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Great digital user experience is key to winning and keeping customers

Creating a great digital user experience is key to keeping customers and winning new ones

Increased ownership of personal mobile devices and unfettered Internet access has given rise to a new breed of consumers - arguably some of the most informed yet impatient in history.

Businesses seeking to meaningfully engage audiences and elevate themselves from the constant chatter of 24/7 news feeds and notification cycles have increasingly found themselves engaging and exploring the applications of User Experience (UX) design to enhance business growth. UX refers to a person's experience with a digital product or service.

Think about how Spotify builds its playlists, and the ongoing effort behind the scenes to sustain, enhance and improve a person's experience to keep them using the service. You've got UX and its sister skill set, User Interface (UI) design working in tandem to thank for that.

That's what this niche segment of design is capable of bringing to the table.

All good UX-led digital products starts by asking the right questions such as: "How can we help people reach their goals? We've offered something that makes them happy, but how can we delight them again? What can we do to get people to bring their friends back for more?"

Delighted users become happy creatures of habit, and the entire user journey of what is termed "habit loop" is predicated on building coherent UIs that make a user's journey seamlessly repeatable.

Nothing grows awareness quite like positive customer advocacy and user satisfaction. In today's socially connected world, you would have no qualms recommending positive experiences that feel (and look) good to your friends.

Some hard-won bits of wisdom private investment platform Fundnel has learnt from experience include:

FORM FOLLOWS FUNCTION

Businesses should focus on discovering and fulfilling the requirements of their target audience. Successfully assisting users to achieve their goals is more important than flourishes that do nothing to get them there.

AMPLIFY SIMPLICITY

Have you ever read any End User Licence Agreement in its entirety? A big part of a UX designer's job is to streamline information overload.

It's less about redacting and more about presenting key pieces of information first, thereafter following up with links to additional details. This measured approach will win you more brownie points than you can expect with users.

MINIMUM VIABLE PRODUCT

It sounds like a time-intensive process, but a well-tested prototype, or minimum viable product, has proven to be a time- and cost-effective way of learning what works and what's broken before significant resources are committed. Untested and unvalidated products can cost companies dearly in the long run.

CAREFULLY IMPROVED

A well-crafted product experience conveys quality that is seen, felt, shared, and paid for with confidence in the business.

Investment in UX/UI pays outsized financial and intangible dividends in the long run for any business looking to continue participating in the emerging digital open access economy we live in.

Plagued by legacy systems and complex structures designed to opaquely promote and sell a myriad services, the financial industry has come across as corporate, cold and intimidating in today's transparency-driven economy. Overuse of complicated terms wins them no points either.

The fintech revolution is being led by small, nimble groups who are underwriting the challenges of creating new and better products and service offerings for consumers, capturing considerable market share from the incumbents.

Great products are those that do one thing well first, before tackling other future tasks available to them, improving and evolving alongside their users, and acquiring new ones.

The writer is director of product experience and design at Fundnel. This article appeared in The Business Times yesterday.

BUSINESS & FINANCE