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Expert tips on UX design & how it can benefit small businesses

Words by
21 June, 2024
2 mins read

User experience design (UX) is a problem-solving discipline that focuses on identifying customer problems and creating solutions to address them through software. In simple terms, UX is about how it feels to use a product. Good UX ensures a product is both easy and enjoyable to use.

Prominent companies like Apple, Facebook, and Amazon illustrate how prioritizing excellent design can lead to superior products, more engaged customers, and a significant competitive edge.

However, you don’t need to be a Fortune 500 company to reap the benefits of UX design. Colman Walsh, founder and CEO of UX Design Institute , shares four ways UX can boost small businesses and startups without requiring a large investment of resources.

Identify deal breakers

A deal breaker is a critical question that must be answered before a customer is willing to complete a transaction. This doesn’t necessarily mean a sale but could involve registering interest in your product or signing up for a free trial.

To identify these deal breakers, qualitative research is essential. This key component of the UX design process helps businesses understand user problems and devise solutions. It involves three basic steps: talking to your customers, observing their interactions with your product, and collecting their feedback.

Ask yourself questions like: What information are customers seeking? Was it easy to find? Were any terms confusing? The goal is to uncover potential psychological barriers and address them with the right information.

For example, research with a mobile network provider revealed key deal breakers such as: How can I pay? When does my contract start? Are there additional costs? How fast is the broadband? Can I keep my phone number? Addressing these concerns often requires presenting information clearly rather than redesigning your site entirely.

Remove technical barriers

Focusing on UX allows you to identify and eliminate technical barriers—problems with site functionality or usability rather than content. These issues can include too many fields in a form or a confusing call to action.

Such small issues can frustrate potential customers, negatively affecting their perception of your brand. Remember, what seems obvious to you may be obscure to someone outside your organization. You are not your target audience.

Conducting usability testing doesn’t have to be expensive or time-consuming. It requires an open mind and neutrality. Avoid guiding users or asking leading questions. Simple, unbiased testing can reveal significant insights.

Improve your bottom line

When resources are limited, prioritizing spending effectively is crucial. Every business owner wants to know how decisions impact the bottom line. While investing in sales or marketing may seem like the quickest route to revenue, the customer journey is equally important.

Doubling your ad spend is beneficial, but if you direct customers to a suboptimal landing page or website, your conversion rate will suffer. Poor user experience not only damages credibility but also costs you potential customers.

Most small startups cannot afford a full-time UX designer, but that doesn’t mean they can’t benefit from UX expertise. Hiring an agency or freelancer to establish the fundamentals can yield significant returns on investment as your business grows.

Bridge the skills gap

The current skills gap in the UK has led to intense competition for talent, particularly in the tech industry. Small businesses often find themselves outbid by larger corporations with bigger budgets and more attractive benefit packages.

However, small businesses can leverage their agility and innovation. Demonstrating a commitment to UX design positions your brand as forward-thinking and can attract quality candidates. According to research by Inc., UX design was one of the most in-demand hard skills of 2019, a trend expected to continue.

Investing in upskilling current employees is a practical option for small business owners looking to improve their UX. Online UX courses can build your team’s skills and fulfill their need for professional growth, leading to better customer experiences and higher staff retention.

To sum it up

Embracing UX design can significantly benefit small businesses, enhancing customer satisfaction and loyalty while driving growth. Investing in understanding and improving the user experience is a strategic move that can set your business apart in a competitive market.

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Gareth Boyd

Who Design Today founder and editor. A design enthusiast in every area from digital to print and physical form.

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