January 13, 2017
When it comes to business, data can be one of the most valuable resources you have. As we are seeing how it affects the way many businesses are now operating, it is clear it will be even more important in the future.
If you want to create meaningful connections with your customers and be able to engage new customers, data can help give you an advantage over your competition. Likewise if you fail to collect and use data, you will find yourself slipping behind competitors that leverage the benefits of a data program.
Data can be very valuable when working to improve the user experience (UX) for your customers and potential customers. While different companies take different approaches to UX Design, one of the most crucial components to any user experience design effort is having the appropriate data.
You may have heard the term ‘big data’ used in recent years and it refers to the massive amount of data that is currently being collected on consumer behavior. Working to develop an understanding of your customers’ wants, needs, behaviors and limitations is a critical component of any plan to increase sales and profitability.
One of the most common uses of data today is the use of website analytics packages. With the readily available website analytics programs, you can learn how long users stay on your website, where they abandon your shopping cart, which pages draw the most attention and a wealth of other valuable information.
But beyond merely collecting data it is important that you know how to analyze the data to be able to use it. It is important that you are able to gain insights from your analytics to be able to improve your user experience on your website.
Use data to build personas
Personas can be a very useful way to utilize data to help improve your user experience. When it comes to UX Design, personas are very common and a powerful way to develop an understanding of your customers. Personas essentially represent the main customer types that are doing business with your company.
Personas can help you learn to identify with your customers and uncover the best ways to reach those who are choosing to do business with your company. Data helps you move beyond assumptions and develop a deeper understanding of customer behavior.
By using analytical data gathered from your current website along with data gathered from customer feedback and customer interviews, it will provide you with a look into how customers feel and interact with your brand. It is important that your team understands how to discern the different customer groups and the specific patterns that are taking place within each group to be able to create effective personas. Your goal is to be able to break down your customers into well-defined groups based on commonalities.
Examine the data
As you are developing personas you will want to develop an understanding of how the various personas view and interact with your business.
For instance, how does each persona feel about your products and services? This can help you understand how to reach both those that are interested in specific products and services and those that are expressing moderate interest in those products and services. Remember that every product you have isn’t necessarily going to appeal to every potential customer, but you can learn how to generate more interest from those that are moderately interested if you pay attention.
Find out what features each persona finds most valuable about the various products or services they purchase. Product reviews and customer feedback can be an indispensable source of information. Find out what features are drawing potential customers to your offerings. Often it is not the ones that the engineering department is excited about. Getting to know what motivates customers can help you better motivate them in the future.
Remember that customers tend to buy based on benefits and not features. What benefits are customers getting from your products or services? How are you solving their problems? Customers want solutions to their problems; find out how they see your products and services providing those solutions. Find out what benefits customers are finding most worthwhile and how your products or services fit into their lives.
Develop an understanding of how your customers feel about the experience of buying your products or services. Get to know how each person interacts with your website. Is the experience favorable? Are there pain points that should be addressed? You may find that while some customers don’t have problems that others do. Determine where the friction is along the customer journey and work to relieve it.
Don’t forget to ask your customers what you need to do to improve the purchase process and your website. Looking at traffic shows you what is grabbing your users’ attention and what is not. Talk to your customers and find out where you fall short and how they think you can improve the experience for them.
Leverage the data
As you move from data collection and analysis into user interface design you will want to leverage what you have learned for maximum benefit. Your goal with data driven design is to create an interface that is intuitive and easy for users to navigate.
Merely understanding the patterns in your data is not enough. You must take what you learn and use it to enhance and improve the user experience for your customers. Often at this point, design teams will ignore the data and move forward with a design that they feel has great visual appeal but doesn’t necessarily address any of the issues that arose during data analysis. Don’t make this mistake. Data can be a powerful tool if you use it and it will outperform the gut feelings of your team. Remember that in A/B tests that simple, clean designs based on data outperform flashy designs that are created for maximum visual impact.
Once you understand the patterns in your data, work to create a more user-focused and data-driven user experience that will connect with your customers. Do this by creating a plan to engage your customers on their terms. Strive to create meaningful user interactions that improve the user experience.
Data driven design is a continuous process, make sure that you plan ahead to keep collecting data and adapting to the new insights it gives you. Discover how your customers respond to your new interface and work to improve that experience.
Samella Garcia works as an integration manager for UX Phoenix. She has eight years’ experience developing mobile applications and websites that focus on UX. Samella has a passion for user experience projects, coding, digital technology and hiking.