Digital transformation has taken root as a top priority within most modern companies. The customer experience stands out as a key brand differentiator in this technological shift, because customers can easily find a competitor if their digital experiences do not live up to their expectations. As user experience (UX) drives the sales cycle, IT and software professionals stand at the helm, giving your company the opportunity to shine or fade.
I think we’ll see more companies adding dollars to their IT budgets to boost UX in the next few years. Customer expectations will force brands to create a seamless end-to-end experience, rather than simply focusing on acquisition on a mobile or desktop landing page.
Identify Trends in User Experience
We’ve all watched social media transform the way brands approach customer interactions. Response turnaround times shortened from weeks to mere minutes. Social media has also driven organic marketing via customer reviews and positive, personal communications with the brand. Every company that wants to maintain a competitive edge needs a social media specialist on staff to monitor conversations and interact as needed to improve the customer experience.
For example, Facebook’s reactive emojis take the customer experience one step further. Users can react simply and in a measurable way to product release announcements, brand posts, and more. This data will allow savvy brands to tailor marketing content to consumer interests. Another example is the popular review site Yelp, which has changed the way customers make brand decisions every day.
These examples showcase the powerful interaction between UX and product development. One influences the other to create a meaningful and memorable experience in a world inundated with content, apps, and services. I highly recommend companies consider trends in social media influences as they explore UX development and optimization. These trends and expectations will also spill over into other industries.
Avoid the Pitfalls of Poorly Designed UX
The modern UX goes beyond the landing page. As users develop the skills to hunt for meaningful information and abandon unfruitful products and searches, companies can no longer get away with a beautiful façade. You can’t simply invest in a streamlined landing page, then piece the rest of a website, app, or product together for efficiency’s sake. When companies do that, they lose repeat visitors and business.
To avoid the pitfalls of UX design, brands must manage expectations. Every interaction, word, and visual experience should feel congruent to the end user. Think about digital marketing as you would fishing: your landing page is the hook and your target market is a prize saltwater fish. If you jerk the line too quickly, the fish may have an opportunity to get away. In UX design, companies must invest in more than just the hook if they want to develop a sustainable base of business.
Empower UX Designers to Create a Powerful Brand Experience
UX designers and product developers can no longer afford to churn out another digital product that simply works. To meet company expectations, the asset must exceed the goal of functionality and focus on the current industry and brand expectations your company built.
The designers can make or break UX during the early stages of product development. To create a positive brand experience, brands must (at a minimum) meet current standards for interface design. To go beyond those basic expectations, companies can empower their UX teams to:
- Prioritize the interaction cost. The interaction cost is equal to the combined price of the physical and mental effort an interface requires. All UX designers should focus on keeping the interaction cost as low as possible to create a seamless customer experience.
- Develop in a creative space. Great UX designers need space to explore new ideas and test out their theories. If you invest in the right professionals, give them the leeway to explore what will work best for your brand.
- Expand the scope of each project. UX doesn’t end once you earn a subscription, contract, or sale. Your current customers may provide repeat business or affect the purchasing decisions of others. Give UX designers the power to spend quality time honing every experience, from the discovery phase to customer care. Live-chat customer service, for instance, can make a significant difference in what a customer remembers about your brand.
- Invest in your competitive edge. UX is not something your company should consider as an afterthought. Conduct a cost-benefit analysis that considers the importance of UX in driving customer acquisition and retention goals, from ongoing education opportunities for designers to approving the right development products.
The cost of digital transformation is often difficult for companies to reconcile with traditional budgets. However, UX is not a trend – it’s a foundational principle of product design. I believe that not investing in this asset is a risky bet in today’s world. Follow customer trends and expectations to secure a sustainable competitive edge for your business.
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