User Experience: In Search Of The Perfect Digital Experience

As a content marketer and blogger, I have had the luxury (or soul-sucking experience, depending on your point of view) of browsing thousands upon thousands of blogs, websites, and apps. Oftentimes, it is because of research purposes. Other times it is because of unbearable boredom. Regardless of why I am surfing the web, there is always something that is blindingly visible on every website I visit.

You know what I’m talking about. There are those websites that capture your attention and won’t let go. Before you know it, 25 minutes have passed and you find yourself 15 pages deep, totally off-topic from your original interest. Wikipedia comes to mind.

And then there are those websites that seem as if the webmaster decided that PHP was too mainstream (or complicated) and decided that it is instead HTML or DIE!

I’m sure that you can think of examples right this very minute that fit those descriptions. The question, then, is: why can you remember these websites?

User Experience Is What Drives Humanity In The Digital World

Feelings and emotions are potent drivers of action and inaction in humans. When I visit a news website such as The Drudge Report, I am confident that I will have the same experience I did when I visited it 5 years ago. If you don’t happen to be in the know, The Drudge Report is a single page news aggregation website that, during the first 6 months of 2018, reportedly received over 144 million visitors. At first glance, The Drudge Report looks as if it’s stuck in 1995, the year it was launched online. Despite that fact, millions of people visit it every month. Regular visitors seem to be attracted to its simple design and often humorous (or dire) news link headlines.

Then there’s the Veteran’s Affairs website. I have had the misfortune to have to attempt navigation through its endless and complicated pages. In fact, I don’t think I have ever visited ANY government website without leaving it on the verge of destructive rage (I’m looking at you, Internal Revenue Service). Leave it to the government to muck up what should be an easy goal – making it easy for people to find highly important information fast and easily.

Every website, good or bad, has one thing in common – User Experience (UX). A complete package that encompasses emotional response, familiarity, likability, trust, perception, and more, UX is the main component in the gears of the digital world. Yes, that is a pretty grand statement, but I believe it to be true.

The Elements Of User Experience

User Experience Can Make Or Break Business

Most businesses have a website with which they market to potential customers or clients. Most businesses also spend a significant amount to time and resources working with UX design agencies to polish and improve how users interact with and relate to their online platforms.

People who have grown up within the last 25 years have become accustomed to a lifestyle and expectations that include immediate gratification without too much complication. Forget waiting 6 minutes for a Big Mac. Just the other day, I got a hot, mouth watering Whopper in 3.25 minutes just down the road at Burger King! When it comes to UX, it’s easy to understand that most people are going to gravitate towards websites that aren’t hard to use, satisfy their needs, and make coming back to it a pleasure.

A website with terrible UX will often lose traffic simply because people find it frustrating to use. This often results in lost leads and a decrease in business for the owner of that website. For instance, if you wanted to buy a set of jade earrings for your girlfriend (or boyfriend, no judgement here), and it took you 15 minutes of closing pop-up ads with microscopic “X” buttons in the top right corners to simply add the earrings to a shopping cart and make a purchase, how long would it be before you returned to make another purchase? Conversely, what about a shopping website that was incredibly simple to navigate and make a purchase in under 3.25 minutes without pop-up ads or annoying auto-play videos? Now I want a Whopper.

Not that I have any statistics or particular cases to cite, but, how many times have you downloaded what appeared to be a useful app but it instead turned out way crappier than was advertised? No doubt those apps are no longer on your phone. And that means that the app developers and advertisers who spent months creating it are out of any additional income from you. I’m sure there have been many developers who have gone bust due to inferior UX.

All creators and maintainers of digital platforms would do well to research and bone up on their UX knowledge. Burger King certainly has a handle on it.

So, What Exactly Is User Experience?

UX is, in a nutshell, how users feel about their interactions with a business or other online entity. It’s more than design.

It’s about attitude. It’s about tone. It’s about emotion. It’s about ease of use.

UX encompasses everything a good business aspires to be for their customers and clients. If you can make people feel good and provide usefulness, while making their experience easy and hassle free, those people will return.

However, if you completely disregard people’s need for simplicity and deny them a warm and inviting environment, those people will treat your business like a cold and soggy Big Mac, i.e. into the trash you go, along with your profits.