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Make it or Break it: Why Your Startup's Online Experience Matters

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You know you've got a great product with a blossoming market, but your startup isn't growing the way you predicted. While startups can fail for many reasons, in too many cases, they fail because they haven't invested in optimizing their online user experience (UX).

UX Can Make or Break any Company, Especially a Startup

Even the best product or service won't save a company if no one can find/buy/receive it quickly and conveniently. Creating the problem are all the options that are available for use on a website page, and the bad design decisions that only add confusion, not clarity. Content (of course), buttons, images, font, colors, and more all can have a significant impact on how your users will experience your pages individually and your site as a whole. But it's the decisions you make - which do you need/want? Which should you use? Where should they be placed? - will all influence your site's overall UX.

Why UX Matters

The short answer: you can tell you have good UX design because your business is booming. The actual value of excellent UX is revealed when your company starts gaining customers, selling products, and receiving great reviews. However, those factors don't show up unless the UX is excellent in the first place; when sales are slow, many companies look to product design or delivery first and only review their online presence when they can't find problems in other areas of the business.

Failing to recognize the impact of bad UX is a fairly common problem, too. According to a study by AWS, more than one-third of all ecommerce opportunities are abandoned because of poor UX design (almost $1.5 trillion in 2019). Further, the experts polled stated that refocusing their effort on UX turned their organizations around economically, compelling them to make UX the primary focus of their business practices at all levels of their enterprise.

How Consumers Respond to Bad UX

If good UX design encourages growth, then bad UX design must discourage growth, which is exactly what the statistics reveal:

  • It takes only 0.05 seconds (50 milliseconds) for a user to determine that they like or don't like your website. And that decision is a gut reaction since there's no opportunity for a considered evaluation of the site or page within that short timespan. Ergo, a design that triggers positive gut reactions is your optimal goal.
  • More than a third of users (38%) will 'bounce off' (leave) a website if it has unattractive content or layouts. Those people who do hang on beyond the 0.05 seconds will still leave without a full exploration if the site doesn't please them in every way. From their point of view: "why stay at a site I don't like when there's a competitor at the next click who's done things better?"
  • The vast majority (88%) of online users won't return to a site if they've had a bad experience there before. So even when they stick through the 0.05 seconds and tolerate a less than pleasing setup, they'll still find another vendor if their overall impression is unfavorable, even if they did (finally) obtain their ultimate goal of purchasing the product or service.

The Elements of Great UX

So, what does make a great user experience? There's research on that, too:

  • Great UX design provides the consumer with a smooth and simple journey through the site, from an easy-to-understand landing page, through the choosing and purchasing options, and all the way to confirming the delivery details. A consistent and intuitive flow from the start to the finish of the customer's travels through the site respects their resources (time and money), as well as responds to their needs. And treating your customers with respect during the process is another way to improve their experience even before they've experienced the product.
  • Uncluttered content is also key. Whether you're displaying products, demonstrating services, or offering some other form of value, clearly presenting your imagery and text will help the consumer find what they're looking for and make their optimal choice.
  • Personalization is also growing as a critical UX metric. Keeping things local can provide added value, and technology these days can identify nearby resources that respond to user queries or can make suggestions for additional products or services based on prior interactions. Offering an interface that responds to specific consumer needs - large fonts, for example - demonstrates the investments made in meeting the customer on their terms.

Newly emerging technology can also be designed into any website, so long as it responds - again - to the user's situation:

  • Video content is becoming more popular, although large files that slow loading times can be offputting.
  • Voice-based interactions are also rising in popularity but may be attractive to only certain segments of the consumer population.

Your startup is built around a spectacular product that promises exception service to all of your target markets, but no one will find it if they're put off by their experience on your website. If you're concerned that the growth of your startup company isn't what it should be, perhaps the first investigation you need to make is into the quality of your user experience.