Facing the surge of articles on user experience, I felt the need to go back to fundamentals. When we talk about UX, what are we really talking about?User experience is the way in which a user perceives the service as a whole. A good user experience must induce a propensity to use the service durably, or even to contribute to its evolution. On the other hand, a bad experience makes ” the customer flee “. The challenge is therefore huge because the quality of the user experience determines the crystallization and the development of a service relationship. By definition, user experience is “the answers and perceptions of a person resulting from the use or anticipation of the use of a product, service or system”.
This definition is clearly a matter of ergonomics. The term user experience as formulated by Donald Norman, a professor of cognitive science at the University of California in the 1990s, refers to psychology and therefore to emotions. Its aim is to provide the most appropriate approach to a targeted audience according to any offer (products, services, companies, etc.). The more adapted the approach, the greater the satisfaction of this offer.
Why is it so important?
The whole purpose of UX is to reduce the cognitive effort, a somewhat barbaric expression which means, in a simple way, the fact of dispensing a user to spend all his capacities to fulfill a task at a given moment.
Companies are taking User Experience more and more seriously for several reasons:
The first one is because of the competition. In fact, what differentiate TrainLine and Voyages SNCF? nothing, because both are selling train tickets. And that was the crazy challenge Captain Train took: bet everything on the interface and offer one of the best User Experience of the market: the interface is clear, really easy to understand and it takes less than 3 mn to order a train ticket. Nowadays, that’s exactly what users are looking for: being able to have access to a specific service or buy a specific thing without any frustration and friction throughout the customer journey.
The second reason and one of the most important is the following: nowadays with the rise of internet usage, there is no longer physical vendors helping customers. Salespeople have been replaced by the interface. The consumer is alone in front of his device, and a smooth user experience is one of the main reason why consumers will choose to buy online or leave the website.
Moreover, the challenge for online businesses is to truly understand the customer journey. In fact, since 2007, all the investments from online businesses were focusing on acquisitions. Acquisition consists on bringing and attracting as much people as possible on the website. Problem is: with acquisition strategies, it is very difficult to prove the Return On Investment. Attracting people on a website is necessary and extremely important but one has to make sure that those people are converting. In addition to that, acquisition costs have been multiplied by 40 over the past five years. Today, e-Commerce companies focus on understanding customer paths to increase conversion rates and business performance. 94% of CMOs declared that user experience would be their priority marketing inverstment in 2017. Their first goal is to improve the Web and Mobile customer journey on their website to increase their revenues.
Which businesses are concerned?
ALL OF THEM. All businesses from any sectors are affected by the importance of a better user experience.
Obviously, at the very beginning of the growing awareness of the importance of UX, the more mature were and still are e-retailers. In fact, a better user experience and a smooth customer journey can make a HUGE difference on their revenue. But today, all businesses feel affected through the different challenges they are facing. For example, a retailer will not have the same challenges as a bank or a luxury brand or even an online media.
Banks for example are facing very specific challenges. In fact, the retail banking market is known to be particularly cumbersome and volatile. Even if in average 25% of French people say they are unsatisfied with their bank, only 3% of them will change bank each year. Banks need to provide a great user experience, making it easy to open an account or transfer money. A good interface coupled with great services and functionality is the key to perform well.
Online media are even more specific. Indeed, they have two objectives: monetize their audience and increase their subscription rate. In order to monetize their audience as much as possible they need to provide a great user experience that is going to make the reader willing to stay as long as possible on the website. By boosting the users’ retention, they are going to be able to display more ads.
User Experience and customer journey are no longer fashion and trendy words but remain challenges for online businesses, regardless of the sector.
To be able to provide a great user experience the first and most important things is to be able to KNOW WHO your customers are and UNDERSTAND THEM. Companies are using several tools and solution to be able to optimize their website : Traffic analytics, such as Adobe, Google Analytics and AT Internet, will help them to make statements: bounce rate, time spent, number of pages viewed. Behavioural analytics, such as ContentSquare, will make them understand how users are interacting with their website, mobile and app: basically it is answering the following question ‘why did my user leave the website without buying or subscribing?’ And then, once all of these has been understood comes the e-merchandizing, customisation, content and testing solution such as Qbit, ABtasty or Kameleoon.