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  • Why Your Customer's Experience Matters

    How often do you ask the question "what experience does my web site give visitors?".  You'll be in a minority if you ask this question regularly and the chances are that you won't be measuring it.

    Why does user experience matter to you? It matters because your web site is representing your business in the online world.  For increasing numbers of businesses the web is the first place people get sight of them.  If your web site fails to give first time visitors a positive experience you are simply not going to get chance to do business with a very high percentage of people who find you on the web.  It therefore follows that user experience is really important.

    First User Impression Counts

    Looking at user experience is akin to peeling the layers of an onion.  The outer layer is the very first impression and first impressions count, a lot!

    Let me give you one example, and this is very common.  By nature many web site owners make decisions about deciding or changing visual aspects of a web site when they're viewing their site using a desktop or laptop.  The problem is that this view is likely to ignore how 30%+ of your visitors are viewing your site.  Today it's not uncommon to find sites where more than 50% of visitors are using smart phones or tablets.  These broad stats relate to the UK by the way.  In the US the percentages are higher.

    [[{"fid":"788","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Google Analytics Device Stats","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"alt":"Google Analytics Device Stats","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]
    Fig.1 - Example of visitor stats by device

    As you can see from the above snapshot taken from a Google Analytics account, more than 50% of visitors are using either a mobile phone or a tablet.  The bounce rate for mobile phone visitors is nearly 14 percentage points higher than the same stat for desktop users.  This should be a concern for this web site owner.  The web site in question is not mobile adaptive.

    Ignore Users At Your Peril

    The message is loud and clear.  If you ignore how a significant number of your site visitors look at your site you risk seeing a higher percentage of them move on to your competitors.  The advice is therefore, make sure you check what your analytics are telling you about what your visitors do when they first reach your site on different devices.  Most sites have Google Analytics script installed so to find this information select Audience>Mobile>Overview.

    If you don't have a mobile adaptive website or a mobile version of your web site you are likely to find that a higher percentage of people exit your site after visiting only one page, if they're using a mobile phone or tablet.  The other tell tail sign is they're likely to be spending less time on your site.  This will be because they're unimpressed with the mobile experience your site gives.  Your site may look great on a desktop or laptop but this will count for nothing if your site looks dated or unappealing on a mobile device.  A higher percentage of your visitors will simply move on, to your competitors.

    This layer of the user experience onion is a challenge for a very high number of web site owners, not least because there are still web sites being created that are not mobile adaptive.  It has to be a serious frustration for these web site owners and owners of sites that are perhaps only 12-18 months old.  The solution is rarely going to be cheap so before you snap decisions you must arm yourself with the answer to another question.  The question is "what will be my commercial gain if I do make my site work equally well across multiple types of device?".  Working out the answer to this question may save you money.

    Let me clear, just because your site isn't mobile adaptive doesn't mean you should take immediate action.  First of all check your site stats for different device users.  You'll see from the following stats that the visitors to this businesses web site are desktop users.

    [[{"fid":"789","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Google Analytics Device Stats for Low Mobile Visitors","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"alt":"Google Analytics Device Stats for Low Mobile Visitors","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]
    Fig. 2 - Visitor stats by device for niche sector business

    Although the bounce rate for mobile phone users is very high and time spent on the site is measured in seconds there is no commercial case for investing in an adaptive version of their site, at this point in time.  This demonstrates that just because the majority of internet users are turning to mobile devices for browsing content it is not necessarily going to be the case for your target audience.

    Time for one more real example of what your device stats can reveal to you.  The following business does have a mobile version of their site, as well as an adptive site for devices larger than mobile phones.

    [[{"fid":"790","view_mode":"default","fields":{"format":"default","field_file_image_alt_text[und][0][value]":"Google Analytics Device Stats for eCommerce Site","field_file_image_title_text[und][0][value]":""},"type":"media","attributes":{"alt":"Google Analytics Device Stats for eCommerce Site","class":"media-element file-default"}}]]

    It's pretty evident that the mobile version isn't giving visitors as good an experience as the tablet and desktop versions.  However, the percentage of mobile visitors is much lower so at this time it's not worth trying to fix.  What the stats do suggest is that this business needs to do more to increase the number of new visitors.

    User Experience Is Currently Influenced By Device Type, But This Won't Always Be The Case

    The outer layer of the customer experience onion isn't always about device types but at this particular time in the evolution of the web it is something that a great number of businesses do need to pay attention to.  The stats are there to check to see if your site is failing to give enough visitors a positive experience.  If it isn't you should determine what your commercial return will be if you implement changes to you site to address user experience weaknesses.

    If you already have an adaptive web site, or a mobile version of your site, you should still check the stats.  If your design approach was still focused on a desktop experience it's very likely that your mobile phone and tablet stats are not as positive as your desktop stats.

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    We're a digital agency based near Liverpool, UK.  We've been established since 2005.  We like to work closely with client's and value long term relationships. Our mission is to make sure our client's are squeezing the maximum from the investments they make in web based activities.

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