In this region digital presence – websites, mobile apps, intranets, touch screen kiosks, office automation solutions and EPR solutions – are either ‘Designed’ or most of the time only ‘Developed’ without a hint of design. When the term ‘designed’ is used, it usually refers to the aesthetics of the layout.
Many people have heard of the terms User Experience (UX) and Usability, and in the last year there has been an increase in the awareness in the region. In simple terms, Usability is a measure of the ease with which users can use a product, interface, or any other man-made object to achieve the assigned goal. User experience encompasses all aspects of the end-user’s interaction with the brand, its services, and its products as explained by UX guru Neilson Norman. So, from these definitions one can arguably say that Usability is part of the overall User Experience.
A good example would be buying a product from a local website.
The ease or difficultly in which you are able to use their website to find the product, get the information, place an order and pay online is Usability.
Whether your order reaches on time, its packaging, the response from their call centre executive, after-sale support and all other communication points build the overall user experience about the brand. So you can say that the Usability of a product is just a small part of the overall User Experience.
Both terms are new to this region and in the last few years there has been an internet boom with many e-commerce businesses coming up in the region. The importance of Usability and User experience but in reality, how many companies understand this importance? Have they remotely done something about the issue, and how are they measuring it? In terms of e-commerce usability there are a few quick checkpoints:
Conversions: Sites spend lot of money in bringing people to the site but in most cases they do not monitor the conversions from the homepage to the actual transactions and the steps where users dropout and most importantly, the reason behind this dropout.
Conversation: Successful e-commerce site creates a bond with the user by talking to them in their language. For all the errors, messages, instructions and everything that is written on the site.
Checkout your checkout: Data shows that most users dropout at the checkout stage. It could be because of many reasons. Payment options, Difficulty in filling out the registration form or the fact of an account to order, number of fields, error prevention or correction methods or just the navigation of the shopping cart.
Don’t develop the site, Design it: Most are developed by programmers. With due respect to these people one should understand that designing an interface is a specialized task. Let alone programmers even your print graphic designers or creative directors are not fully eligible to design an interface. Get professionals!
Effective product search and filters: If the user knows exactly what they’re looking for, they will opt to use a search instead of browsing through categories and filters. The search feature on the site should enable them to reach to the desired location and should have all relevant filters to let them refine their results and give more controls/freedom.
Apart from these there are other things like Good Customer Service/Support (online), Product images and description go a long way to ensure better Usability of the site.
About the Author
Amol Kadam, Creative Strategist & UX Director of Red Blue Blur Ideas (RBBi), the region’s first end-to-end User Experience (UX), Usability and User Interface (UI) Design agency says;
“If you take a broader look at digital, overall in this region we feel the most important issue is undelivered brand promise: Agencies and brands are very good in creating a brand and its personality with the whole communication around it. They create a perception about the brand with their services, products, physical environments, etc which in most cases is true to the brand promise. What they neglect or fail to deliver on are their digital interfaces. Their website, mobile app, OOH interfaces (ATM/kiosk, etc) lack the same personality and promise with fundamental design and usability problems”.