In a Digital World, Measuring User Experience Is Vital to Brand Health

User experience interface elements

On October 15, Amy Chowdry of Answer Lab presented tips for preventing your brand’s heinous death by UX (User Experience). Answer Lab’s stated expertise involves researching user interfaces for desktop to mobile to ensure success. The key questions Amy raised include:

  1. What’s the business impact of user experience?
  2. How does user experience impact the brand?
  3. How do you measure the impact of user experience?

The first case presented was of RidePal, a commuter service offered in the Bay Area. This service offers a Wi-Fi enabled commuting experience for all commuters, not just those working in the top Silicon Valley firms. An idea with great potential, RidePal’s website fails to deliver on that potential. According to the presenter, the website – especially the booking and route-tracking features – fail to deliver, which erodes the brand promise.

The impact to the business can be sizable, according to Amy. The graphic below illustrates potential lost revenue exceeding $1 million due to gaps between visiting and converting. If these miscues can be eliminated (e.g., poorly designed landing pages or order forms without a call to action) then conversion rates (and revenue) will grow.

Answer Lab User Exp Funnel

This trend is extending to the mobile experience, as Google has been reported to be adding mobile user experience to its page-ranking algorithm. According to its research, over 61% of mobile users that had a bad experience with a mobile site will not return to that site.

A McKinsey survey of 850 C-level executives highlights the difficulty of going digital. According to the study only 7% of organizations understand the value at stake. Measuring the impact is ever evolving. User experience is no longer simply ease of use, Amy said. Multiple dimensions now include ease of use, visual appeal, performance expectations versus delivery, level of usefulness, and personalization. Researchers need to move toward measuring these multiple dimensions. As user experience has evolved, it has grown to overlap with brand experience: measures of user experience are correlated with brand health measures.

How we measure UX is equally critical. Answer Lab’s research points out that it is imperative you query customers when they are engaged with the site. The relative importance of findings needs to be associated with business priorities; not all things need to be fixed. We must read and evaluate user comments in the light and context of the business. Evaluators need to be versed in the business and have user experience working knowledge. Lastly, these changes need to be measured over time. The dust needs to settle after the user experience is changed in order to assess the impact of these changes on the brand.

Greg Timpany directs the research efforts for Global Knowledge in Cary, North Carolina, and runs Anova Market Research. You can follow him on Twitter @DataDudeGreg.


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