What is user experience (UX)?

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Digital Marketing 101: What Is User Experience (UX)?

5 min read

You might have heard the term “user experience” (UX) floating around the digital world. It may sound like a nebulous term or just more marketing jargon. But in reality, UX is the backbone of effective digital marketing strategies. It can inform how effective a campaign, website or app is.

Overlooking UX can have some dramatic consequences for your business, especially when you take into account how much it can help attract new customers when done correctly. If you’re new to this world of digital marketing and UX, don’t worry — we’ll guide you through the basics of user experience.

Who Is a User?

Who exactly is the user of “user experience”? Technically speaking, it’s any individual (or end-user) that interacts with your app, website, webpage or whatever it is you’re creating online. Someone who downloads an app off of an app store would be the “end user,” whereas the creators behind the app would be the stakeholders.

A common misstep in UX is designing around the stakeholders’ wants and needs instead of the users’. But in good UX design, the design is centered around creating a good experience for the end-user, as they will be the one interacting with your website.

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Applications of User Experience

UX can determine whether or not a user becomes a customer on your website or if they simply leave before the page loads. User experience as a whole isn’t just for developers and designers, either. Anyone can understand its basic principles and apply them. The more you know how UX works, the easier it is to identify what separates good UX from bad.

Norman Doors: the Original Test of User Experience

The easiest way to explain a user experience is with Norman doors. How many times have you pushed a door to try and open it, only to see it’s really intended to be pulled (and vice versa)? This is a Norman door, and it’s an example of bad UX. 

In this case, the doors are poorly designed and lead to frustration when the user can’t complete their task with ease — in this case, opening or closing doors. The door itself can’t explain to the user how to operate it, and in some cases, additional instructions are required to carry out a simple task.

Man yelling at door that won't open

UX for the Digital World

What does UX look like beyond Norman doors? It looks like an easy-to-use, intuitively designed webpage, website or app. A well-designed, user-friendly website will be easy to navigate, understand and use. If you’re running an e-commerce store, users should be able to browse quickly and easily to find the product they’re looking for and take action. If you’re creating an app, it should be easy for users to understand how it works and how to navigate it.

There are a lot of ways to improve user experience if a website isn’t performing as it should. Design is a large part of user experience because users need to be able to visually digest all of the information on the page and still be able to use it. Clean navigation, a balanced amount of content and an organized flow to your website overall goes a long way to create a better user experience.

Gif of Homer Simpson unveiling a computer project to his family

The Effects of Good UX vs. Bad UX

So what’s the difference between good and bad UX, and what effect can it have on sales and your business’s bottom line? How much does UX really matter? Here a few UX statistics that you might not have expected:

graphic of different ux statistics

What these numbers show is that customers and users alike notice UX more than anything else, and that investing in it has some pretty impactful returns. If a website is slow, full of broken links and pages, has too little or too much information, would you want to browse it or even purchase something off of it? If you said no, your users probably did too. 

When you take the time to really invest in creating a holistic and truly great user experience, your users will take notice and you’ll see a return in conversion rates and closed deals.

Salesman giving a speech about closing deals

How UX Helps Marketing

Where does user experience fit into your marketing plan? The truth is, it fits in everywhere. If you want your website to be a lean, mean conversion machine, optimizing it and getting it in tip-top shape for users are both a must.

If you have the resources and the team to do so, really look at your website from the perspective of a brand-new visitor. Can you tell what the website is clearly about? Is it easy to use? Understanding your customer is key to creating a better experience for them. Asking these questions and going deeper into user research will help you figure out if you’re heading in the right direction or not.

Gif of a spinning compass

How to Know If You’ve Nailed UX

You’ll know you’ve truly nailed UX if your website can fulfill a user’s needs and give them what they want. If you have a website that’s clean and well organized, fast, intuitive and full of relevant information, you’re that much closer to a conversion. If your website’s landing pages have a clear purpose and goal in mind, with a well-built form to collect information, then you’re on your way to conversion heaven.

Even if you’ve nailed the experience, though, your website still needs to be accessible. ADA compliance for websites ensures anyone can access and use your website. ADA compliance and accessibility matter because there could be legal consequences for failing to make your website compliant. 

A “user” isn’t just a metaphor, it’s a real person! You can also think of it like this: if a person can’t access your site because it isn’t ADA-compliant, you’re missing out on a potential new customer.

Gif of Homer Simpson angry at Moe and leaving

UX Is Your Website’s BFF

It’s no exaggeration to say that UX can have a huge impact on both your website and your business at large. Making the user the center of your site can have huge returns for you in conversion rates and closed deals. But disregarding it can result in missed opportunities for business growth, as well as a plummet in positive experiences for your customers online. 

It’s not enough to just have a website that looks good. It has to function well, too. If you’re looking to update your website or completely overhaul it, UX should definitely be at the top of your mind. 

Make Your UX As Ferocious As Your Business

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Jessica Warner

A natural planner and the ultimate organizer, Jess is one of our fearless leaders in digital strategy. She's a boss at prioritizing digital users, and loves puzzles, painting, playing with pugs, lattes and traveling.

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