The most common method of interacting with businesses has shifted from trips to brick-and-mortar stores and physical handshakes with clients to online messaging and website visits. This shift in the paradigm of business has facilitated a need for smooth, intuitive, and functional websites that users can peruse without difficulty.
Optimizing a website’s usability and responsiveness has become fundamentally bound to the success (or failure) of a business. Providing customers, clients, and even potential investors, with a great first online impression, therefore, can help businesses expand their reach and, ultimately, raise profit margins.
But first, some clarification between terms User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) are in order.
Differentiating UI from UX
There is some debate as to whether User Interface (UI) and User Experience (UX) are different elements of web design or simply two sides of the same coin. While their functions do intersect sometimes, the difference lies in the small details: while UI is focused on ironing out the kinks in the interaction between a user and a system, UX is the ease-of-use and overall enjoyment of going through a website that a visitor feels.
It’s, therefore, safe to conclude that both are important to the overall execution of a site. Conscientious website design and development consider the human aspect of the interaction alongside the technological element.
The Importance of UX: Facebook vs. MySpace
Although the digital world has all but taken the term for itself, “User Experience” has been around since the beginning of the 20th century. Originally used to improve and maximize production lines, the concept was intended to help increase the efficiency and productivity of human labor. It was only a matter of time before the term found its way to website design, where its principles of usability, efficiency, productivity, and intuitive learning were all easily applied to all things digital.
UX was critical to the success and failure of various social media networking sites during its infancy. One of the most cited examples of UX being integral to the survival of a business was the case of MySpace. As one of the social media platform pioneers, MySpace was perfectly positioned to dominate the young social media scene.
However, a combination of falling revenues (due in part to its rival Facebook), as well as management’s prioritizing short-term monetization over better UX caused the downfall of the site. MySpace, in an attempt to salvage itself, redesigned their whole site to focus on eye-catching ads and then-advanced website design.
Unfortunately, the bid to save itself failed. While MySpace was busy thinking of ways to generate income through page views, Facebook was finding ways to make its UX more intuitive and user-friendly. Almost paradoxically, this shift of mindset from business-centric to customer-centric was key in creating one of the most popular, wide-spread, and financially lucrative websites and companies the world has ever seen.
Good User Experience (UX) Leads to Good Business
Recent studies have shown that a well-designed and well-implemented UX can easily increase a website’s popularity and reach, all the while increasing investment returns by 9,900%. This is because providing a positive digital experience for customers and clients has been proven to increase customer satisfaction. This leads to higher chances of repeat business, which, in turn, leads to higher revenues.
Focusing on the development of a better UX can dramatically change the way a company does business.
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