The Importance of Planning for a Successful UX Strategy

  • Category: User Experience, eCommerce
  • By: Chris Gibson
  • May 23, 2019

Significantly improving the User Experience on a top ecommerce site should start with clear priorities and gathering insights... attempting to kick off without a plan (as many web developers seem to try and do) always fails.

Years of Phoenix Digital building world-class, ecommerce sites for clients both in the B2C and B2B industries, means we have a great deal of our own Intellectual Property and experience, that we share each time, to maximise UX for our client’s websites and ecommerce sites.

We recently covered the importance of applying the correct UX strategy to your e-commerce/website and the affect it will have, if achieved. Now we look at HOW, the correct UX strategy is identified.

Unfortunately, this is NOT ‘quick-fix’ territory.

The starting point:

As a rule of thumb, the User Experience strategy for new sites, or the improvement process for enhancements to existing sites, should follow this process:

  1. Insights/Research gathering
  2. Priorities clearly agreed
  3. Site changes/build applied to optimise the relevant User Journey(s) towards optimising the ‘priority goals’
  4. Testing
  5. Repeat until targets achieved

Behind the scenes of the process to optimise your User Experience strategy:

  1. Insights There are a fairly broad set of important online tools that can be applied to a web/e-commerce site, to gather the crucial insight into current user behaviour (where do they land, what do they do when there, for how long, most/least popular pages, conversion rates from pages/products/links etc), from; Heat Maps showing where users are actually hovering the mouse/looking within a page, software which measures the strongest/weakest mix of internal link journeys, how optimised landing pages are, and so on.

Understanding what Users are doing within the website/ecommerce site and in what numbers, must form the basis of any improvement strategy, in order to align with the next part of the process, ‘agreeing the priorities’ for what your UX strategy is aiming to achieve.

  1. Priorities There are a number of reasons why prioritisation of which goals you wish to achieve first with your UX strategy is so crucial: Improvements to User Journeys, mean changes. Change too much at once and regular visitors will be put off. Changes need testing. Again, change too much and can you actually be clear what the impact of any single change has had, when the results will be impacted by them all?

Prioritisation means focus. It allows changes to be measured, tweaked and optimised, before confidently moving on to the next one, without fear you’re spinning plates.

  1. Sites Changes/Updates When optimising the UX, the process should be directly aligned to your priorities. Sounds an obvious point but it is perfectly possible to be making on-page design/structural changes to a website that improves the User Experience but fails to increase the conversion rate to sales from a particular page.

  2. Testing Possibly the most important part of the process. Changes to an ecommerce site, will ALWAYS affect User behaviour. But has the change affected the User behaviour positively, and crucially, in line with your priorities?

Partnering with an experienced developer such as Phoenix Digital also should mean that you can expect to gain insight into consumer psychology, traits and patterns of behaviour. A very basic example of this would be structuring the Call To Actions on a page in a ‘Z or F shaped pattern’ to maximise their usage. A proven, scientific technique, which coupled with the Testing phase, means clients can generate significant momentum, when looking to achieve their UX goals.

  1. Repeat until targets achieved (and beyond) Tweaking page structures and internal links to optimise the UX and align with the prioritised goals of the website/ecommerce site, requires constant testing and repeat behaviour. Sometimes the most subtle and seemingly innocuous change, can produce dynamic behavioural changes.

No client wants to be burdened with constant reams of emails and reports outlining changes /affects /recommendations but at the same time need to be clear as to what is/isn’t working best (not least because there are times where offline decisions around factors such as incentives, price changes, product prioritisation etc maybe needed and applied, in order to drive particular user behaviour that is required).

Clear, transparent, non-technical and visually appealing reports are crucial to maintain the client’s crucial and on-going engagement, we find.