User Experience

One Metric for Testing a Successful User Experience

Measure the success of your UX efforts by improvements in your conversion rate.
One Metric for Testing a Successful User Experience
Image credit: REDPIXEL.PL | Shutterstock
Guest Writer
Co-founder of Techincon and Senior Business Consultant for Microsoft
6 min read
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

Apple employees are so trained to consider the end user that they prioritize any project that will affect the user’s experience. This user-centric tech giant proves with every new product release that its customers can’t wait to buy again and again.

Other companies would do well to prioritize the user experience as Apple does. Many try, so long as they get budget approval. Unfortunately, most companies don’t understand the right way to measure the effectiveness of their UX design -- not to mention how to improve it.

What determines UX success?

Standard metrics for UX don’t always deliver the insights businesses need to know. What looks sleek and straightforward to one person might be counterintuitive to another. Companies can get past this hurdle, but to do so, they must focus on the most meaningful metrics, not the most popular ones.

Related: User Experience Is the Most Important Metric You Aren't Measuring

Conversion rate is one of those important considerations. When a change to the website correlates with a higher conversion rate, that’s always a good sign. Forrester has reported that better UX design could increase your conversion rate by 400 percent. Other good UX metrics include average order value, system usability measurements and task performance indicators. But for this analysis, we will focus on how to optimize conversion rate.

Conversion rate optimization (CRO) is one of the most important tactics for online sellers. If 10 million people visit a page but only 1,000 of them buy something, that company has wasted its money on valueless traffic. While a good conversation rate is in the ballpark of 4 to 5 percent, the top 10 percent of advertisers on Google Ads are actually hitting an 11.45 percent account conversion rate.

A higher conversion rate proves the value of UX investments more so than any other metric. Whereas UX refers to the total website experience, CRO refers only to those parts of the experience that turn browsers into buyers. By tying UX changes to conversion rate improvements, companies can draw the line from UX to revenue, making it much easier to determine the ROI of their labors.

Better practices to boost conversions?

CRO and UX are closely related, but they aren’t identical. The prettiest, most easily navigable websites don’t always have the highest conversion rates. Follow these CRO best practices to enhance UX and generate more revenue from your website.

1. You can’t woo without knowing the who.

Marketers love to get into the weeds about CRO tactics, but the truth is, tactics are secondary to audience. The methods you use don’t matter if you don’t aim them at the right groups of people. Make sure you’re attracting qualified leads who will be interested in your product or service.

Find out everything you can about the members of your audience. What’s your primary traffic source? Why are they interested in your site? What do their user paths look like, and what motivates them to leave (or stay)? Try studying heat maps to see what website elements draw the most attention from your visitors, conducting surveys to get user feedback on functionality and using the bounce rate to see how long a page holds user interest.

Related: 23 Sure-Fire Conversion Rate Optimization Tactics for Striking Online Gold

True CRO relies on content that not only guides your audience members toward the outcome you want, but also delivers the information and experiences they want. Figure out the behavior of your users, and then problem solve based on those audience insights. If you’re getting a majority of clicks on your calendar menu button but there’s no opportunity to convert from that page, you know you need to add a call to action on the calendar.

2. Mobile lags make conversion rates sag.

Most businesses design their sites using desktop computers. That’s fine -- after all, it would be quite the challenge to build an entire site on a smartphone -- but mobile browsing and app use continue to eat into desktop and laptop share. Don’t ignore the 77 percent of Americans who own a smartphone.

Prioritize the mobile experience to convert users no matter how they encounter your site. Elite SEM, a top digital marketing agency, was able to improve the conversion rate of auto lease matchmaking service Swapalease by 30 percent just by switching the company’s focus to the mobile audience.

Fix your mobile experience by reducing loading times as much as possible. Mobile users, even more than desktop users, have little patience for lagging pages. Keep written content short and images mobile-friendly so that smartphone and tablet users never feel like they need to revisit the page on a computer to get the full story. And if you really want customers to convert, add a one-touch payment option to eliminate sales friction.

Related: 6 Ways to Quickly Improve Your Conversion Rate and Make More Money From Ecommerce

3. Conversion rates, like fine wine, get better with time.

Once you know your audience members and meet them on their mobile turf, you can start testing different optimization tactics.

Keep your A/B groups as similar as possible so you don’t have to question whether the UX changes were influenced by other factors. Randomize which of those users see which designs; that’ll give you an unbiased picture of the effectiveness of each approach. Use your CRO analysis to break down user touch points, and then use that information to inform your UX design.

Continue to refine as you learn new things from every iteration. You’ll notice that each test result is a chance to fine-tune your UX. Conversation rate will not skyrocket immediately as a result of one small change, but a scientific approach will improve your rates over time.

Don’t let UX trends dictate your strategy. Put CRO at the heart of your design, and follow these tips to translate your efforts into revenue.

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