5 Easy Ways To Improve User Experience

You may have been hearing a lot about this whole UX, or user experience thing recently. People get geek-tastic about it with a vengeance, but really, there’s no reason to be intimidated.

Case in point – I recently attended an excellent seminar given by the guys over at More Better Labs, Abe and Jackson. These two presidentially named fellows kicked off the 2-day intensive by asking us to reengineer an experience or a product, the idea being that as a user, you already have plenty of ideas about how to have a better experience. No technical expertise necessary.

So I thought I’d take that thought-process and apply it to the framework of site or campaign development. If you want to optimize what you’re creating from a user-perspective, and you should, then here are 5 relatively painless ways you can do that.

1. Know Your Demo

Yes, I understand it can be difficult to accept when you’ve tried to build a site that appeals to sophisticated 25-32 year-olds, and you discover it’s resonating more with 15-year-old gamers. But try to put your feelings aside and accept what your metrics tell you. Different demos use sites differently, and you can’t create the best experience for them unless you actually know who they are.

2. Listen To Your Users

As I mentioned at the start of this post, most of us users have opinions. Don’t assume that users just don’t appreciate your refined sense of aesthetics if they’re telling you they don’t get it. If their user path is showing you they’re having a difficult time navigating your site, listen. Don’t let your ego hinder user experience.

3. Test Your Site

You don’t have to do any sort of dramatic or in-depth testing. Just grab someone who hasn’t worked on the project and watch how they interact with the site. You can even use a site like Feedback Roulette to have others weigh in on aspects of your site’s design and usability.

4. Filter Your Feedback

User testing is a great thing, but just remember that you don’t have to take every suggestion made. Filter the feedback based on the goals of your site. “I can’t figure out how to submit my entry,” is valid and helpful feedback. “I hate that shade of blue because my ex used to wear it constantly,” really isn’t.

5. Never Finish

As far as user experience is concerned, even the smallest tweaks can make a significant difference in the way users interact with your site. You can always consider it a work-in-progress, and maintain enough access that you can adjust as your metrics and feedback tell you what’s working, and what isn’t.

See, it’s not really that scary. Just be honest with yourself and even more honest with your users, and you’ll all be better off. Promise.

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