Putting customers first: UX and customer experience

You’ve probably read and heard lots of people in the digital marketing industry talking about user experience (UX) and how important it is to achieving your website’s objectives. Similarly, more biz-wigs are talking about how important customer experience is to your business. Both of these whisperings are true, but how do they relate to each other?

User experience versus customer experience

The term user experience (UX) refers to your customers’ relationship with your digital interfaces…how they feel about these interactions and how they behave and interact with your brand online through your website and any other digital platform or software you’re using.

On the other hand, customer experience refers to the complete experience, perceptions and interactions with your company as a whole. This includes how they found your business (for example online, on the high street, in the yellow pages, etc), their experience or interactions with your business (i.e. online, on the telephone, at your office or shop, etc) and how the relationship has progressed through continued contact (such as repeat purchases, product support, marketing emails and advertising).

use-it

Get on UX

UX is just one piece of the overall customer experience jigsaw, but it is also likely to be one of the first points of contact between your business and its customers. This is because, like you and me, many customers check out a company’s websites before making any kind of contact. It’s really important that customers (existing and potential ones) have an online experience that is positive and reflects the overall desired customer experience.

Ensure that your website’s UX is strong by checking accessibility standards and carrying out user testing; take a close look at design, content and site architecture.

Consistency is key (and lovely)

Once you have your UX polished, you need to consider how this relates to the overall customer experience. There’s no point having a great UX if it isn’t supported by a great customer experience when it comes to the quality of communications, complaints handling, brand perception, etc.

It’s a good idea to build the general principles of great UX into your overall customer experience strategy. How do your customers feel about each stage of their interaction with your company? Have you made customer-facing processes as simple, efficient and easy to follow as possible? Does the customer experience reflect your desired brand image?

The main thing to remember when looking at UX and customer experience is that your visitor/customer should be at the heart of everything you do. They will thank you for it in return business, recommendations and a generally warm and fuzzy glow when they think of you. Never forget that your customer has a choice.

For help with user experience or customer experience, get in touch for a chat.

Also see our blog post: How is your UX affected by responsive design?

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How is your UX affected by responsive design?

“My experience of your website started at my desk and ended on the train.”

While on my lunch break yesterday, I visited a travel website on my work computer. My experience of the website was very good, so much so that I didn’t even realise when my lunch break was over. My boss will be pleased to read that as soon as I realised, I got straight back to work (honest).

Train - London Later, on the long train journey home, I pulled out my smartphone to finish browsing the same website. At first, I was pleased to find that the website was responsive (which means it adapts to the device it’s being viewed on). But wait. Something didn’t feel right… It looked completely different. I double checked it was the same website I visited on my lunch break… It was. Why was the look and structure so radically different from the desktop site? Why could I not find the information I was looking at earlier? Why was the navigational structure so different that the only things familiar were the colours? Without wanting to sound too dramatic, I felt confused, agitated and impatient with the website.

This got me thinking about how important it is for a responsive website to have a consistent user experience (UX) across different devices. If you’re not familiar with the term, UX is basically concerned with the emotional aspects associated with the use of interactive technologies like websites and web applications.

The whole point in a responsive website is that it will work and display adequately according to the user’s device. However, the fact it’s adapting means that the quality of UX is also potentially changing with it. It is important that any differences across devices must be logical and intuitive.

How is my responsive website’s UX?

Slip your feet into your customers’ shoes and think about how they might want to access your site.

Customers' shoesTest your website’s UX on all screen sizes and devices you intend to support, such as smartphones, tablets and desktop computers. Just remember that you don’t have the power to choose which devices you support – you must always, always go where your customers are. Remember, you can look at your web analytics to determine what devices are most commonly used by your customers.

For help with UX or responsive design, get in touch.

From Liverpool to New York City

Taxi! On Thursday this week we’re off to New York City to launch the new website of fashion and lifestyle production company, Red Stiletto Media.

Group Dane New YorkRed Stiletto Media is an award-winning media production company, focusing on the fashion and lifestyle industries. The company’s glittering portfolio includes some of the biggest names in fashion, lifestyle and PR, including People’s Revolution, Elizabeth Arden Red Door Spa, Douglas Hannant and Libertine.

We’ve designed and developed the new website, which boasts robust and user-friendly functionality with striking visual features and a strong brand identity. Beyond the launch of the new website, we’ve been appointed Red Stiletto Media’s digital marketing and communications partner. This pleases us greatly!

New York CityWe’re very proud to be based in Liverpool and hope that our relationship with a company based in New York City reinforces the message that Liverpool has a strong international offering, with world-class talent in digital communications.

We’re off to start packing our cases…

Stay posted for the link to the new website later this week!

Umbraco, we love you

So you’re looking for a content management system (CMS) for your website? At Group Dane, we usually recommend Umbraco to our clients.

Read on to find out more about Umbraco and why we love it so…

What is Umbraco?

Umbraco is a free, open-source CMS platform that helps web editors to quickly and easily update and publish content to their sites.

Currently, Umbraco is a privately held profit-making company with about 10 permanent staff, who are supported by an additional 15 volunteer developers.

How did it come about?

First developed by Niels Hartvig in 2000, it was released as open-source software in 2005. By 2009, it was widely considered to be one of the leading .Net-based open source CMSs around.

Who else uses it?

Umbraco is used by some of the biggest organisations in the world, including Peugeot, Heinz, Microsoft and Vogue.

umbraco clients

What sets it apart from competitors?

Umbraco is free and easy to use for both editors and .Net developers. Because it’s open-source, it thrives on collaboration, which means that anybody can submit their own bug fixes, features and extensions to be considered for inclusion in the CMS. This means it is quickly and constantly improving.

The diverse usage of the CMS and collaborative development effort means it’s highly flexible. Almost everything in Umbraco is customisable and extensions are available that can enhance the standard installation. These extensions are mainly provided by the community and most are free or available for a small charge.

Umbraco offers support via the community site Our Umbraco, which is not only huge (it has more than 55,000 registered users), it is also extremely knowledgeable. Many of its members are top notch developers keen to help and advise on all things Umbraco.

Although the CMS is free to use (and according to the Umbraco Corporation, it always will be), there are additional options you can opt in for, which include productivity enhancing add-ons. For a small fee, you can also add a support package to the CMS for guaranteed and professional help and bug fixing warranty.

Find out more

Hear it from the horse’s mouth at the official Umbraco website.

Group Dane is a Liverpool-based digital agency, with more than 15 years digital experience. Get in touch if you’d like to know what we can do for you, whether you need a new website/CMS or not.

Post by Louise, Head of Development.

Beautiful website with GSOH WLTM you…

We judge a good website a lot like we choose a partner. Looks, personality and sex appeal are all important. Oh, and a good sense of humour from time to time can be attractive too.

Looks

How many times have you been told not to judge a book by its cover? Well, the honest truth is that we all do it occasionally. Make sure you’re happy with the design you choose for your website because you could be stuck with it for quite a while. A good way of deciding if the design is right is to imagine yourself as your business and your homepage as a mirror. Take a good look, because to your customers your website is your business personified.

Personality

The old adage “content is king” is still true. You want to engage your visitors, so you need to connect with them through your words, images and videos. This content forms your voice, so speak up nice and clearly. Choose your words carefully and remember to lead the conversation in the right direction. Here’s your chance to humanise the website and establish or reinforce your brand personality.

Sex appeal

Ever heard the expression “sex sells”? When it comes to web development, sexiness is usually a winning ingredient. Using a fancy parallax or some clever jQuery might be just the features you need to beat your competitors in the sexiness stakes. Keeping up to date with the latest functionality on your website shows your visitors that you’re forward-thinking and fresh.

A word of warning though – don’t go overboard with the technical wizardry. Pick a few of your favourite technical features and try to hold back on using too many gimmicky tricks at any one time… remember it’s a functional website you’re looking for, not a circus!

When it comes to choosing the right website for your business, it’s not a quick thrill you’re after, it’s a serious long term relationship. So make sure you make choices that are right for your business now and in the foreseeable future.

For more information about improving the looks, personality or sex appeal of your website, get in touch with Group Dane.