So what is this User Experience Lark

You may or may not have heard of the term User Experience.  I bet you are thinking –  what is this User Experience and how does it relate to my web site.

Remember when you used to go to your favourate cafe, they would remember your name, the barista would even know your coffee order, and would often make it up for you with just a nod.  The wait staff would chat away and even tell you of exclusive specials that were not on the boards or menu. You would swear the servings you got were bigger too.  Over all you’re not just visiting a cafe,  you were visiting old friends.  It’s just a pleasant experience, somewhere you would recommend to others.

Nothing really new.   In the real world retailers have known for long time that creating the best shopping experience was important for sales, well now that has been translated to the web.

Customers having a good experience, (one that is not frustrating them) with a website will:

  • establish a loyality base with  your site
  • recommend your site to friends
  • return for repeat business, to relive the experience.

Now people currently rank a good experience  by their lack of having a bad experience.  So the reality is we have to remove all the negative aspects that cause bad experiences from a web site. After this is done the aim is to make the site a unique experience in some way,  such that the site will be remembered for it.

So how do you know if your customers are have a good user experience on your web site.  The only way is to ask them.

Sure you can look at the web statistics on what they have been doing, and how they travel through your web site, but frankly this will only tell you so much.  You have to listen to them. Don’t disregard any complaint or suggestion.   On the web people will more often pass a site by if they can’t get what they want or find it frustrating and a bad experience.  It is very rarely that they will tell you that they have an issue with a web site.

You can ask them in a number of ways, via online or offline surveys, interviews or via conducting independent testing using people that would be in the same market segment as your customer base.   Yes, it is true, this type of testing does cost; however it allows you to determine very quickly what the issues are with your web site.   Knowing the problem, puts you a good way towards the solution.

At the end of the day, it comes down to do you really know for certain if your customers aren’t getting frustrated with your site.   What proof do you have.   As with anything in business you really need to have more than just a personalised gut feeling.  If you are offered good customer experience is the real world, are you also offering a good experience in the online one as well.