How can a company stand out in today’s market? You could make a splash with a well-designed product. However, unless your product has a unique feature that is protected by a patent, your competitors can imitate your offer if it is successful, so your advantage may be short-lived. Influential marketing researcher Professor Malcolm McDonald observes that studying and improving the way you interact with your customers is one of the best ways to differentiate yourself and give your business an edge over the competition. Companies can almost always find opportunities to provide a better experience for customers by changing their website or rebuilding it from scratch. Let’s take a look at the process of evaluating and improving your relationship with your customers and learn how to improve user experience with good design.

The Origins of User Experience Design

Early computers were used by specialists, who learned how to communicate with computers equipped with interfaces built around their limitations. Then, in the early 1980s, starting with Apple, people began designing machines for a mass market. Now, instead of expecting people to learn to talk to computers, we began to expect computers to learn to speak to people. More precisely, we wanted people to come up with better ways for computers to communicate, and the idea of working to create an improved user experience was born. The trash can symbol for deleting files is a - literally - iconic representative of this pioneering era.

Overall User Design Strategy

To come up with a good plan for improving user design, you need to begin by understanding what you want to accomplish with your website. If you don’t have a goal, you won’t get far. Prioritize your targets carefully. If you think you want your website to inform people about your values, your team, and your products, perhaps you are right. However, are those goals in the correct order of priority? Moreover, shouldn’t getting customers to make a purchase or contact you be one of them?

Once you know what you want to accomplish, the next step is understanding your customers’ goals. Why do you think they are visiting your website? You need to figure that out and give them what they want, or they will leave before you can convert them.

When you have figured out what your customers want and implemented a plan to give them what they are looking for and then bring them to what you want to show them, you can deploy analytics to see if the project is working. Watch your customer’s journey through the website and spot the places where there are problems. Spot the issue, come up with an idea to fix it, and test the idea.

The Amazon Approach to Improving User Experience

Amazon is a relentlessly, optimized global giant. You don’t take over the world of retail with lousy user experience. How does this famous company do it? With “PHAME.” Let’s take a look at their five-step template for improving user experience.

UX Strategy Step One - Problem

Amazon is well known for setting high expectations and pushing them ever higher. It is not hard to find problems; everything that is less than 100% is a problem. The trick is to find a good one to solve. An issue that, if solved, will potentially have a significant impact in exchange of a small effort.

UX Strategy Step Two - Hypothesis

Once you have spotted a problem, for instance, users abandon the shopping cart when they get to the address form, create a hypothesis. Maybe they leave the form because they did not notice the submit button. Perhaps they don’t like the word “submit.”

UX Strategy Step Three - Action

The next step is to plan some specific action to test the hypothesis. In this example, you would create new versions of the page with a more prominent button and a button labeled “Send” instead of “Submit.”

UX Strategy Step Four- Metrics

To judge the effectiveness of the various options for action, you will need a way to measure the results. In this case, the analytics will show whether more or fewer people clicked on the alternate versions of the button.

UX Strategy Step Five - Experiment

Finally, you set up A/B split testing to compare your approaches, examine the metrics, determine the results, and change your site, if the results show a change would bring better results.

Aspects of User Experience to Consider

Call to action buttons can be a great place to begin your search for possible UX improvements. However, there are, of course, many other factors besides button text and placement. For a brief list, consider headlines, text, navigation, layout, and the balance of your mix of videos, writing, and photos. What do you think your users will respond to? Test that theory!

Redesign or Tweak?

If your website is performing poorly, the best route could be to build a brand new one from scratch. However, sometimes a minimal change can bring a significant result. In our UX course, we show how one company more than doubled its website performance with a tiny and very inexpensive improvement. We also talk about some compelling research from Stanford that shows easy ways to use your website to create an experience that builds your credibility with users at almost zero cost.

Get More Powerful Insights On How To Improve User Experience

You can learn more about how to improve your customers’ user experience with our online course. Web Usability and Conversion Rate Optimization are part of our 42-course Marketing Strategy Academy package.

Many online courses that teach marketing, sales & strategy are based on fads, but Oxford Learning Lab’s classes are different. Our course designers and instructors are avid researchers. They know the theory from the history to the bleeding edge, and they have put the theory into practice working for everything from local mom and pop businesses to some of the biggest companies in the world.

They distill their insights from applying theory to real-world cases into simple step-by-step guides that you can use to your project. The author and presenter of our User Experience course, Andrew Lloyd Gordon, has been training people in digital marketing for two decades, working for highly respected companies like Google as an expert.

Whether you are digital marketer looking to expand your horizons, a student, or an executive who wants a deeper understanding of marketing tools, you will find these courses deliver powerful insights and help you master the fundamental concepts quickly and thoroughly. Our Marketing Strategy Academy will teach you all the skills you need to make your business succeed.