Days of impersonal, chaotically-designed websites are over. The new era has begun, and it bows to no one, but customers. User Experience (UX) and Customer Experience (CX) are no longer a business’ 10th priority, but the absolute necessity to attract and then keep potential customers. Users no longer ignore bad design and non-intuitive interface in the name of gaining knowledge. We live in an era of information abundance, so if your website gives its users a headache, they will simply move on to your competition. Designing a great user and customer experience might do wonders for your company, and take it from ‘surviving’ to ‘thriving’ in a couple of months.
What actually is User Experience (UX) and how different is it from Customer Experience (CX)? User Experience focuses on how users experience our product (for example our website or app) and it prioritizes visual order and efficiency of information. Its main component is User Interface (UI), which is judged based on its usability, intuitiveness of navigation, learnability, information architecture, and visual hierarchy. UX’s goal is to meet users’ needs in a very efficient, yet engaging manner. Customer Experience, on the other hand, is defined by the users’ overall experience with a brand: from customer service and advertising to sales process and product delivery. It is possible to have excellent UX, and terrible CX, and vice versa. Market leaders, however, pay attention to both, as their combined power is enough to make your business customers’ favourite. In fact, according to Uxeria, 70% of online businesses face failure because of terrible usability. Users do not want to suffer scrolling your page, no matter how amazing your product is, and marketers around the world have realized that. Experience Dynamics prepared statistics, showing that 73% of companies that are yet to test their user experience will do so within the next year. Users want memorable experiences, not promises, so design your future listening to your customers’ needs and desires. What are the latest trends in UX and CX? How do Canadian and German markets adjust to the changing digital landscape? Are we about to witness an absolute reconstruction of the web architecture?
Modern layouts, clear interface, and smart plugins are some of the customers’ favourite things, but there is so much more to UX and CX than just looks. UX is designed to provide users with efficient solutions wrapped in a beautiful design, and developing technology makes the task easier as years go by. Today’s websites look like distant cousins of 2010’s ideal websites, as UX strategies have changed with the rise of smartphones and bots. What are some of the 2020 trends in UX and CX?
1. Optimization of website loading speed
From the moment that Google’s algorithms started to consider website loading speed an important factor in their website rating process, website optimization has been becoming increasingly popular, and for all good reasons. Google understood that bounce rates grow as loading time increases, so they started to rank slower websites lower. Time is money, and information is abundant, so users simply move onto the next website, if your website takes ages to load. They desire fast, efficient solutions, so sacrificing loading speed for beautiful design will not grant you their approval.
2. Mobile-friendly websites
In 2020, it is crucial to optimize websites for mobile usage. Statista’s research on mobile internet traffic in January 2020 shows that over 50% of web activity was done via mobile devices. Modern internet users have neither time, not patience to wait for loading pages: according to Toptal, 1 out of 5 mobile website sessions ends, if a page loads more than 3 minutes. In this day and age, refusal to optimize a website for mobile usage is the ultimate form of self-sabotage. Already in 2016, Google-owned Doubleclick reported that websites loading 5 seconds note 70% longer average sessions and 35% lower bounce rates that websites, which load 19 seconds (the average mobile site loading time in 2016). The importance of mobile optimization has only grown ever since, so be mobile-friendly to stay user-friendly.
3. Dark theme
Scientific research has shown that bright colours cause greater eye fatigue in the nighttime, so many websites started to move towards darker themes. With the technology available today, it is possible to simply adjust websites’ brightness to the changing rhythm of a day, but it is worth examining which theme is more suitable for your needs. Websites frequently visited early in a day, such as news sites or social media, tend to use bright colours, whereas most of the streaming services operate in the darker theme, as their peak traffic is generated in the evening.
4. The rise of collaboration tools
Good user experience and solid website development always go in pairs. Without a well-developed technical structure, there is a low chance for positive user experience. Nowadays, however, designers and developers collaborate as closely as ever. Thanks to tools such as Webflow, basic web development is becoming easier for user experience designers and it is turning into a team project, which greatly improves UX.
To craft a memorable Customer Experience (CX), add a generous dose of personalization! People are emotional creatures, and they prefer personalized experiences to standard marketing formulas. According to Accenture, 33% of customers resign from business services if they lack personalization. At the same time, 75% of consumers are more inclined to purchase from a company, which recommends items based on their purchases and knows their names. Adobe’s report on Digital Trends in 2020 shows that within a year, the number of businesses, which use Artificial Intelligence for on-site personalization, grew by 11% – from 26% in 2019 to 37% in early 2020. Thanks to emerging technological solutions, creating a personalized experience for your users will be easier than ever.
How are Canadian and German markets responding to the UX’s and CX’s growing importance? Canada seems to closely follow global trends: in LinkedIn’s 2020 report on Emerging Jobs for Canada, Experience Designer is listed as one of the top 10 jobs of the future. The report suggests that User and Customer Experience experts are especially sought after in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, Ottawa, and Calgary. One thing is sure: Canadian retail market leader, Walmart, improved their customer experience by personalizing the user experience and providing a more attractive visual representation of their products. As a result, their on-site revenue went up by 13%. In contrast to Canada, Germany seems to be less focused on UX, and more reluctant to adopt new trends. German companies prioritize usability and pay less attention to information architecture and visual hierarchy. Their focus on practicality manifests in a decent loading time – 2,6 seconds for a mobile website. In fact, in terms of Time to first byte (TTFB), which is used to check a server’s responsiveness, Germany performs better than Canada. 37,4% of German websites can boost fast-loading TTFB in their desktop version, compared to Canada’s 35,2%. For mobile usage, the gap is even greater: 33% of Canadian mobile websites load fast, in contrast to Germany’s 37,4 %. However, regarding the overall UX, experts tend to report that German websites often score poorly. All things considered, UX and CX are new powerful players in marketing games, because first impressions matter, and so does usability. The user-hostile environment is likely to kill the best business ideas. If you want your users to feel at home, make it easy for them to find the information they seek and decorate it with beautiful design and intuitive interface. Just as Walmart Canada discovered, a little improvement in customer experience can go a long way. Certainly, both Canada and Germany will eventually move towards the user-friendly web architecture, Canadians – perhaps – one step ahead of Germans.
Adobe’s Experience Index 2020 Digital Trends Report