A better customer experience can be worth millions in annual revenue (source: Forrester). Following a proper customer experience design process prevents re-work and maximises opportunities to create customer-focused (and sales-focused) solutions. Here’s an overview of the customer experience design roadmap for a website or web application.
- Customer research: Talk to people within the target audience about their needs. Ask them the right questions about how they research, try and buy. Study relevant data (search data, purchase data, demographics) and understand the buying process or customer journey people undertake.
- Customer journey map: Map the buying process from research > trial > purchase to illustrate the time people take, their sources of influence and their touchpoints during the decision-making process. Touch points include online (search, reviews, social media) and offline (conversations, phone calls, print media). In particular, search data can be decoded to understand buying patterns and language.
- Information architecture: Business goals and customer needs define content requirements. A card-sorting activity can be used to discover how customers expect content to be grouped together. Search terms and customer terminology can be baked into the online architecture for better user understanding and search benefits.
- Prototype: Create wireframes, or basic screen layouts, using real copy and calls to action. Quick decisions about wireframe concepts, layouts or architecture can be made by sourcing user opinions with online tools. Join the wireframes together with links and clicks to represent typical customer journeys. This ‘dynamic set of wireframes’ is the most basic of prototypes. Identify goals/conversions/actions for the target audience to take for each journey (e.g. sign up to a service or add items to a cart and checkout).
- Test with the target audience: Get people using the prototype and watch how they go about their tasks and achieve the goals.
- Iterate: Remove the things blocking conversion, and make adjustments based on feedback, and re-test.
- Test usability with the target audience: Undertake an eyetracking and usability study to more closely examine people using the tool and listen to their feedback. Change the tool based on usability issues and customer comprehension.
- Iterate: Remove the things blocking conversion and re-test. Repeat until it’s working.
- Launch: Complete the design and build based on a tested and well-performing prototype. Demos and testing weekly or fortnightly during development are good, and minor user experience adjustments can be made as development progresses. Launch, and closely measure and monitor the achievement of the website’s goals to continuously improve.
Then, market the website via paid, owned and earned media, and tweak the media mix and achieve the most effective combinations (analytics will help you understand performance).
Learn more about the ROI of user/customer experience in this video by Human Factors International, or read about becoming a customer experience-driven business at Harvard Business Review.