It used to be a ubiquitous inquiry, asked of anyone with a business, a shop, any kind of commercial interest: Do you have a website?
Today, the question is almost obsolete, largely because most of us assume that every business, company, corporation or organization has an online presence, as most do. I would have said, “as all do”, but I know someone out there will search the loneliest recesses of retail to inform me of a company or store that has no website.
But I digress.
Today, it is all about how much the user experiences means to you, and for your website, what it delivers for your users/customers, and how it stacks up against your eCommerce or service providing competitors. This particular space is something that companies are investing in more than ever, looking to deliver the ultimate digital experience. Businesses are looking to expand their digital capabilities, while delivering clearer, faster, and more intuitive platforms for a wider audience and growing customer base.
As the digital landscape of eCommerce develops, changing at a rapid pace with every new technological advance or technically facilitated convenience, businesses are no longer just required to “have a website”, they simply must have an online destination that delivers.
Companies now need a site that is marketable because it is memorable. From browsing to buying, reading to subscribing, people are looking for seamless, enjoyable, intuitive and almost effortless experience...and with competitors just a click away, once they are gone, they are statistically unlikely to return...
So, what is a digital experience?
Put simply, it is any interaction between a user, be it a customer, partner, or even an employee, and a company, organization or service provider, an interaction that is done in the digital space, online. Before delivering this superior experience, it is important to plot a path, and ask a few questions, including:
- Who is our desired customer/audience?
- What do we want their digital experience to be?
- How do we get their attention and gain a competitive advantage?
- What is the best way to garner feedback on their experience?
- Can we measure real ROI from customer experience data?
And so, that gives any of us a framework within which to judge. In reality, the nature of our online experiences shapes our view of that company or organization as a whole, much the same as we would judge a supermarket if we went into the produce aisle and found rotting fruit and vegetables. Our opinion of any company starts with the design, how things look prima facie, but goes far beyond these initial reflections on aesthetics.
At our company, we know that a digital experience, or at least the first step to delivering that, starts with these immediate impression-building elements, but we also know that it goes deeper; if the user experience is not smooth from navigation through to transaction completion, means nothing. Functionality will always outrank visual finery, and there should be a seamless blend of both, not a compromise of one over the other.
As you can see below, it is all about the holistic approach, where integration, agility, and usability all play a keep part in the overall digital experience:
Having a gorgeous, inviting window display is all well and good, but if the store inside is disorganized and not able to sell you the products you need, what is the point? Any company website is a virtual shop window, and should be treated as such, but only if the site itself is able to offer a user experience that matches what is on show. For example, three essential components of any digital experience would be:
- Intuitive Navigation
- Consistent Branding
- Seamless Path from Browsing to Buying (essential for eCommerce)
- Visible Contact Details/Calls to Action
I am sure, even as you read this, that you can recall digital experiences that range from awful to amazing, sites where buying is seamless (Amazon, for example) and everything in-between.
Whether it is a broken link, a shopping cart that empties when you return to shop, a payment system that doesn’t work, or even a navigation system that is anything buy navigational. As consumer expectations rise, so must company’s ability to impress those customers, or potential customers, with their website experience.
Here at Appnovation we can and do, of course, build, design, maintain and offer 24/7 support for websites, but we are also acutely aware of our need to deliver digital solutions for clients, and digital experiences for their customers. Digital strategies are as important as development, that much has become more and more obvious.
Essentially, our minimum requirement is our clients’ maximum satisfaction, which can only be achieved if the end user is happy with their digital experience.