As with anything else, the starting place for making improvements is when you realise you have a problem!
With user experience, not all changes need to be costly in time, money and effort – often known as ‘micro UX’ – however, if you keep brushing changes underneath the carpet then chances are it will be much harder to right your wrongs.
You don’t need to enlist the help of a specialist company to help identify some of the sticking points with your website, mobile app, intranet or any other platform that you interact with throughout the day. Simply ask a friend or a colleague who would not usually use the platform and gauge their reactions.
As a user experience manager, I often hear the phrase ‘well it’s always been that way…’, but the lightbulb didn’t get invented because its inventor said darkness has always been that way, so why change it. I’m not saying that the changes we propose and implement are going to be revolutionary in the way that the lightbulb and many other scientific inventions were, but ultimately, if changes improve your productivity and stress levels, then we have progress.
I have written a few short steps to help you on your way:
- When starting a project, my first steps are always to have a quick navigate around the site to see if there is anything obvious that stands out. Be critical. Always keep in mind what you believe the users will want to see first.
- Always check a site on another device, specifically mobiles and tablets, to identify whether the experience is the same as you would get on the desktop version. Did you know that over 8 in 10 people would stop interacting with a website if it didn’t display well on the device they were using?
- Make sure you have analytical software connected to your website. Google Analytics is a free resource and superb tool allowing you to see the pages that are not working so well so that you can understand the user’s journey through the website.
- Benchmark your efforts against your competitors. I always look at competitors. For example, if you were analysing Nike’s website, I would look at Adidas as a direct competitor but also look at indirect competitors, a brand or company who has a similar type of website but perhaps in a different field – Amazon, for example, is an e-commerce site, often praised for its streamlined checkout process.
- Understand your business strategy. If you need to increase your sales by 25% and you are showcasing a product range on the home page of your website that has a low margin, consider replacing this with a high-profit margin product range. Are there related items for the product range? Look at your up-sell and cross-sell strategies.
"Always keep in mind what you believe the users will want to see first."