Most business owners have encountered the term 'user experience' at some point in their business's lifetime. For many, the user experience, or UX is little more than a large question mark. But not understanding it can mean that your business misses out on all of the magical elements that need to come together in order for your customers to make a purchase from you.
What Is UX?
Simply put, UX is how your customers perceive the information located on your company's web site. When anyone visits your site, they are, although perhaps subconsciously, assessing whether or not your site contains what they are looking for. Users are very likely asking themselves whether your web site gives them any value, whether it's easy for them to use and whether using your site is a pleasant experience.
User experience is an incredibly important part of the purchasing process, because if a customer can answer 'yes' to the questions above, then chances are very good that they will make a purchase from you.
Although many think that UX is about web design. However, what UX is really about is the use of technology. A UX professional understands how to use technology in order to help website visitors accomplish what they came there to accomplish.
Should The UX Of Your Site Be Managed By A Professional?
It is true that many businesses opt to manage the UX of their web site without the input of a professional. While this may keep costs down, there are situation that benefit from professional UX design and management.
For example, if you have a web site that offers rich content and features to visitors, or if yours is an e-commerce site with several sections or departments, professional UX design and management can be a definite advantage.
Even start-up companies can benefit from professional UX assistance, albeit in a different way. For these companies, the high cost of hiring dedicated employees to handle UX tasks can be avoided by either training existing employees on UX principles or contracting out the work.
Businesses that want to save on web design costs may also benefit from having some sort of professional UX input. This is because the UX professional can complete a number of tasks that web designers and even developers do.
How Much Does Hiring A UX Professional Cost?
Contrary to popular belief, the cost to hire a UX professional is far less than one might expect. Perhaps the perception of increased cost stems from the assumption that UX will add too much time - and therefore, money - to a project. UX does allow for simple user experience design techniques to be introduced that can have a significant impact on a project. Although UX involves custom-tailoring elements to suit the needs of a business and its customers, this does not necessarily mean that doing so will cost the business owner an exorbitant amount of money.
The Risks of Bad UX
Thinking that you don't need assistance when sculpting your site’s UX can sometimes end up costing you more. The truth of the matter is that no business sets out to provide customers with a bad UX. However, seeing that customers are having a bad experience and doing nothing about it can spell disaster.
The entire UX process is something that business owners should consider as a base requirementof their company's success, and not an addition to what they may already be doing. Experts warn that thinking of UX as an option can mean the end of even the best ideas for products and services.
In the old days, web design decisions as they pertain to function were made according to what the designer thought was best for the brand, as well as what looked good. Today's technology allows us to move far beyond just making websites functional and aesthetically-pleasing for their users. Today's web sites can get their message across to visitors using several elements such as dynamic content, rich features and interactivity.
No longer is user interaction based on what the designer assumes will 'work'. UX breaks through those barriers, giving both customers and businesses a place where accessibility, marketing, design, ergonomics and many other elements seamlessly combine.