A POPULAR digital marketing buzzword, UX stands for User Experience. But what on earth does that mean? I would love to give you a clear and concise answer, however this is one of those questions that if you ask three different people, you will receive three different answers. Ok I am guessing I nearly lost you there, I know some of you will be thinking 'oh great more smoke and mirrors from the digital world'. This article will hopefully give you a good base understanding of User Experience (UX).
The term User Experience, according to Wikipedia refers to a person's emotions and attitudes about using a particular product, system or service. Sounds an awful lot like traditional marketing and market research doesn't it? And in our opinion that does a form a large part of UX.
Another definition states: 'User experience (UX) focuses on having a deep understanding of users, what they need, what they value, their abilities, and also their limitations. It also takes into account the business goals and objectives'. Courtesy of Usability.gov This is probably one of the best definitions we have found, because whilst it focuses on the customer it also includes the business goals and objectives.
Now adopted by web design companies UXD or User Experience Design relates to user activities on your website and can apply to social media marketing - it is about anticipating the user's journey, facilitating a smooth path, ensuring they find what they want in the way they are expecting and ensuring the site message is credible - now I'm starting to sound like this is an exercise in mind reading. Far from it, as Mathew Magain from UX Mastery explains, it is a scientific process and something, to a certain extent you are already engaging in, utilising data you most likely already have about your product or service. It's about your customer's behaviour, expectations, motivations and responses - in short designing websites for the user rather than your own preferences.
UXD is not just about how pretty your site is
Don't get me wrong the visual aspect of your website is still a big part of the UX, if it doesn't look or feel right, or isn't easy to navigate, you are most likely to lose your prospect. However, graphic elements are not the whole story.
For us at The Last Hurdle UX is about the big picture - customer focused marketing, instead of deciding what you want to say or show, giving the customer what they want to hear, see or experience. This is not a new concept, in the 90s it was called putting yourself in your customers' shoes, that concept has just been expanded upon to include real data rather than guess work. When it comes to your website, the data is available to you in the form of Google Analytics, Console, Heat Mapping, Analytics tools etc.
In summary, if you want to keep your customers, ensure they remain happy and return time and again as well as attracting more of the same, then UX does need to be on your radar. Deciding how you go about it will be down to your specific product and service and your audience demographics.
You can start by focusing on what customers are expecting from your product, service or website and ensuring that is what is delivered.