In my time commuting along the business and technology space, I have come across a good number of brilliant entrepreneurs and innovators with amazing product and service offerings, who simply don’t know what to do with their website.
I’m talking about geniuses who somehow have the mentality that having a website that works is simply enough.
Does it really?
It all boils down to User Experience (UX).
If you’re reading this, you’ve probably already realized that there’s something wrong with your UX somewhere. Maybe it’s poor engagement. Maybe it’s the low sales generated via your website. Maybe it’s cart abandonment.
Or maybe you got a moment of enlightenment from a stranger on a train.
And the continued effects of a poor UX, over time, can be quite frustrating, whether you can’t seem to figure out what the problem is, or you have, but don’t know how to go about dealing with it.
Well, here it is – your moment of Zen.
And I’m not just here to make jokes (although I inevitably will), I’m here to tell you what the problem is, and point you in the right direction.
Don’t thank me just yet.
You see, Maddy, it’s your site’s user experience. (I know your name isn’t Maddy. We’ll just roll with it). 😉
Ever heard the term UI/UX? They go together. Basically, your site’s user interface (UI) is the visual aspect of the site that your users interact with in order to accomplish the purpose for which they came on the site in the first place.
On the other hand, User Experience (UX) is just that – the experience your user has while on your site. Are they able to get things done? Is it easy for them to find what they’re looking for? Is the site navigation seamless? What’s the journey like, from hopping on the site, to dropping off? That’s UX.
Your website’s user experience greatly impacts the success of your business. Whether you have payment integrations via which your user’s can pay for your services, or Whatever point at which your website comes into play in the customer journey, if the user experience is poor, they’ll be more inclined to drop off at that point.
It’s all about the user.
As a small business owner, if you can pull fifteen espresso shots in a row without breaking a sweat or can turn a pile of papers into an organized filing system,,, if you can juggle managing inventory, marketing, customer service, and somehow conjure up time to eat, then trust me—you’re ready to design.
Allow me to inform you, my dear pioneer of industry – UX is not all techno-jargon (in fact between you and me, it’s a pretty elementary aspect of the entire scope of software development).
Now, here’s where things get fun. I believe just about anyone can be a UX designer.
If you want to improve your site’s user experience and properly leverage it to increase your sales (or move the needle on any other key metric for that matter), read on.
If you’re not big on the technical stuff, and don’t quite want to be too hands-on, but still want to know enough to make a difference, read on.
If you love Elon Musk, read on.
Just read on.
Buckle up for an insightful journey into the amazing digital landscape of User Experience (UX) design.
Imagine your favorite local store—every product displayed thoughtfully, aisles uncluttered, checkout process smoother than James Bond sipping a cocktail.
That’s the beauty of UX. It’s essentially what eases the customer to purchase, and come back for more.
“But I don’t know the ABCs of Tech! It’s all just a hazy mystery to me!”
I hear you.
Alright, take a deep breath.
See, tech isn’t all about algorithms or mystic coding lingo. For now, just think of it as just another way to extend the awesomeness of your physical store to the digital world.
Most small business owners invest a huge chunk of their heart into their businesses, which makes you well equipped to translate this heart – this mojo – into a crackling online UX design.
Yes, UX falls under the ‘tech’ category and can seem intimidating. However, a good UX design is not about being a coding ninja; it’s about smooth customer journeys and pleasant experiences.
“See, tech isn’t all about algorithms or mystic coding lingo. For now, just think of it as just another way to extend the awesomeness of your physical store to the digital world.”
UX prioritizes customer journey mapping and effective storytelling. It’s your online stage, where you get the chance to resonate with your customers emotionally, and connect with them visually.
Spotting a UX That Needs Fixing: Look out for these Red Flags.
- The Online Equivalent of Crickets:
Hear that deafening silence online? If visitors are making more exits than entrances, your website might as well be a ghost town. Yes, the tumbleweed rolling across your homepage is an omen that screams: “Update your UX, pal!”
In the online world, the sound of silence isn’t golden—it’s alarming. Monitor your website bounce rate to know what the situation is.
- Vanishing CTAs (calls-to-action) :
If your “Buy Now” or “Schedule a Meeting” button is as easy to find as a needle in a haystack, then it’s time for a UX intervention. Your CTAs should be impossible to miss, and blazingly inviting too.
- Abandoned Shopping Carts:
Imagine hosting a party where the guests pile up their plates but never actually take a bite. Hard to figure, right? It might indicate a complicated checkout process, hidden shipping costs, or even an under-designed ‘cart’ icon.
Whatever it may be, it’s definitely worth troubleshooting, because if your clients are adding products to the cart then mysteriously abandoning them, a UX redesign isn’t optional—it’s essential!
- An Overflowing Complaints Box:
This one is the most obvious of the rest.
While constructive criticism can be helpful, there’s a limit to how many “I hate your website” e-mails a person can stomach before breakfast. If customers are sending you more “hate mail” than “fan mail,” it’s possible that your site’s user experience is the culprit.
If your website’s woes echo in your customer’s feedback, it’s time for you to plunge into the mysterious world of UX redesign.
What Now? Time for that much needed UX Revamp.
Don’t worry; don’t panic. When the ship seems to be sinking, remember, you’re the captain.
All it takes is some intentionality, a little research, and action. Here are some steps to help you dabble in the UX design waters.
1. Plan Ahead.
Frustration creeping under your skin? Don’t worry. Grab a strong cup of joe (nobody’s judging!) and chart out an action plan. Identify clear goals for your UX design—minimum loading time? Custom color schemes to match your store? A user-friendly interface? A complex or hard-to-navigate customer journey/flow? Jot it all down. Get some guidance from a design expert if you think it’ll help.
2. Educate Yourself.
Roll up your sleeves and head over to Lynda.com, Udemy or Codecademy (or even YouTube) for some crash courses. If reading’s more your thing, explore ‘Don’t Make Me Think’ by Steve Krug or ‘The Design of Everyday Things’ by Don Norman. They’ll be your UX Bibles, and would definitely appeal to you because they were written with readers with a non-technical background in mind.
3. Collaborate with Creatives.
Team up with tech-savvy, artsy designers who understand your business, and can translate your vision into a digital masterpiece. Remember that looking for better design help doesn’t make you any less of a leader. An artist needs a brush to paint, right?
4. Feeling the Budget Pinch?
If you’re counting pennies, worry not. There are numerous cheaper substitutes for hiring a professional designer. Software like Wix, Canva, or Squarespace offer pre-designed templates and intuitive design tools that even you would find easy to use. They’re like the cheat-codes of UX design.
5. Analyze and Iterate:
Employ the magic of analytics to uncover hidden aspects of customer behavior. Leverage analytics to redraw your customer journeys. It will help illuminate those dark corners where customers mysteriously disappear.
Knowing when and where users bounce off your site can create a path for more optimization. Keep refining, keep experimenting! Remember, every blip and blob on your data chart is a breadcrumb trail towards a primo UX!
6. Keep It Simple!
Embrace the comforts of simplicity. A complicated website can scare off users faster than an outbreak of zombies (although personally I don’t very much mind the undead). Instead, aim for a straightforward design that allows customers to glide through your site as smoothly as a hot knife through butter.
As a small business owner, you have an inherent creative flair; otherwise, you wouldn’t be where you are.
What your UX design might be missing is your kind of human touch and instinct for great service.
Go forth, unleash your design prowess onto the digital landscape, and may your click rates and user engagement soar with the changes you effect!
As always, I’ll be here, cheering on from the sidelines.
Until next time!