"I want to improve my user retention and loyalty" - said every entrepreneur ever.
Do you find yourself in the same position? Getting positive feedback on your product but still your users are leaving it. Guess what. The answer to this problem is User Experience.
User experience is getting exceedingly important. More than 70% visitors form an impression about your business by the first look of your website. That says a lot.
And user experience isn't just about design. It goes well beyond that. User experience includes everything from the application workflow to the page load times. It cannot be an afterthought. Rather, it's an integral part of the entire product cycle.
So if user experience is so important, how do we make it better? Unfortunately, there is no straight answer to that. Everyone has a different perspective. Each user is different. And hence, their experience with the same product will vary.
It isn't possible to talk to your users everytime. Hence, here are a few tips which can help you build a beautiful user experience.
1] Appoint a Product Owner
This is by far the most overlooked aspect of user experience. A product owner must be appointed for every project. She is an individual who decides and clarifies the features of an app and often the one held responsible if the project takes a wrong turn.
Not everyone can qualify as a product owner though.
A product owner is the one in close contact with the end user. She knows the target audience. She understands the user's needs and behaviour. She might not be an UX expert. But she knows better than anyone what will work and what wouldn't. She needs to be on the UX team.
2] Create an Application Workflow
I'm pretty confident that you know the app in and out. Everything is under control. So should you go ahead and start building stuff? Probably not.
The first step to a wonderful user experience is the application workflow. It is simply the way the user will navigate through the app. This is by far the most important step.
The goal here is to minimise the steps or clicks the user has to follow before reaching the desired feature. This is an extremely tricky task since too many actions on the same page can overwhelm the user. This hurts the user experience. You need to prioritize and strike the right balance.
It isn't really that difficult. Here are some steps that can help you out:
- Identify the most used screens or features.
- Shorten the distance (actions to get there) between them and have clear action buttons.
- Categorize the lesser used features. You can present them in a form of a collection like dropdowns, menus, etc.
I know how hard it is to resist the urge to make a "unique design". Trust me, you do not want to do that. Having an unique design simply confuses the user and makes it extremely difficult to use the app. It ultimately results in a poor user experience. It's difficult. But using the well adopted layouts, especially for navigation is what really works.
3] Design before Development
This shouldn't come as a surprise. Creating a design is as important as creating the product itself. There are wonderful tools out there for creating amazing designs and prototypes. Figma is one such tool.
Creating the design has multiple advantages. First it has the power to get all stakeholders on the same platform. It gives everyone the power to contribute in the design process. How amazing would it be to demonstrate your design concept simply by dragging a few components around. That's the power of an UI design tool.
You can even present a wireframe to the end users directly. By observing how they interact with the design, a lot of glitches or workflow flaws can be caught earlier on.
Another unsung advantage of designing is the power of iteration. It is way easier to iterate over a wireframe rather than a product version. In short. Making a wireframe will help save time and create a more compelling user experience
4] Create an Onboarding Experience
Your users are humans. They breathe. Eat. Sleep. Repeat... Wait what?
The point is you need to teach your users how to use your app. Even the most intuitive designs need a great onboarding experience. Onboarding is probably the first iteration your user has with your product. And as they say, the first impression is often the last.
You can go completely creative to create the perfect onboarding. The only catch here is, it needs to be subtle. You cannot interrupt or disturb the natural flow of the user. Popups or overlays can sometimes interrupt, or worse, irritate the user. This is precisely why you need loads of creativity.
A very important attribute of onboarding is that it must always be accessible. The user might want to revisit your onboarding at a later stage. You must keep provision for this as well.
5] Add a flavour of Gamification
It's okay to be a kid sometimes. Make your app fun to use. Even if it's for a short spell. Trust me, your users will love it.
Gamification doesn't literally mean games. Adding tic tac toe to your app isn't going to help you at all.
What you need is to spice things up with a bit of competitiveness. Something as simple as extra points for a complete profile set up can do wonders. You need to find the right mix. This will encourage the user to come back to your platform and engage more deeply.
6] Use Data to your Advantage
Identifying the roadblocks in your design and optimizing them can help improve you user experience drastically.
You can also use tools like Google Optimize to A/B test and see what works best. A/B testing can also help you to figure out the success of your new designs and features.
I'm barely scratching the surface here. There is a whole myriad of tools available online (including free ones) to capture user behaviour. Analysing and inferring insights from this data is all you need to do.
User experience is indeed difficult to master. What works for me won't necessarily work for you. The same product in two different locations may have a completely different user experience. And that's fine.
The underlying objective is that your users must enjoy using your app and keep coming back to it.
Do share what UX tricks have worked for you. I'd love to hear that. Cheers!