In the not so distant past, b2b purchasers relied on sales calls and word of mouth to determine and select vendors. But now with 89% of b2b researchers using the Internet instead, your website is a critical introduction to your company, its approach and products and/or services sold. Website design based on a well-crafted user experience (UX strategy), will enhance your customer’s brand perception and could even increase revenue up to 37%, according to one study.*
In this new paradigm where business products and services are bought and not sold, the online experience plays an unprecedented role in the overall customer brand experience – particularly as mobile starts to overtake all other devices in terms of time spent online.** In fact, 48% of users say that a business site that doesn’t work well on mobile indicates the business simply not doesn’t care and 52% will be less likely to engage with a company after a bad mobile experience.***
So how can you improve your UX? Start with three key steps:
Whether developing an overarching brand strategy or creating an online experience, the key is to first understand what your customers and prospects are looking for from your website. So ask them. Whether it’s via an online, in-person or telephone survey, you gain valuable insights from customer research. Adding these insights to behavior flows, completion rates, bounce rates and session timing will help identify user problems on your current site.
We bring these findings to life by creating personas. Personas are archetypes built specifically to identify user profiles, needs, wants and expectations in order to design the best possible site experience for each of them. This is especially crucial when selling to a committee, because it keeps each target’s needs and challenges at the forefront of your site design.
After listening, the next step is to test. Testing your site early on helps uncover experience, navigation and functionality problems, and gives you the opportunity to address them before the site is completely built. This ensures what’s created is useful, meaningful and aligned to user needs before the site is even launched … and it safeguards against designing a website that no one uses.
Contextual studies conducted in natural environments afford you the opportunity to observe and track natural user behaviors and patterns. This particular tactic provides a peek behind the curtain. But unlike the Man Behind the Curtain in the Wizard of Oz, this is something to which you’ll want to pay attention. One effective and insightful study is the “diary study,” where users write notes about their expectations, mindsets, moods and environments. By conducting a similar study, you can better align your site, experience or service with those expectations, potentially avoiding costly issues in the future.
The goal of UX design and research is to better captivate, engage and emotionally connect with users when they are interacting with your site (and your brand)—no matter the time, place or circumstances. By taking these key steps to understanding your customers’ expectations, you’ll be able to improve the performance of your site and create a positive brand experience. And when you consider that 82% of people have stopped doing business with a company due to a bad experience,**** it’s a worthwhile investment.
Have questions as you help your brand navigate the UX waters? Call me at 312.422.5952.
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