dominated by men. You thought that the majority of these users didn’t even know what a mobile phone was, and you assumed as the owner you were targeting professional leaders who had an income of $120,000+ or owned their own small business with a similar income. After the numbers come in, you pass this data to your website developer, marketing coordinator, social media manager, or any combination of people who work on your brand and company image. You are a little unsure about what the data means, but you hired people who should know, right?

A typical response will usually result in the following after a manager or owner passes this along and says “what do we do with this information?”

A website developer notices that 43% of your users are using a tablet…and the site is not mobile friendly. Their suggestion is to move away from their current site and update it to be more responsive. This means removing some of the layers of pages, reducing the massive amounts of text on the page to summarize content, ask for ‘calls of action’ more frequently and tidy up the overall look to give it more space because on a tablet…well things get more smooshed.

As an owner or manager, you try your hardest not to make a face and are inwardly balking. Sure thing, this hotshot website developer always thinks you need to update the website and they have no idea what it costs to employ them, give them hours, and change the grid. You push that thought to the side and tell yourself you’ll get to it later…maybe.

Your next 45 minutes you call the social media manager into the office: what are THEIR suggestions?

Your social media manager points out that 38% of the visitors are women. While the assumption was men only utilized the site, women make up over one-third of the visits, yet there is NO information or ZERO attention given to how your business can help solve THEIR problems. The social media manager suggests curating more content to share on social media about women in the industry. They even go as far as to suggest more women-friendly images, colors, and terminology. More resources for women on the website.

As the boss, you sigh. Sure thing, right away. That would go against our brand completely. And no offense, you don’t buy it. Maybe these guys are just using their wives’ tablets or computers or they share a Google account and are browsing via their wife.

Lastly, you bring the marketing coordinator in. They make a point that in fact, over half of the data points out that the average visitor is in the $30,000 to $60,000 range, they are ‘gophers’ and finders for a larger company that is scouting for new services. They fall into more of a DIY range rather than an enterprise account.

This piece of news is the most disheartening to you. There is no arguing against this, except a slight disbelief in how Google is even able to report income, and wondering how accurate it could be? Not only does that make you a little depressed about the business, but that means changing the entire company to market something completely different.

What does this all mean? 

It means that 3 people in your company understood what user experience was and they all gave you a chance to make your business better…and you didn’t really consider any of it.

User experience is the combination of your employees creating the best experience possible, to your target client, by understanding what is important to your target client, what things they like to look at, HOW they like to look at something, what makes them happy, what is efficient for your target client, and what just makes it darn pleasant for them to use your website, company, services, and social media.

Summed up in layman’s terms?

They didn’t like the way your website looked, your website didn’t say the right thing to them, so they left and assumed YOUR BUSINESS couldn’t HELP SOLVE THEIR PROBLEM. So, they kept on googling for a different option.

What are some of the reasons they left?

  • Your site was ugly.
  • Your site didn’t have information that even related to them.
  • Your site didn’t function well.
  • Your site was hard to read because of the font, type, and combination of placement.
  • Your content was old.
  • They couldn’t trust your information.
  • They couldn’t trust your business because you looked scammy.

The list could go on forever.

And no offense, you should care. This 10 second moment is a make or on whether they stick around, click to contact, make a phone call, ask for more information, or just close the browser.

You say… is gonna be expensive and a lot of work…”

But can you afford NOT to do the work? Can you afford to keep losing those sales?

As a manager or owner, are you a lone wolf? There are hundreds of companies that have managers, directors, and owners who think they know everything, they make all the final decisions, and they determine the future of the company based on their personal knowledge and experiences. The truth is, you need a village. Every person on the team brings a unique viewpoint and understanding of the brand that you should be considering.

As a branding and marketing coach, I usually disguise this in multiple steps: defining your business’ goal, defining priority, defining a target audience, where should I be advertising and marketing, what type of tone should I use, where can I find my target market hanging out, and what types of products and services do they use other than mine? What problem do I solve that none of my competitors solve? You have the chance to go after what you ‘want’ and not necessarily what’s been coming in.

As a new business, this is a vital step: you have the chance to step off on the right foot and not waste dollars and get the best return on your investment. The problem gets a little when you are an established business and now have to consider a re-brand.The frustration and anxiety and the headache of having to sort the information of what is really happening harder than going after what you want. Figuring out how to what you intended or make the decision to reformat your business to go after what’s in front of you is not an easy one.

Whatever you do, don’t ignore what your users want, for what YOU want. You can be frustrated that everything you try to do doesn’t work, or you can let go of your ego and actually make more money.