wordcamp / Why UX research is important

Why UX research is important

Andy Thorne
illustration of a split A/B test

Is your website sufficiently geared towards your bona fide customer base, and is it driving a strong enough sales performance? In this article, we explore why UX research is the only way to truly improve your website and create better online experiences for our customers.

Treating customers as individuals

Three characters in a line

One size fits all is not the case, research your market and tailor the experiences to their need.

There are almost eight billion people on planet Earth, and they’re all unique in a myriad of ways (even identical twins). That fact alone makes a total nonsense of the ‘one size fits all’ approach to digital marketing.

You’re seriously underestimating your customers, if you think they’re all looking for exactly the same thing and acting in the same way.

Yes, there are common online buying behaviours and it’s possible to find patterns in the way consumers approach digital transactions. However, these too are constantly shifting and altering.

At this point, you may be feeling slightly smug. You may already have a lively online marketing plan that includes regular website updates and creative ways to convert visitors into customers.

However, are you 100% sure that your specific customer perceptions, responses and expectations are authentically ingrained in that?

If not, then you may need to urgently review your website user experience (UX).

Getting to know your customers better

Flow of social media for customers

Always remember to analyse how your customers react to your marketing strategies and make amends to achieve success.

Ambitious companies need to constantly reevaluate their market segmentation and ideal customer.

One of the most vital aspects of this is analysing how website visitors engage with your entire website and digital marketing activities.

When it comes to website performance, your UX assessment shows what is and isn’t working, and highlights obstacles and holes where your lead conversion ‘dies’.

For instance, it could show you the location of the website visitors who spent the most with you, but also the pages and features that stimulate the largest number of click-throughs to your transaction page. Also, what time of day that highly productive spell happens!

Another example would be digging down on the inter-connectivity between your social media and lead conversion, so you know what posts work best – and when – in generating verified sales.

Or, what type of content reinforces a positive UX and therefore generates sales.

How to measure UX

Google Analytics on a macbook

Google Analytics is a great tool to help track what your users are engaging with, this will then help form your next user experience strategy.

Clarity on where your web site visitors are from, who they are and what they do on your website, is marketing rocket fuel. It informs any website updates and improvements you’re planning, but also provides vital intel for other online activities.

Knowing the emotional and decisional reactions of your website visitors would be even more powerful, but how can you extract that?

That’s when you need specialist UX evaluation methods.

The three main areas of UX research are:

  1. Evaluative research – looking at the behaviour of site visitors when evaluating an existing design in prototype or in final form. E.g. a/b testing, screen recording, preference tests, 5 second tests or lab testing (watching and recording users in a test environment / user research lab).
  2. Qualitative & Quantitative research – assessing the factors that impact on whether visitors leave the site or continue to a transaction.
    From this, will come robust solutions and improvements.
  3. Generative research – define the problem you’d like to design a solution for.
    For example User Interviews, ethnographic studies to find out about people’s needs, behaviours and problems and design to address them.

To uncover these to a far-reaching extent, a specialist UX agency would use a variety of methods, including repeat testing on multiple devices and advanced data analytics.

However, they would go much further too.

For example, they could arrange user interviews, or they would set up user screen recording (for both website prototypes or live sites).

Plus remote testing tools such as heat maps, eye movement tracking, preference tests and a/b testing could be used.

Website users can be observed in laboratory conditions to get instant and authentic feedback.

Or, field testing of websites could be used to observe and chart user behaviour in a neutral, remote environment.

The benefits of UX research

An agency expert in UX techniques can draw down a clear user journey from these research activities. It would be a vivid and clear map of the expectations, behaviours and emotional responses of your target customers.

This information not only improves your website and online activities, but also to underpins business growth in general.

Can you afford to ignore this rich seam of customer intelligence, to power your digital marketing – and profitable growth – to the next level?