Over the past year, the Covid-19 pandemic shook the business world in ways even the financial crash of 2008 didn’t. While billionaires were able to take advantage of the situation with the very rich increasing their net worth, smaller players struggled immensely with the restrictions placed on their operations. Even as a significant part of the world begins to open up, for smaller businesses, the damage has already been done. One survey estimates that almost 7.5 million small businesses are at risk of closing down permanently due to the pandemic.
The pandemic saw consumers becoming even more digitally reliant, turning to technology and the internet for most of their needs. The most agile businesses recognized this shift and have been quick to adapt. And those that survived, beyond ramping their digital presence, now realize the importance of having a great UX design experience, understanding that errors in their UX design could mean the difference between thriving and going out of business.
The Importance of UX in Business
The decision of businesses to invest in UX design is not baseless as several benefits come with it. Here are some of the reasons you should start investing even more in UX as we tread closer to a post-pandemic world.
UX Can Help Increase Your Leads and Conversion Rate
If you have a business trying to regain its footing, having an excellent UX design can be a growth hacking strategy that can help you build lasting relationships with your target market. With the intense competition in the digital space, it’s hard enough to get people on your platform.
Customers don’t want to exert unnecessary effort just to find the information on products and services they need. A good UX design enables you to provide them with the information they need when they need it.
UX Design Can Help With Customer Retention
A poorly designed website that’s confusing to customers can keep them from coming back. On the other hand, when a platform has an amazing user experience, customers will feel more at ease using it, and eventually, that can lead to brand loyalty.
UX Design Can Boost Your SEO Ranking
Not only do people want information, but they also want it as quickly and as seamlessly as possible. While great content is necessary, you also need a great UX design as search engines like Google favor websites with better UX. The combination of both will ensure that you get more visibility and a higher possibility of getting the audience you want.
What Are the Challenges That Business Websites Face as The World Begins to Open Up?
The benefits of a great UX design are indeed too significant for any business to ignore. However, good UX designs don’t just magically happen. UX designers put a lot of effort into it. There are important steps that they follow, including conducting user research, data analysis, a bit of program coding and user testing. They must also collaborate with stakeholders regularly.
With survival being the new reality for a significant number of businesses, UX design has become even more challenging for business websites. People have gotten so accustomed to doing their shopping, work, and life, in general, online. And even as the world attempts to return to how things were, many companies are still operating remotely.
This makes the task of conducting user research and tests harder. There may also be technical requirements for research that are not readily available to the team from their homes.
Collaborative work is now different from what designers are used to. Your team is not in just one room and you can’t pitch your ideas in a heartbeat. While there are platforms that allow for remote collaboration, there may be hindrances like connectivity issues, and of course, the challenges of working from home. Operating virtually may not be as convenient and easy to adapt to as one expected.
So How Can Your Business Deal With These Challenges That Come With the New Normal?
There is always a solution to every problem. You can still slay with your UX design, no matter what the situation may be. Here’s how you can adapt to the new normal:
#1. Conduct Both Qualitative and Quantitative User Research
You can’t scrimp on qualitative and quantitative user research despite having seemingly more pressing needs. Note that you cannot just choose one – you must do both. While resources may be scarce, you can still do interviews for your research via video calls, as well as create personas, do journey mapping, and collect feedback and maintain communication via tools for collaboration like Slack.
As for your quantitative research, you can use analytics tools like heat maps, domain reputation and website trackers to get information like usage direction and conversion rate, among others. Just a reminder, though, it would be wise to test the research tools that you will use ahead of the actual sessions.
#2. Use UX Rings to Measure Design Success
As mentioned above, you need both qualitative and quantitative research for your UX to be great and there are a lot of methods to do that. But if you are to work with one formula or one system that you can use to gauge your UX overall quality, you can use UX rings.
The starting point or the center of the ring is the Design Success ladder. From there, you have to check the mastery of all the five segments that assess functionality, usability, comfort, delightfulness, and significance or meaningfulness. Unless all of these segments are completed satisfactorily, user experience and ultimately, sales, would be at risk.
#3. Improve UX with AI-Powered Chatbots
As you already know, the pandemic led to a significant increase in online orders. A large volume of inquiries can likely overwhelm even big businesses with the number of inquiries. A conversational AI chatbot can greatly improve UX as it can perform tasks such as:
- Send a personalized welcome message to the user.
- Answer FAQs.
- Guide potential customers through the entire buying process.
- Identify challenges and provide support to the customer whenever needed.
- Give customers a satisfying feeling of being catered to and taken care of 24/7.
You can configure chatbots so that they work seamlessly across several touchpoints, including your website, social media, or messaging apps.
#4. Prioritize UX Design Testing
Remember that the main purpose of UX design is to ensure that the user can easily find the information that they are looking for on your website and navigate through the pages with the least amount of effort. Don’t treat usability testing as an afterthought but as a priority. Despite the quarantine restrictions, you can still conduct surveys using tools like Google Forms, Typeform, Survey Monkey, and more. You can also try usability testing tools to have your product tested by a wider and more diverse audience. Ideally, you will want to test face-to-face. But that doesn’t mean that remote UX testing will not deliver useful results.
#5. Show Compassion and Extend a Helping Hand
While it’s natural for you to focus on improving your UX design and how your business can thrive amidst the crisis, it also wouldn’t hurt to lend a helping hand to organizations that may need your skills for assistance. This is a great opportunity for you to contribute to the worldwide fight against Covid-19. The US may be on the verge of reopening, but for several countries, the situation remains dire.
Think of ways on how you can improve the way people are getting information about the pandemic, or how you can help a local organization create a user-friendly platform where people can donate or share useful info.
UX is the New Normal
The dramatic increase in the number of people opting to make their purchases online since the pandemic has started means two things for businesses – online business is booming, and also, it’s time to up your UX game. There is always room for improvement, especially now that the business landscape has changed for so many industries.
Keep in mind that all it takes for a customer to switch to the competition is a bad user experience. So more than ever, you must anticipate what customers need and want, then figure out how to meet those needs in the way those customers want you to.
Great UX is the new normal, so perfect it, and your business won’t just survive this post-pandemic world but even come out on the other side stronger than ever.
Where to Learn More
To learn more about UX design, user research and usability testing, consider the online UX courses from the Interaction Design Foundation: