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UX and UI Explained by Maria Harrison | Bullseye Strategy

by | Mar 26, 2021

What is UX and UI?

Often in the industry, these terms will get used interchangeably, but they are different things. UX applies to the human-first approach to product design. Really thinking about how a consumer or customer interacts with your products, all the way from the physical world to the digital world. Think about apple and the whole experience in an Apple store and how that translates all the way down to their products. If you go to their website, it feels very much like Apple.

What About UI?

We then could layer UI on top of that. UI is this human-first approach to designing the aesthetic experience of a product. It applies only to digital, so the visual touchpoints that allow users to interact with a product, for example, combinations of typography and color palettes and buttons and animation. But this whole practice of UX or UI, if you will, really comes down to improving the customer’s experience with your business.

What’s the Value of UX/UI?

UX and UI are valuable because ultimately, if done well, they’re going to improve the conversion rates at your website, in this case, for your business. Whether that is you’re selling products through an eCom site, or you’re building a lead gen site, whatever action it is that you want users to take, whatever feeling you want them to have when they come to your website, and then ultimately the action you want them to take. The bottom line results are what’s important here.

What’s an Agency’s Role in UX/UI?

When we think about UX and UI, it’s our job to help, of course, preserve the integrity of the brand, but also to look at the consumer interaction on the website with the ultimate eye towards conversion. It’s a balancing act between designers and optimizers who want to optimize for conversion, but we do need to keep the integrity of the brand intact. But we have to look at ways to do that and still improve the customer journey through the website to ultimately get the conversion, hit the bottom line where it counts.

What Priority Should Be Placed on UX/UI?

I get asked all the time about how to prioritize things in a digital marketing plan. If you haven’t started or embarked on your digital marketing journey yet for your product and your site, I would say do it from the beginning. Marry the idea of the aesthetic of your brand and the emotion you want to evoke with your brand, with conversion optimization, and it’ll be a beautiful thing. It just doesn’t usually happen that way. Often one or the other is lagging, and that’s where our services would come in to help a company improve their overall customer journey through the website and ultimately conversion rates. It needs to be a priority, I think. If you’re going to spend money to drive traffic to your website, then you want to prioritize the user experience at the site so that you get the best conversion rate. It’s a waste to spend good money to drive traffic to a site that isn’t providing an optimal consumer experience.

How Do You Measure UX/UI?

Some of the tools that are available to use to understand how consumers interact with your site include things like Crazy Egg, and Hotjar, and there’s just a litany of them out there now and Inspectlet another one. Some integrate with different platforms better than others, so it takes a little bit of homework and a little bit of specific knowledge about your site to really recommend one. There’s also I think Microsoft has Clarity out now, so there’s a host of tools you need to pick a tool that’s going to integrate well with your site. Most of them will let you record user sessions at your site; they’re not grabbing PII in that; they’re just grabbing the session to understand and really see a video recording of how people click through the website and heatmap the site as well. A heatmap is really understanding where the user’s eyes and mouse are going on the screen. That can help you understand what they’re interacting with, and it may also show you gaps in the site. So maybe things that you think shouldn’t look clickable actually look clickable to a consumer. So, for example, one tool in particular reports what we what they call rage clicks. So that’s when someone is trying to click, and click, and click repeatedly on something that is not clickable. That tells us that the user of the site thinks that element is clickable. Therefore, we probably should make it clickable, or we should redesign the element to make it not appear clickable because the last thing we want to do is frustrate a consumer when they’re at the website.

How Much Time and Effort Is Required for UX/UI?

You need a dedicated tool for this and some dedicated time each week, probably, to watch user sessions and see how they’re behaving. There are specific ways to configure each tool; usually, the tools will let you understand specific paths through the site. For example, if you’re an eCom site, you might want to create a path for people who have completed a purchase, so you understand what their journey looks like. Then you might want to configure another path for people who get to the third step in your checkout process but don’t complete. You may be able to identify through the heatmap on that third step of the process what is turning them off. Are they hovering over the shipping cost? Is the shipping cost too high? Does it not tell them the shipping cost on that page? So you can gain a lot of insights from these heatmaps and the customer journeys and then start to make changes over time to see if you can improve that conversion rate.

Do You Have Any UX/UI Success Examples?

Sometimes you watch the video in the anticipation of looking for something specific. Still, when you watch it, you see something different, and you may identify other problems in the sites. One eCom site that we work with was not having any checkouts on a particular product, and we couldn’t understand why, and when we watched the videos back, we saw that no matter how many times users selected the white product, the site was always loading a different color to the cart. So it would never load the white product to the cart, and that would frustrate anyone who was trying to buy that product in the color white. The UX tools that we use can identify a lot of different problems that will help ultimately drive to increase conversion.

What’s Something to Remember About UX/UI?

Really differentiating the experience on mobile versus desktop and testing each of those experiences all the way through. For example, a pop-up may work just fine in a desktop environment, but then in a mobile environment, it covers the entire tiny screen that the user is on. That will inevitably frustrate them. We see time and time again that it creates rage clicks. People get confused about how to close out the tiny pop-over window on their tiny little screens. So really planning for both the mobile experience and the desktop experience for your consumers is critical.
Another thing I see some sites doing is, you know, they commit to a certain theme template. Maybe that theme template has a hero image at the top, which is very common, but that can push the most important information down on the page. Often, especially in an eCom site, hero image might not serve much purpose on subpages. So you have to think about whether you need the hero or whether it’s more important to get the user to the product they’re trying to purchase when they get to the site.

Is UX/UI a One-Time Thing?

We always have to be testing. We always want to be closing. Always testing is the best way to improve conversion rate, whether you’re using landing pages and doing lead gen, whether you’re using eCom. Testing, testing, testing can never end! So I would say, you know, make sure you have a good test plan set out from the beginning to try to improve conversion rate continually.

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