Design What Your Customer Wants, Not What You Think is Right
27 February 2018 Glen Jeffreys
What is UX Design? How does it fit in between brand voicing, web development, and marketing?
UX stands for the user experience, and UX design is the practise of creating a purposeful experience for a target audience by identifying and meeting their expectations. It is firmly user-centric, using research, data, and design thinking to derive insights into how people interact with your organisation and where you fall short in convincing them to convert.
"UX design is the key to creating experiences that are satisfying from start to finish. It’s an important element of maintaining brand consistency."
In the past decade, customers have radically shifted the way they interact with businesses. Established brick-and-mortar interactions have given way to a disruptive, mobile-driven ecosystem where technology is king. Your organisation is responsible for developing and maintaining that technology, and no potential customer will take the time to tell you there is something wrong with it.
If an e-commerce site asks for too much user information during the checkout process, customers don’t write to them to say so – they simply abandon their cart and move on. Eventually, website traffic slows to a halt.
If an educational website presents information in a disorganised mess of links and confusing headers, few users will complain – most will go back to Google and look for a better source of information.
UX design is the key to addressing these issues and creating user experiences that are satisfying from start to finish. It’s an important element of maintaining brand consistency.
The UX Audit: Fresh Eyes On the Familiar
The longer we work on a brand, product or experience, the more we tend to accept its quirks and weaknesses. Problems with a message, interface, system, or tool are accepted by everyday users and workarounds quickly become the norm. For teams at the coalface, it can be difficult to step back and look at a brand from an objective perspective. This is where the UX Audit comes in.
The UX Audit identifies the weak points in your brand’s digital ecosystem and makes recommendations for improvement. The audit is typically conducted by a UX designer who sits outside the brand or organisation under review, enabling a truly objective, customer-centric point of view.
At Deepend, UX audits typically entail:
Ever worked on a project where nobody in the room seems to have the same understanding of the goals and intended outcomes as anyone else? Turns out it’s an uncomfortably common situation, and it’s why we run context sessions at Deepend.A context session is like a living brief, involving everyone working on the project. We meet with the client and other stakeholders and ask questions around business context, project goals, platform and approach, open issues, risks, and ‘doneness’.
Context sessions create a shared understanding between the client and the project team. On larger projects they may involve everyone from producers to designers, developers, and testers. For a smaller UX Audit, we can trim them down to just the UX designer and the client.
Having established the context of the engagement, we then move on to empathising with your target audiences. Who are they? How do they behave? What are their wants and needs? Once we understand the audience, we’re ready to review the existing customer journey and experience.
With the appropriate context and audience data in-hand, Deepend can now conduct a qualitative review of a brand or organisation’s customer experience across its digital ecosystem. This includes analytics data, user behaviour trends, digital usability statistics, information architecture insights, and expert opinions on the content, user interface design and overall customer experience.
Present Recommendations and Findings
Finally, the UX audit team presents its findings. Problems are identified and recommended solutions and strategies are presented. The brand or organisation we’re working with should now have a clear roadmap for improvement, from the ‘low hanging fruit’ through longer term systems & strategies designed to increase engagement and conversion.
Case Study – FASD Australia
FASD Australia engaged Deepend to conduct user experience research, advice and design during the creation of the FASD Hub; a comprehensive resource for information on Foetal Alcohol Spectrum Disorder in Australia. The organisation had been awarded a grant to develop this web resource, and it needed a UX solution that identified and addressed who would need this information and how it could best be presented to them.
Crucially, the website presents relevant information both from medical experts in the field of FASD care and families affected by FASD. This is important because while the staff of FASD Australia had an impressive background in clinical research and a great collection of documents, they had far less experience interviewing audiences, generating traffic, defining key requirements for broadcasting information, and using this data to inform strategic digital experience design.
To meet the project’s goals, Deepend conducted interviews and workshops with audiences and medical practitioners and FASD Australia staff members. Strategies and approaches were prototyped and tested with the complete range of audiences, with each round of feedback shaping the next design iteration.
Approved designs were fully documented via a design specification and delivered on time and budget to the production team. The site handover was a success, and we are now developing further site functionality, including a series of interactive web applications, on behalf of our satisfied clients.
Could your brand or organisation benefit from an objective review? Ask our team to conduct a UX Audit across your digital ecosystem and take the first step towards a more user-centric experience for your customers.
Find out more about our data driven approach to UX Design to help surface more strategic insights for your business.