“There are so many little things that can improve your UX that might seem obvious but which are very difficult to learn from customer feedback.”

We look at what SMEs need to know in order to come up with a great strategy for boosting their online presence.

Recently named Best New Startup in the StartupSmart Awards’ fifth annual ceremony, Living Room of Satoshi is a web-based service that allows users to pay any BPAY bill with bitcoin and is a business that revolves around creating a great experience for users, according to founder Daniel Alexiuc, who shares some of his insights for building a great site.

Understand the relevant terminology

User experience (UX) refers to the overall experience your customers have with your organisation and your product, says Alexiuc, while the user interface (UI) is about how the product is laid out and each screen is designed.

“For Living Room of Satoshi, a large part of that experience comes from the UI – the pages, visual style and physical controls on our website and mobile apps. But it also involves non-UI features like the tone of text/content in emails, the small frustrations or joys your customers can get from the way processes flow and the implied feeling of quality that comes from attention to small details.”

When it comes to web design, Alexiuc recommends using a modern, single-page app architecture at the very least.

“Customers are used to slick, JavaScript-heavy sites, but don’t like waiting for pages to load. Starting with a well-defined RESTful [representational state transfer] API will allow you to be flexible with your UI choices across web, mobile and customer API [application programming interface] interfaces.

“A RESTful API provides different kinds of applications with data formatted in a standard way, relying on the inbuilt architecture of the World Wide Web, rather than any other data scheme… It allows UI concerns to be kept strictly separate from the way your data is structured and stored, and is flexible, since the language of the web is fairly ubiquitous.”

Call in the experts: professional or personal

If there’s room in your budget, hire a UX expert to give your site a once over, and involve them in the design and build process, says Alexiuc.

“There are so many little things that can improve your UX that might seem obvious but which are very difficult to learn from customer feedback.”

Remember, website user experience factors can affect your search engine rankings so it’s important to get this right. If you simply can’t afford external expertise, ask a friend or family member to act like a customer and use your service from start to finish – from selecting a product or service to completing checkout, or searching for a specific piece of information.

Ask them to make a note of everything they like and dislike – the elements that were clear, and the processes that could benefit from being refined.

“This feedback is gold,” says Alexiuc.

Make the user’s life easy

“The phrase ‘gradual engagement’ was coined by design guru Luke Wroblewski and is a principle that permeates our design,” says Alexiuc.

“You’ve probably experienced this many times: you come across a new web service and the first thing that greets you is a sign-up form… Instead of that awful experience, try to entice customers to gradually interact with your application without requiring anything from them.”

Instead, Alexiuc suggests you try to gather information from users slowly and in meaningful ways, as you educate them about the benefits of your products or services.

“Another feature we’ve implemented is a password-less login. The username and password is one of those ubiquitous unsolved UX problems, and we’re convinced that there must be a better way.”



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