A functional, seamless user experience is critical for businesses operating in digital spaces. Applying this concept to website design plays an important role in whether the website’s visitors can accomplish what they came for. An iterative design methodology is a great framework to introduce refined designs continuously, and although those designs may look great, how do you know if the design has improved the experience for your users and is making a positive impact on your goals?
Here is how your business can gauge the overall success of your latest design changes:
Identify, Narrow Down, Choose, and Address Metrics
Before implementing the design, it’s important for your business to first research and identify specific metrics to monitor which will be used to measure the success of any subsequent design changes.
Metrics that make sense to monitor will vary by industry vertical and business model. For example, an ecommerce business might choose to monitor a shopping cart abandonment metric. Implementing certain changes should typically improve this metric or, at the very least, or keep it the same.
Alternatively, healthcare providers may want to increase the number of scheduled appointments through their app and choose to monitor the origin of appointments added to a central database as a success metric. In this case, they may deploy a design change to a scheduling form and monitor any impact on scheduled appointments.
Good UX Means Good Business
In a world where technology is rapidly advancing and user expectations are rising, it’s no longer enough to have an average user experience; to delight your users and surpass your competition you must strive for the exceptional.
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On the other hand, some websites with fewer call-to-actions such as “schedule an appointment” or “check out now,” may not choose a CTA that’s part of a workflow as a metric to monitor. In this case, the site operator may choose a proactive metric measurement approach, such as prompting users to complete a short survey. The analysis of the survey results can help determine the success of a recent design change by comparing results before and after, as well as help determine if the content itself is meeting the needs of users.
Whatever your business vertical is, take the time to determine what metrics you want to monitor to gauge success before moving forward.
Once you have chosen which metrics to monitor, you can employ testing methods specific to your use case to further understand how the design change, or multiple changes, impacts the targeted user experience.
A/B testing is comparing the success of two different designs side-by-side. This methodology is particularly helpful when you have several satisfactory design solutions but are lacking a deciding factor on which to implement.
With A/B testing, you deploy both design solutions, show each to different sets of users, and compare the results of your success metric. Consider our previous ecommerce example, which was monitoring cart abandonment as its success metric. Perhaps two different checkout processes are being considered, one that is quick but offers less helpful tips along the way and another that offers more helpful tips but takes longer to get through. A/B testing tests both checkout processes with real users, and the results can determine which of the two to implement as the permanent solution.
Decide on Next Steps
It’s not the end of the story once you deploy your design; it’s the next stage in the process that helps you and your team take what you have learned, determine what needs to be re-worked, whether you’re ready for the next phase in your design, and initiate your plan of action. User behaviors and expectations change over time, and you can expect potential improvements to be right around the corner. Employing an iterative and measurement-focused design methodology into your development process now not only ensures your organization is prepared for continuous improvement but also that everyone is on the same page as to what constitutes a successful design.
Design is Important, But So Are Metrics
A site that’s aligned to both your business and user needs is important. Design, user experience, and usability are all important contributing factors in addressing those needs, and Perficient has tools and services to help your business make thoughtful and impactful improvements. Check out our UX IQ, which provides your business with a heuristic evaluation of your website to help you understand where to target improvements, and contact our experience design experts today.