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Designing a Winning Online Experience: 8 Questions You Should Ask

Published: March 7, 2017

Author: Adrienne Abrams

It may seem obvious, but to create the best experience for your users, you need to understand who they are and what they need. This should be foundational, right? It’s amazing to see company after company that won’t reach its full potential because it doesn’t spend enough time truly understanding its users.

In our Guide to Responsive Design white paper, we apply the following list of questions to building a responsive site, but really, whether you are leaning towards responsive, adaptive, mobile-first, or even desktop only, knowing the answers to these will be imperative to creating the right user experience for your target segments:

  1. Who is our audience, and what do we want them to do? This is the foundational step and extremely important if you want to be successful. As with any design, it’s critical to know who your users are, what they are looking to achieve on your site, and what defines a successful interaction. Everything you do after should flow from the answers to these questions.
  2. What devices do you want to support? Remember that you don’t need to support everyone and everything – really think about your customers. There are always going to be outliers and edge cases, and you don’t necessarily need to cater to all of these. Be smart and make sure you are making the most of your resources.
  3. What device should you start with? The evolution of devices moved from desktop to mobile, thus this is generally the direction we design in. However, for some companies, it’ll make sense to start with mobile. As referenced above, this is mobile-first. Mobile-first does not imply abandoning desktop altogether; it means that you are designing with the mobile experience as the primary. You will still have a desktop experience, but the overall UX is driven by mobile. As mobile gains more market share, it’s important to note that not everyone needs to be mobile-first. It’s critical to evaluate your requirements, your users, where the traffic is coming from, etc., before you make such decisions. If your users are interacting with you mainly on the go, mobile-first may be the right strategy for you.
  4. Do you want your web and mobile experience to be unique? If so, do you have the resources to do so? You’re going to need to think this through thoroughly and weigh the pros and cons. You may feel your users need a different experience depending on where or how they are consuming content. If this is the case, you then need to consider whether or not this is scalable. Can you maintain independent experiences over time? Make sure you have a game plan for how you will execute on this into the future.
  5. How do you interact with your users? You can and should have multiple ways to reach your customers because customers typically consume differently per device. You need to understand what types of actions they’ll be taking. For example, are they using mobile purely for research? What devices are they purchasing on? How their actions vary will determine what kind of experience you need to create across different devices and how closely these experiences should mirror each other.
  6. Do you have an app? Again, this is important. Even if you want your users to predominantly use your app, you will most likely still need some kind of mobile and desktop experience. What those sites look like will vary based on what actions you want users to take. For example, an app like Angry Birds has associated mobile and desktop sites, but the main objective of these sites is to get users to download the app. On the other hand, Facebook and Twitter users need the ability to interact fully with most features on the desktop and mobile versions. The kind of experience you want your users to have, or your users require, will dictate what is right for you.
  7. What are the right tools? Some of the more common tools are Sketch, UXPin, and PSD. At 3Q, Adobe XD is one of our favorite tools; XD is still in beta, but we believe it’s going to be a hit. Here’s the link to a few XD tips.
  8. Are you adequately tracking and measuring your users’ actions to draw actionable insights? You need to turn over every rock to see how, what, and where your users are interacting. You can get a ton of insight from your analytics to see how users are currently consuming. However, this is evolving. Your user may not be purchasing on mobile because of the experience. User research, polls, surveys, etc., can give you first-hand feedback from your clients on how they want to interact with you.

If you don’t know the answers to all of these questions and don’t know where to start, you aren’t alone. Maybe you knew the answers in the past, but in a world of rapid change, it may be time to revisit them and note what, if anything, has changed. Either way, this is not something you can sit down and figure out in one afternoon; you need to think methodically about the overall UX and plot it out.
If you aren’t sure where to start, the 3Q Digital team combines experts in Decisions Sciences, CRO, UX, and Creative (as well as SEO, SEM, Social, Mobile, and Display advertising) to help determine who your ideal users are, appeal to them, and convert more through the user journey. Contact us today to find out how we can help.

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