How we live today drastically differed from how our parents did when they were growing up. Today, we are glued to our cell phones. Some of us, as much as we would not like to admit it, cannot live without these devices. Cell phones have truly become both a blessing and a curse for mankind and with this change came its dominance over its larger desktop counterparts. Read more about the influence of cellular devices here.
The surge of cell phone usage calls for a new type of marketing. According to Philip Kotler, an esteemed professor at Northwestern University and the author of Marketing 4.0, the new marketing in the digital age is about focusing on the people using the products rather than the products itself. It’s really focusing on the user experience, or UX portion of the sale. As opposed to before when the focus was on the physical products and its presentation, it is a different story now that a lot of products are virtual. This means that it is much more about how people interact with these products on their cellular devices.
So, all this talk about UX and user experience, but what really is user experience. In this article, we will talk about the relevance of this madness in as easy of terms as possible. We will take you through this complex topic in normal human words that are understandable. So, sit tight, strap in, we’re going for a ride!
What exactly is UX?
We’re sure that everyone has had an encounter with problems that our electronics has provided us with. This be as simple as clicking into links that are invalid. However, user experience is not just limited to electronics, it could apply to every product that people use. It is especially frustrating when things that are supposed to make our lives easier just gives us more problems. In the simplest of terms, a bad user experience pushes people away and a good user experience draws people in. This is something that happens to everyone every day, to people old and young, male or female.
So let’s just say someone is driving to work. This person’s name is Chris. He has just bought a new car too, and on his 45-minute commute to work, he wants to figure out how to set up his Bluetooth to listen to music to make his long commute seem short. Chris is driving on the highway and he is trying to get his phone to connect to Bluetooth so he can play some music and take calls. He can’t pull-over to fix his Bluetooth because he is already running late to work so he doesn’t stop and tries to fidget with the in-car entertainment system to figure out his problem.
Chris tries for many minutes and eventually gives up. Trying to figure out how to set up the Bluetooth is not worth him putting himself and everyone else on the road in danger when he diverts his attention to figure out the Bluetooth. He becomes very angry at the thought that his new car had failed him.
In this example, his car’s entertainment system causes Chris to become very distressed to start out his day. This product that was supposed to make his life easier became something that made his morning very difficult because he couldn’t easily navigate the system. This shows poor user experience because the entertainment system caused anger instead of the intended happiness. Chris will remember this when his friends in the future ask him about recommending a good car to buy.
Here’s another example, something that is very annoying and happens all the time. Let’s put you on the spot and use you as an example. Some random website that you’re on asks you to create an account, and so you continue to do so.
You try the first time, and you click the button to sign up. A big error bar pops up at the top of the screen saying that some of the information that you had entered is invalid, specifically that your password needs 1 capital letter.
You try a second time and re-enter all the information to go through the entire process again. Another error bar pops up this time telling you that this time you need at least two numbers in your password! You are already very annoyed at this point.
Third time’s a charm you think, and so you give the website another go. This time another error bar appears at the top, it says don’t forget to add one special character to strengthen your password. At this point you’re already not interested in this website anymore and you give up on trying to create an account, it’s just not worth it.
In this scenario, there was a negative user experience when trying to create an account to access a website’s services. This company now lost this customer because he cannot easily get to the services that he wants. Similarly, when this person’s friends asks him about this website, he will respond for them to stay away from it because of the poor experience that he had interacting with the sign-up page.
In both scenarios, the intended emotion that the user was supposed to feel was compromised and it affected the consumer’s opinion on the product.
And what does this mean?
All this talk explaining what user experience is, but what is the big deal you may ask. How one feels is actually an integral part in attracting and keeping customers. The internet is a great example to model this.
The graph below from the Harvard Business Report shows the difference between regular and highly satisfied customers.
To sum it up, the biggest jump in customer value comes when someone reaches the step of becoming fully connected and satisfied with a product. Getting there yields great rewards for the company; it is achieved with good user experience. The people that are fully connected and satisfied with a brand is a whole 70% more valuable in terms of spending and frequency of visits than their unemotionally connected counterparts. It literally pays to have people feel good about your product.
It’s clear that it’s either make your customers feel good or be eliminated by other competitors that have already learned this.
In a perfect world, everything stays the same forever and everyone lives happily after. This kind of fairy tale happy ending isn’t realistic, and most definitely is not what the world is like. Changing with the trends is hard, learning new things and applying is also hard. People tend to not like to change, but only by changing can one keep up, since everyone else has already moved on.
User experience is one of these cases, this concept not only applies to websites, applications across desktops and mobile devices, it also applies to every product that we use. From kitchen pans to televisions to even things as simple as umbrellas, every product creates some kind of response in a person. If this is such a common thing, then why hasn’t everyone gotten on board yet?
Just something to think about.
Interested in learning more about user experience or how to get started? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
David Leemon, Scott Magids, and Alan Zorfas, The New Science of Customer Emotions, Harvard Business Review, November 2015. (Last visited: 6 July 2017)
Roger Peng, User Experience and Value in Products - What Regression and Surrogate Variables can Teach Us, Simply Stats, 3 January 2017. (Last visited: 8 July 2017)
Usability Matters, 10 stats that demonstrate the ROI of UX, Usability Matters, 13 April 2017. (Last visited: 8 July 2017)