Design and user experience.
In this chapter we cover the importance of Design and User Experience. How to properly educate your customer and things to consider when hiring a freelance designer.
But first, we're gonna watch this intro video with a bunch of stock art business owners and cool background music. So let's get to it!
One of the very first things to understand is the words “Design as a function”, which means it has to have a specific business function or a goal and not just look pretty.
Design has to sell, bring new customers, keep the existing customers, allow you to deliver your message/story and do it all at the same time.
In the early days of the internet, the majority of websites were either just text or were flooded by collages of gifs jumping out at you. Today design has evolved to serve very specific goals, to convert visitors to paying customers.
Businesses that rely on websites to bring in sales understand the importance of a beautiful design, they also constantly experiment, analyze and innovate to keep improving.
Let’s check it out on the actual example:
So you are a hair salon and you created a simple website that tells visitors about your business, customer reviews, showcases pictures of different hair styles, displays prices and it’s also a place where people can book a haircut appointment.
Booking an appointment takes 4 steps, you enter your personal information, then select the type of haircut, then select the date and then confirm it. However, customers who enter the website don’t automatically start booking the appointment.
So it’s really a 5 step process, let’s look at the customer journey.
- Discovery (Google, Google Maps, Yelp) - lets say 2000 Visitors see a business page or listing.
Customers first discover your haircut business through these main channels.
- Landing Page - now it’s 500 visitors
Those that clicked on the website link, land on the main page. (though it could be any page you choose). And start browsing the website for information and potentially make a decision to stay and book or leave and check another hair salon.
- Booking Page - Step 1 - Landing 200 visitors
Customers decide to give you a shot and book an appointment, they choose a type of haircut and a date
- Booking Page - Step 2 - 150 visitors
Here customers entering personal information
- Booking Page - Step 3 - 50 visitors
Here customers are confirming the booking.
Almost all types of businesses follow this customer journey which is called funnel. And the most important purpose of design is to make sure that 2000 visitors that saw business and visited the website will book the appointment. Now, that’s practically impossible to achieve.
You will never have 100% conversion of visitors to customers, but the end goal of your design changes to website, business listing on google and yelp and each step of the booking process is to improve those numbers.
Improving conversions just 10% on each of the steps will give you 23 extra customers or 46% more customers compared to before the changes. Imagine your business revenue was getting 50% of customers through the website? That’s 23% revenue increase by just improving your design and conversion rate.
Just because customers land on the main page, doesn’t mean they actually know what your website is about. Many businesses make 2 mistakes.
- Educating customers too much.
Flooding pages with text and content, trying to talk about anything and everything that is related to a business or service. And in the process, they lose a lot of customers who give up on trying to pinpoint what is actually relevant to their search and what is just noise.
Nobody likes reading long essays. So visitors end up not reading even the most important information about the business.
This scenario negatively impacts conversions and customer education.
- Educating customers too little
Have you heard of growth hacking? If you didn’t, it’s a process of extreme optimizations of funnels to get the most conversions at any and all costs. (maybe not that literal, but it’s pretty close).
One of the potential side effects of growth hacking is poor customer education. For example, instead of having a landing page and then starting the funnel by clicking “sign up”, you could technically skip the landing page and drop visitors right into the funnel without a warning, that way you avoid that first 50% drop of visitors between landing page and bookings step.
However, you are risking having customers who don’t know what they are buying, or they might assume they are getting something other than what you are selling. That will result in alot of complaints and returns and poor customer satisfaction.
That will inevitably hurt your brand.
Not too much and not too little!
Maintaining a perfect balance of just right information to allow visitors to quickly look through, get educated on the offer, prices and have obvious indicators on where to click to become a customer, while maintaining a visually beautiful and clean interface is a place where you want your design to be.
Hiring a designer
I understand that most business owners will have to seek some professional help when building a website.
You might hire a firm that already has a design team if they make a website for you, however these are some good questions to ask when evaluating if this candidate or firm is worth the money.
Don’t be afraid to ask hard business questions:
- What are some of the examples of designs you created?
- Have you ever created a website in a similar industry as mine?
- What is the conversion rate you have achieved with your design for those businesses?
- Have you done A/B testing with your designs and what were those results?
- How long will it take to get a draft, prototype and then finished version?
- Will you stay on to maintain the project and do improvements to get better conversions?
- What is the cost of the finished project and what is the cost of continuous improvements on the website and A/B testing of those changes.
When you finally decided to hire a designer, make sure to write a contractor agreement where it says that:
- You own those designs
- How long project lasts
- Break it into milestones (first draft, version 1, final corrections)
- What happens if work is never completed (or if it’s not completed on time)
Pay only for each milestone, never pay in advance!
Once you find a designer you like, stick around them. It’s hard to find a reliable freelancer who delivers on tasks and dates scheduled, be understanding of slight delay in deadlines, however never let that slip out of control.
I had freelancers who were constantly pushing to delay and as a result the project was late by months. It’s best to fire those and find someone else.
Let’s summarize everything we talked about in this chapter.
- We talked about the purpose of design
- User conversion funnels
- Customer Education
- Hiring a Designer
Congratulations. You have completed the Design and Customer experience chapter and now know a thing or two on Design and its purpose.