Think Your UX is Top Notch? Not if You Don’t Follow These 5 Principles
User experience is obviously important, but it is extremely hard to pick out which area should be tackled first to improve UX. UX expert Hava Kleiman explains the top 5 principles to follow.
We all get annoyed at that weird application that is hard to use, that obtuse website in which entering data into is a nightmare, that process that make no sense at all. These examples do not consider the user experience and fail us as users.
So, user experience is obviously important, but also helps you as a company to better align with your customers. It helps drive what the users do and how they feel. It models interactions between your company and the end client.
But on the other hand, it is extremely hard to pick out which area should be tackled first to improve the UX.
Let us start with some background: a user journey (or customer journey) is the path a user is expected to go through to take an action. A good example will be placing an order for a product on an app. The user needs to find the item they want, add it to the basket and complete the checkout process. All these steps must be seamless, smooth and intuitive. Anything short of this creates a very real risk of the user abandoning the process and possibly the app/website altogether.
These are your first steps to (continually) improve UX:
1. Make it simple
If you need to explain to anyone how the user journey should work; where to click or how to navigate through, then the journey is not good enough. A user journey is simple when the user intuitively understands right away what information they need to provide. When creating any new user journey, you need to ask yourself “How can I make it simple and easy as possible?”.
Try and make the navigation clear. Create a clean, uncomplicated design and try break the process into small steps, if it will take more than a minute to complete. Remember that too much information can be problematic or even overwhelming for some people. Breaking the process into smaller steps can help users cope better.
Show the users where they are in the process, like “Step 2 out of 5”. Make it easy to fix data related errors, allow simple edits and navigating back to fix user mistakes.
For example: if a user needs to provide extra details that are less common as part of their registration process, they are more likely to stop the process. If you only ask for the minimum information to create their profile/account, you can always ask for more details later.
2. Make it personal
If you can allow users to create shortcuts or to show them what they want to see – you win, and the users win too. Most users prefer seeing what they care about, what they usually look for when navigating.
For example: As a news website you know user “John Hill” cares only about the sports section – why not present it to this user first? Scrolling and looking for what you care for can be annoying. You can also create a “This might interest you” section. This will display other headlines that caught a similar persona’s attention.
People do appreciate the personal touch some apps offer; it makes them feel like it was tailored for them. Some people will even feel that the brand really cares about what they need, because “they understand what I’m looking for.” When you customize the user experience, make sure that the user understands how you collect and protect their data, so they will never feel like their privacy is at risk.
3. Help your users
Provide users with assistance – from tooltip and shortcuts to contact information. If your users seek help, make it as easy as possible. There are many ways to provide help and technical support before calling a support center.
Make sure that users can also skip the tutorial in the first onboarding and come back to it at a later time. Some users will always “skip” and never find their way back. Sometimes admitting that you need help is a hard step on its own, so make sure to present some helpful suggestions about the process the user is taking and how to better navigate through it.
Allow users to attach a screenshot of a problem they notice with some information about what went wrong – this way the support team can help the user quickly and efficiently. This feature will save the user the hassle and time of trying to get support from a call center. You can also create videos of the user flow to help users understand how to navigate efficiently.
Chatbots are also a super popular tool among service providers. Remember that some users still prefer talking to a person and allow the option to request that on the different channels. Good communication is a key to better customer experience.
4. Get user feedback
This is the best way to always keep improving. If a user had an issue and they believe their feedback is essential, they will be happy to share it. Allow users to “tell us what you think”. This is an excellent tool, both preserve your end users and for improvement. If someone is having a tough time, they can tell you about it and you can fix it before it is too late. If someone is having a positive experience, you can celebrate success together.
Sometimes, feedback comes from an unexpected direction. Having an effortless way to communicate will only set you on the path to improvement. When the user does share feedback, thank them, and if you can follow up on it, it would improve their perception of your product.
Make sure to take user feedback into account. This way you can see if suggestions are repeating themselves enough to address changes and create priorities on which improvements to work on first. When you make a change based on a user recommendation, it is important to let the user know the change happened. This way the user feel more connected to the brand and that he made a difference.
You can actively ask for suggestions from users with, for example, a poll to ask what changes they would like to see first and also see how much buy-in you get from the rest of the userbase. This will also enable you to communicate in advance about what changes are planned for the future.
Ongoing user research will also allow you to communicate with your users and set the trend to improve any new or improved feature. Remember that your users know best, using them to set goals and map better options is how you get to the top of the market. Using data to make decision early will save so much money down the line.
5. Understand all possible users
There are many different users that needs to interact with you and have range of different needs. This is a very common challenge. They might not be your clients, but they need to use you or your services. Often, if a user isn’t driving business, they can be ignored as they are not the target audience.
Understanding that you might have other users’ needs in play and there is a way to make their experience better is a key to drive better UX for all.
Mapping all interactions is important to understand how user experience becomes seamless. There will always be priorities in which interactions are key and which are less of a priority, but ignoring the problem will just make it harder to solve down the line.
Mapping everything that can happen will take time. Make sure to interview all the different users to find the possible gaps. Sometimes everybody knows there is an issue, but they don’t understand the issue. Involving all possible users that can interact with the system will make mapping their needs and a better overall user experience.