When someone visits your website, what's their intended goal as they interact with your site? In simple terms, users come to your website with a problem or pain point. Your job is to create a website experience that allows them to find a solution to their problem. But how do you do this?
User experience (UX) design is the process of designing a website that is useful, easy to use and engaging. For those who need a technical definition, ISO 9241-210 defines UX as an individual’s perceptions and responses that result from using or the anticipated use of a product, service, or system.
UX is both an art and a science. It involves applying data and strategy to your web design process. UX design aims to elevate the experience users have while visiting your website and ensure they find value and meaning in their overall experience.
For a user's experience to be meaningful, it must be useful, useable, desirable, findable, accessible, credible and valuable. These are the core values of UX.
Ensuring users find value is at the core of UX. Peter Morville shows this through his User Experience Honeycomb.
Step 1: Define Your Buyer Personas
So how do you design a valuable UX for technical buyers? Just like any other marketing activity, we start with your buyer personas. Take a minute to stop thinking about your company and your brand, and focus solely on users. What do they like? How do they like to interact with a website? What problems do they have that your website can solve? How can your website engage and delight them?
Putting the user first is what UX is all about so developing buyer personas is key to designing a valuable user experience.
By shifting your focus away from your brand, product and/or services, you begin to put yourself in your user's shoes. In changing your perspective, you will find empathy for your users. Empathy is key to UX design. With empathy comes the ability to design a web experience that caters to users and solves their pain points. When you have empathy for users, you are in the right position to design a website that users find engaging, useful and easy to use.
One way to help ensure your designing a website with UX in mind is to ask clients for feedback on their encounters and interactions with your website. Here's some helpful questions to ask users about your website:
- How did you first find our website?
- How likely are you to recommend our website to a friend or colleague?
- How does our website compare to competitors?
- What do you dislike about our website?
- How easy is our website to use?
- What feature on our website is most important to you?
- What was your first impression when you entered our website?
- Is there anything missing on this page?
If you aren't able to interview or survey your users, check out our marketing research we conduct each year on engineers and technical buyers marketing preferences. Based on our research, engineers prefer websites to be constructed with concise information with links to in-depth content.
According to our research on engineers and technical buyers, engineers prefer web pages with concise information with links to in-depth content.
Step 2: Review Website Analytics
Another way to get valuable data on your users is to dive into your marketing analytics to get a full view of how users interact with your website. Look at your high performing pages to see what pages users engage with. Use a heat map analytics tool such as Hotjar to get visual data on how users are interacting with your website.
Hotjar gives you the ability to view web analytics as a heat map so you can better understand what elements on your page are working when it comes to UX.
Step 3: Map User Paths
Now that you have user data, it's time to start mapping out user paths, or the route a visitor takes through your site to reach their end goal. Start by identify key goals users have when they come to your site and ensure that your website help users reach their goals. Use sticky notes to visually architect user journeys.
Here's an example of a user journey map based on someone ordering flowers online.
Step 4: Design
Now that you have user paths mapped out, it's time to begin designing a valuable and meaningful UX. When it comes to UX design, there are maxims and principles that dictate how you should UX design. Here's some basic laws of UX to apply to your web design:
- Aesthetic Usability Effect: Users perceive aesthetically pleasing design as design that's more useable. Good design creates a positive response to users.
- Hick's Law: The time it takes to make a decision increases with the number and complexity of choices. Keep your site's architecture simple and don't give users too many choices.
- Jakob's Law: Users spend most of their time on other sites. This means that users prefer your site to work the same way as all the other sites they already know.
- Miller's Law: The average person can only keep 7 (plus or minus 2) items in their working memory. So organize content pieces in groups of 5-9 items.
- Pareto Principal: Roughly 80% of the effects come from 20% of the causes. Focus the majority of your efforts on the web pages that will bring the largest benefits to the majority of users.
- Peak-End Rule: People judge an experience based on how they felt at its peak and at its end, rather than the sum or average of every moment of the experience. Identify the moments when your site is the most valuable and design to make those areas better.
UX design never stops. Your website will need continuous improvement as users and technology evolve. Keep track of your analytics and continue to ask users for feedback on your website.
Are you ready to tackle a website redesign? Get started by downloading our ebook, A Guide to B2B Website Redesign.