It’s fair to say that everything in the digital marketing industry over the last few years has been dominated by talk of either content or SEO. Without taking away from the importance of either element, it does seem that for many marketers – and business owners that are directly involved with marketing – especially those with little experience or knowledge of user experience (UX), it has fallen by the wayside and been increasingly forgotten about.
UX isn’t a separate entity to your overall digital strategy, it should be the glue that binds it all together. While a great deal of UX comes down to design, marketers don’t need to have design skills – more of an eye for design, and certainly an appreciation for it, because ultimately, great UX is a valuable asset in the digital age. However, that said UX isn’t purely about design, it also heavily relies on functionality.
So, just what is UX? It sounds complicated, but it comes down to the overall user experience across all of a brand’s digital and traditional touch points. Ideally, these touch points need to be seamless and consistent.
In reality, most websites visitors will decide within seconds if they want to continue on your site, or whether they retrace their steps – so the UX stakes are high.
User experience requires marketers to analyse how customers interact with a brand, product or service when it comes to awareness and consideration, moving onto conversion and finally retention. By evaluating these customer interactions, we can fully understand the customer journey from start to finish.
You can define a great user experience by simplicity, usability, functionality, navigation, value and of course, design. Below, I have put together some areas whereby UX should be carefully considered by marketers and integration into content marketing and SEO efforts.
Even the threat of Googles ‘mobile-geddon’ didn’t do much to drive the uptake of mobile friendly sites.
In a world where 37 million people in the UK alone own a smartphone, and 57% of users say that they wouldn’t recommend a business with a poorly designed mobile site, there were still around only 30% of businesses that had mobile-friendly sites reported in August 2016. This is one sure fire way to bring down the level of user experience that you are offering your audience, as well as making you irrelevant, and soon extinct from search results altogether.
To put it into perspective, 74% of people are more likely to revisit a site when it is optimised for mobile and 61% of consumers hold those companies that have provided a positive mobile experience, in far higher regard.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that video content has been huge this year – it has been key for brand storytelling and delivering valuable information. A report by AOL found that the volume of videos views has increased by 50% since 2015.
But simply using video isn’t enough, it has to be of a high standard, with 58% of consumers admitting that they will not watch a poorly produced video all the way through. And 63% said they would only share video content if it was of high quality.
So, with this in mind, how do you maintain a high level of UX while implementing video content?
First off, use your SEO knowledge to make it easy to find; using platforms such as YouTube, label your videos clearly using relevant keywords (without stuffing!!), keep it short and on topic, and make it easy to share with social buttons.
More technical aspects that improve the UX include ensuring that you have enough hosting space to support video content, making it faster for your audience to watch them, and shrinking videos so that those with questionable internet speeds can still watch them…otherwise watch view count drop significantly.
As human being, we love images, and our brains can process images 60,000 times faster than text. In fact, businesses that have increased the number, or the size of images used on their website have seen a vast improvement in their conversion rate.
However, it’s not a case of just adding images and watching the magic happen, because if you haven’t taken the time to optimise your images, then your website load speed is going to significantly increase, causing your bounce rate to rise and meaning your work in sourcing images is null and void.
Carousels have been common for a long time and can be a great part of a site’s design, IF they have been developed carefully. The point of this type of header is to intrigue and engage users, pointing them in the direction of the content they want quickly and efficiently.
The optimal number of slides in a carousel is five, use less and there won’t be enough options and using more could overwhelm the user. Ensure that the headline for each slide are clear and concise, summing up, what content the link is taking the user too, and ensure that the ‘next’ and ‘previous’ arrows are bold and accessible.
This information should be incredibly easy to find on each one of your touchpoints, from website to social media, email footers and everything in-between.
Consumers want to know that they are dealing with a real company, and if you make your contact details hard to find, not only is it going to leave a bad taste in your audience’s mouth, it means that they probably won’t want to continue engaging with the brand. This will ultimately mean that you need to ramp up your reputation management as you are vulnerable to negative reviews and comments on social media – creating more work.
Put your contact details at the top, right-hand of your website, where the user’s eyes are automatically drawn to, and make sure theta they are highlighted on all other platforms and touchpoints to increase your accessibility.
By ensuring that you are delivering a consistent and seamless integration across all of your channels and consumer interaction, you make your business a more viable option in terms of competition and relevance. While efforts are focused on the quality of content, and jumping on the latest marketing trend, you should ensure the new additions to a site or campaign strategy is recognisable, simple and functional above all else.