These days there is a greater importance on user experience for startups. But it's not as simple as many may think. We spoke to a couple of startups who've had success in this area, to share their insights.
Joe Kekulawala is the Co-founder of FirstStep, a micro-investments startup, that offers an all mobile investment app experience targeted to millennials in Australia. We also hear from Carlo Pandian, SEO manager at wordbank, a provider of marketing localisation services.
How do you view user experience?
Joe: We think of user experience as an umbrella term for any interaction the public has with our product; be it the app, website or any interactive promotional material that we put out.
Carlo: User experience can be defined but it’s not something you can change if you don’t know the behaviour of your site visitors. Therefore, we advise to track user experience with Optimizely/Google Analytics, test different user interfaces to find out the one that fits your business goals (purchase, subscriptions, page views for online magazines)
In what ways have you tested your user experience?
Joe: Despite being a bootstrapped startup, we test our material with as many volunteers as we can before releasing it publicly. Believe it or not, universities and train stations are great places to meet people to discuss your product! We greatly value the feedback we get. The first impression is often the only impression that you get and we want to get it right. We are always tinkering with our material, trying to improve the customer interaction. Google analytics provides a wealth of information for free that you use to get an idea of how users interact with your website. We also have couple of client 'personas' and we build material specifically targeting the personas. Our online material for men aged 18-24 is quite different to that done for professional women aged 29-34.
Carlo: Firstly, we track user behaviour, consult a consumer panel, advise testing possibilities and implement the successful user interfaces. Apart from this, we know user experience is influenced by the trust that design can give (testimonials, review in first page), the copy on the call to action and images.
What impact has "mobilegeddon" had on the future of user experience?
Joe: Our product is an app and we've built our website for mobile viewing. Our website looks better on a smart phone compared to a desktop. More than 60% of people view our website on their smartphone or tablet. We expect this number to keep increasing.
Carlo: The non responsive design sites are at a threat if the majority of their visitors are using mobile to experience the site. For example a B2B site that is experience by officer worker may be not affected because it serve desktop users.
What simple steps can startups take improve user experience for their customers?
Joe: Based on our experience at FirstStep one suggestion would be to keep the message clear and simple. We've found that explainer videos are a great way to increase engagement with your product. Explainer video are usually whiteboard or cartoon animations that provide a succinct message in a couple of minutes, they aren't expensive to make. Make what you want your customer to do as easy as possible. The sign up process to start investing your loose change using the FirstStep app takes less than 2 minutes, and is different from any other financial app on the market. You could refer friends to join our app, via social media or email with just 3 clicks of the mouse.
Prior to launching our app; on our main landing page we had a 'join our waitlist' function. We highlighted one incentive for our target market just above where interested parties could sign up. We averaged just over 50 notifications of interest a week! This was even before we launched. In my experience pre launch waitlist via a website work for Startups, and they are a great way to gain traction with potential users.
Carlo: You don’t need a big budget for this. Firstly, implement Analytics tracking with events. Events could be a user compiling a form and leaving it or how long it watch a video. Second, create a UX test in a cafeteria involving the customer in asking them performing goals. Ask yourself if it’s a pain for them to find that button to purchase an item. Second, A/B test different pages of your website and find out which one is easier for the user and convince him to convert.
Gareth Bull is the Director of Bulldog Digital Media. Bulldog helps SMEs drive sales and increase brand awareness through social media and organic SEO.