When dealing with the issue of developing an e-commerce platform or, more simply, a corporate website, a common mistake is to attribute primary importance to the design of the graphical interface. What needs to be considered when developing or improving these web technologies? In a company that operates on the web, a valuable aspect of your business that should be considered is the user experience of your technology. Let’s see why it’s essential. After all, the User Interface (UI) represents the first interaction channel between the user and the product and service, making us think that a beautiful platform (or website) can guarantee quality.
However, the question goes far beyond graphic design. As we will discover in this article, it is the user experience that makes the difference: the ease of use of the platform means that, once the user’s interest has been aroused, they remain on the site, enjoy browsing it, and why not, remember this when it comes time to advise a friend. Here, therefore, are those few but fundamental concepts of UX (in English, User Experience) that can take our e-commerce to the next level, improving, on the one hand, the service to our customers and, on the other, the business.
Let’s Tidy Up: When It’s Experienced And When It’s The Interface
The exponential increase in e-commerce platforms and, consequently, in online sales has contributed to the aforementioned idealization of the UI as a panacea for all ills. Confused by the rapid and uncontrollable growth of websites, the less experienced have perhaps risked confusing the concept of User Experience with that of User Interface, putting these two worlds on the same level.
If, on the one hand, they were not mistaken – as it can undoubtedly be said that the UI is a relevant aspect of the user experience – it must equally certainly be recognized that the User Interface still remains only a particular element of a process multifaceted and complex operation. The UI is part – not all – of a story that begins well before interacting with the site and ends after completing the check-out. To discover this dynamic relationship in all its parts concerning the overall exchange between a user/customer and the company with its products or services, let’s first clarify what User experience is not.
Relationship Between User Interface And User Experience
The experience designed by the UX designer, who takes care of creating an engaging and effective navigation (in jargon, a “user-flow”), certainly makes use of the elements visible on the platform: buttons, colors, photos, texts, and other components with which the user interacts. But when the work on these elements concerns aesthetics, understood as an attractive, visually stimulating, and themed interface to adapt to the purpose and personality of the platform in question, we are talking about User Interface, the graphic layout of an application.
The graphic interface of e-commerce helps the user to carry out simple actions such as creating an account, adding a product to the cart, or completing the purchase by starting the check-out phase. But it is the arrangement of the elements themselves, how they function, their organization, and how they relate to each other that defines the user experience. A good UX is just that: simple, logical, and non-arbitrary navigation; it is determined by how much the user has the sensation of carrying out the tasks he sets for himself efficiently, that is, by how much he feels that interacting with the elements of our e-commerce is easy and intuitive.
Cart Abandonment Rate On The Web
Having clarified the distinction between UX and UI, let’s now see why UX is necessary for achieving the company’s goals. In this sense, we introduce the concept of “abandonment rate,” seeing what impacts the user’s loss of interest in continuing to browse.
The Abandonment Rate Of The Website But Above All… Of The E-Commerce Cart When Complete!
According to studies conducted by the Milan Polytechnic, slow loading, difficulty in the registration process, or finding a specific function are some reasons that lead the user to lose interest in the site. The abandonment rate of a full cart is also, in fact, a problem determined not only by “economic” reasons understood in a broad sense, such as too high a shipping cost or too slow delivery times, but also by the obligation to registration and, last but not least, by purely technical elements, such as the position of the button, its color, and call-to-action (the animation that calls for action) – not always easily intuitive or user-friendly.
UX Avoids Cart Abandonment
So, how do you ensure that your e-commerce does not suffer from a high cart abandonment rate? How to keep users on your website? You can work on several aspects to offer your users a better experience: observation, analysis, and investigation are the first three steps to implement (with due care).
Single Interviews, Focus Groups, Questionnaires, And Eye-Tracking: Observe
Among the classic observation tools, we find, first of all, the user questionnaires. Inexpensive to implement, questionnaires provide:
- Information on users’ habits
- Allowing for storing an enormous amount of data valid for correcting
- Enriching the browsing experience
Suppose you decide to proceed in this way. In that case, it should be remembered that there are rules for drafting a good questionnaire that helps to understand which form (open or closed questions, informal/formal language, …) gets the best feedback on their own e-commerce. Interviews with individual users are helpful if you have more time for analysis. If, on the one hand, this type of survey is costly in terms of creating a sufficiently large sample, on the other, it pays off with a high specificity of the answers collected.
The single interview can be transformed into a collective focus group: particularly involving the clients. This observation method makes it possible to unearth needs previously not considered by exploiting the interaction between the participants. Finally, let’s take a look at the eye-tracking tool. It is a method that traces the user’s eye movements and allows, in the data analysis phase, to understand which graphic or textual elements get the most attention and which, on the contrary, are ineffective for the company’s expectations.
User Tests: Investigate
It is helpful to proceed with a testing phase. Without forgetting the ethical issue and always clarifying to the tester that it is not he who is being investigated, but the tool, various types of tests can be submitted to end users/customers who have given their consent (which we will see in another article). There are dozens of tests, and the feedback collected is invaluable; however, the limit of this type of analysis is equally evident: it is necessary to have at least a working prototype of the product to be tested.
User Personas And User Journey Maps: Analyze
The tools mentioned in the previous paragraphs can be used separately or together, each belonging to a specific design phase. These activities make it possible to acquire valuable information, which, once analyzed, directs the phase of a possible implementation of the changes. To proceed with a correct and accurate analysis, User Personas and User Journeys Maps undoubtedly help. The former, which we can define as fake profiles of realistically existing people, collect the biographical, demographic, and habitual characteristics of an honest group of users: in this way, it becomes easier to focus attention on the attributes of one’s users, therefore on the type of experiences that we intend to make them live.
The second, representations of parts of the user-platform interaction, hypothesize processes of use of the digital product: which buttons will the user who navigates the e-commerce platform click? Which information will it read first? How much will our product avoid putting the user in a state of frustration? These are some questions that the User Journey Map answers graphically and schematically, allowing you to hypothesize different lines of development of the platform to find the most effective one.
Conclusion: A Good UX For A Functional E-Commerce
We have seen in this article where it comes from and what the work consists of to offer our customers an excellent online shopping experience. Improving the browsing experience of our platform is vital to ensure that the user intends to stay on the site, enjoy browsing it and complete the purchase. It is clear that the crux of the matter lies in the whole experiential process, not just in a beautiful graphical interface.
And it is the work on the UX that allows us to achieve this result. In conclusion, after describing what it consists of, we want to mention a different fundamental character of UX: it must be understood as a dynamic design process constantly evolving, which, as factors inside and outside the company change, is called to propose new changes. In a word, UX is a process that should always be supported.