10 User Experience Tips from the World’s Best Usability Scientists

10 User Experience Tips from the World’s Best Usability Scientists

We’re spoiled with information these days. Our free access to invaluable, actionable, practical advice has never been better and continues to improve daily.

And that’s a great thing for your SaaS business. Because it affords you the opportunity to read articles like this one which cherry pick the very best insights on user experience design from some of the industry’s most brilliant minds.

But hold on a second… what is “user experience” in the first place? Well, one prolific author and speaker on the subject, Robert Hoekman Jr, defines it as the following:

“User experience is a process of discovery, vision definition, strategy, planning, execution, measurement and iteration. It requires flexibility, and a willingness to be wrong until you are right.”

And it’s this succinct view of how to make your customer’s lives better that we’ll focus on today. Because if you can improve the lives of your users, you can increase your attention and retention rates, reduce abandonment, boost conversions and otherwise improve just about every other part of your product by improving your user experience design.

  1. Always use a progress bar for longer loading times
  2. Here’s a great example to start us off. This tip falls under the premise of “system status visibility”, the proper term for letting people know what’s going on at any given moment.

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    The basic idea is that, if a user is waiting for any length of time over 10 seconds, it’s important to have some kind of indicator showing them how much time is left to go. I mean, how long are they looking at? Like, enough time for a quick sip of coffee while the feature loads without losing valuable productivity time? Or more like enough time for an all out lunch break?

    If you fail to specify, the already fragile attention span of your user gets distracted by emails, social media and other notifications because they decide they’ll “come back to it when it’s finished loading.”

    ux tip 1

    Always let people know how much time is left to wait. If you want a little more inspiration for your loading bars, check out this article by Hongkiat.

    See here for the full article by Katie Sherwin published by Nielsen Norman Group

  3. Analyse user input with the appropriate methodology
  4. To improve your user experience, you must base decisions on user data by using the right analytics tools for the job. The best one for you depends largely on the type of business you run, and what stage of the customer experience you’re trying to improve. Here’s a chart with a quick overview:

    social login

    Honestly, this is a very involved subject, so check out the link below for the full article. The point is, you get varied outcomes from the same user input actions with different tools and it’s important to match these up accordingly.

    See here for the full article by Christian Rohrer, published by Nielsen Norman Group

  5. Simple, benefit oriented value proposition, brand and instructions
  6. At each stage of user interaction, your copy should be simple and benefit-oriented. Remember, by the time your customer enters your user interface (UI) for the first time, the sales process is already “complete”. But, in reality, it never really “ends”.

    At each moment of the user experience, the customer is asking themselves a question:

    “Is the time I’m spending here really worth it?”

    By ensuring that every headline, every instruction, and every subheading, is benefit-driven and delivered simply, you will get people to stay with you a lot longer.

    See here for the full study of Evernote’s onboarding by Sam Hulick’s Useronboard.com

  7. Implement user Onboarding to grow your community
  8. Onboarding is arguably the most overlooked aspect of UX, and this is especially true in the SaaS sector. It’s the process of changing a prospect into a full-time customer by successfully introducing them to your product and helping them receive the value that it’s supposed to deliver.

    After all, creating a product with value is one thing, but helping people understand and use it is another thing entirely. And that’s where onboarding comes in.

    social login

    You can see a great introduction to the subject by Paul Jarvis on the link below, but make sure you sign up to the myTips blog for the latest actionable onboarding strategies that will help you make more money.

    See here for the full article by Paul Jarvis

  9. State the Price to Give B2B Sites a Competitive Advantage
  10. In numerous studies carried out by Nielsen Norman Group, website visitors get frustrated and leave because a price isn’t quoted up front. NNG found that pricing is the top most-needed piece of information online, especially these days with product comparison being such a significant part of the buying process. Always show a price on your website and watch your bounce rate go down.
    There is an old axiom from the sales industry that says “never give a price until you’ve explained the benefits of the product”. Perhaps this is why it’s often scary to give the price upfront on your website. However this axiom no longer holds true.

    See here for the full study by Hoa Loranger, published on Nielsen Norman Group

  11. Provide specific and actionable error messages
  12. Everybody hates error messages, including your users. It might not be a nice idea that things can go wrong with your UI, but when they do, they need to be effectively addressed.

    social login

    In a study by NNG (link below), the average cost of a customer service call is around $5.50, which is net of expenses such as phone bills and agent salaries. On the other hand, if users can help themselves, the typical cost per call is only $0.10.

    Not only do actionable error messages improve the user experience, they can save you a lot of money in the long run.

    See here for the full article by Jen Cardello, published by Nielsen Norman Group

  13. Social Proof
  14. In 1984, Dr Robert Cialdini published a book called Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion. One of the “six key principles of persuasion” discovered in his scientific endeavors was social proof, a key reason why social media marketing is such a big deal these days. The basic idea is that people copy what they see others doing.

    And that means you should show off social proof of other people enjoying your product. Because then, people are more likely to follow the crowd and enjoy it too. Possible strategies include:

    • Keep your “Likes” and other social signals “above the fold” on your website
    • Publish customer testimonials
    • Implement small incentives to encourage people to leave more testimonials and social shares

    See here for the full article by David Travis, published on Smashing Magazine

  15. Storytelling
  16. Marketers have long since known about the power of the story. In the days before the Internet and teleconferencing, you could meet business owners face-to-face in stores, offices or meetings. Nowadays? Stories must be told so that people know that there are real live human beings they can connect to on an emotional level.

    Luckily, countless generations of storytellers have whittled the process down, and refined it into a tried and tested methodology. Here’s a diagram:

    social login

    Considering that no start-up is without plenty of “events”, it shouldn’t be too difficult to put together a few crises to keep readers hooked and create a compelling story.

    See here for the full article by Francisco Inchauste, published in Smashing Magazine

  17. User Experience optimized for different devices
  18. Since February of this year, Internet access in the U.S. via the use of mobile devices has overtaken that of personal computers. If your user experience isn’t responsive and optimized for different devices, you’re potentially alienating more than half of your audience. That’s a pretty scary statistic.

    Responsive design is easier to implement than it ever has been, so meet with your dev’ geeks right away.

    See here for the full article by Lyndon Cerejo, published on Smashing Magazine

  19. User experience optimized for your company’s marketing efforts
  20. Finally, and as Robert Hoekman, Jr. points out at the beginning of the article, user experience doesn’t just apply to when your customers are using your product. It also applies to the very first point of contact in your marketing.

    Take the time to do a full review of the congruence between your marketing material and your product. Does it deliver the same message from start to finish? Does it have the same consistent theme of copy style, logos and images?

    If not, it’s time to refine your material to create a clearer and more consistent image for your users, from start to finish, to help them identify with you more clearly. Have fun improving the lives of your users.

    See here for the full article by Kristin Low, published on Smashing Magazine

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