Blood, sweat, pixels. Marketers and advertisers, you know why it’s worthwhile. We might feel as if we shouldn’t have to justify our own craft but it’s important to have facts and case studies that prove ROI to clients. Let’s call it a crash course in understanding the value of design and user experience.
We’ll start with a few reality checks.
1. First impressions really matter. The average goldfish has an attention span of only nine seconds. Believe it or not, longer than that of the average internet user. So you’ve got up to 8 seconds. UP TO. It actually takes no more than 50 milliseconds for users to form an opinion and decide whether or not they bounce.
2. Ninety-four percent of a website user’s first impressions are design related. Despite what you learned in middle school, we all judge books by their covers. Forty-two percent of shoppers base their opinion of a website on “overall design alone.”
3. Lastly, slow and steady doesn’t usually win the race. In fact, a 1 second delay in your site speed can result in a 7% decrease in conversions. Amazon.com even found that every 100 milliseconds of load time correlated to a 1% decrease in sales. Additionally, 64% of online shoppers admit to not completing a purchase because the website was too slow.
To quote our founder and CEO, Pete Sena, “Design is not art. Design is business … with artistic components.” While 52% of shoppers do not return to websites because of overall aesthetics, this judgment passed on poor design is indicative of lack of trust and assurance in overall experience. According to web credibility research from Stanford, 75% of users admit to making judgments about a company’s credibility based on their website’s design.
Good-looking websites just might pass the 8-second first-impression test. They are perceived as usable and trustworthy. Perceived is the keyword here. While this is important, it will only get your business so far. Good aesthetics will get your user clicking around. Good design is what creates a user experience that yields conversion.
Website design is similar to packaging design, both a means to providing insights about the service or good being sold and used to influence or persuade the consumer. Countless studies have been conducted throughout history to prove the effect packaging design has on the consumer’s perception of the product or service.
Cheskin, marketing research company, found that changes in packaging design impacted how consumers perceived quality, taste and other product attributes. These studies led to a theory stating that in the mind of the consumer, the product or service is a combination of the packaging and the actual product or service. A website is a company’s digital packaging, with the power to influence perceptions, spark affinity, build sentiment and provoke a profitable experience.
“DESIGN ISN’T HOW IT LOOKS. DESIGN IS HOW IT WORKS” - Steve Jobs
The best designers serve the needs of their users. Approximately 96% of visitors that come to your website are not ready to buy. They might be conducting research or just exploring, but consumers are not saying to themselves: “no matter what - no matter how bad my experience is - I am going to figure out how to complete this transaction.” Only 3% of surveyed buyers from companies of all sizes say that a provider’s website has “no influence whatsoever” on their purchase decision.
INFLUENCE ON PURCHASE INTENT
Eighty-nine percent of customers search the web before making a purchasing decision. It is the design and user experience that can make a lasting impression of the brand and product offerings, whether or not that customer is ready to try making a purchase on-site that day, or whether that customer is going to shop around and hopefully remember the ease of navigation and seamless on-site experience that she or he returns to a week later to complete the conversion.
Improved digital design and UX is one of the most effective ways to increase your consumer’s online intent to purchase. Here are a few case studies that show web designer’s sweat, blood and pixels literally paying off. For each case, specific UX data was collected from the existing site and then primary usability research was conducted to understand how the customers interacted with existing and proposed elements before enhancements were implemented based on analysis of findings. The results translated into dollars and proved the effectiveness of strategic design and importance of the overall investment.
Case Study 1: The American Heart Association launched their enhancements during a time of unfortunate “donor fatigue,” when other charitable organizations saw a decrease in donations. However, they still saw a 60% year-over-year increase in online donations while conducting no marketing or promotional campaigns to increase donations or drive visitors to the site. In addition, there was an increase in the number of monthly donors, an increase in average gift per donor, improved visitor satisfaction with the online donation process, increased likelihood to donate again and increased likelihood to recommend donating to others.
Case Study 2: La Quinta Hotels performed similar usability research and enhancements based on findings to see even more impressive success - a year-over-year revenue growth of 83%, a 48% increase in customer success, a 28% increase in customer satisfaction, a 17% likelihood to return and a 50% increase in brand affinity. The product is important but the delivery and packaging have potential to increase product perception, increase conversion rates and drive sales.
Case Study 3: O’Neill clothing company optimized its user experience for mobile by switching to a completely responsive digital design. After a 3 week period, on iPhones, conversions increased 65%, transactions increased 112% and revenue increased 101%. On Androids, conversions increased 407%, transactions increased 333% and revenue increased 591%.14
If you still would like to read about more success stories proving how design and UX translates into dollars, check out our case studies at digitalsurgeons.com/work or read about 14 other brand experiences here.
OPTIMIZING THE MOBILE EXPERIENCE
The last case study, examining O’Neil’s digital improvements, focused on the power of the mobile experience. The number of mobile-connected devices supposedly exceeded the number of people on earth at the end of 2014. Consumers associate their mobile devices with the seamless facilitation of tasks on the go and have expectations of capability and efficiency that if a company fails to meet, can cost a conversion.
Taking a look at consumer opinions on mobile-optimized websites, it’s expected by 67% that mobile-optimized sites run faster and by 54% that information should be easier to find. A criticism to be wary of, however, is that 54% of consumers say that mobile-optimized sites don’t give enough information. Only 27% of consumers say that if a site is not mobile-optimized, they leave for another site, but 31% admit to typically not knowing/realizing if the site is optimized and we would predict that percentage to be higher than consumers themselves are aware.
In the age of mobile marketing, everything that is true of the importance to overall design and UX on a desktop computer is even truer on a phone, for which the opportunities for conversions increase more and more each day.
LEVERAGING THE POWER OF APPS
Eighty-nine percent of time spent on mobile media is through apps. However, it’s important to not undermine the importance of responsive design and mobile-first UX investment and carefully interpret this data. “Facebook, games and utility apps will naturally have the greatest time spent and browser use is still significant by volume if not proportion.”
The user experience and design of apps is just as important as your existing website. The difference is that you have a really unique opportunity to reach people who already care about your brand. They have downloaded the app and are eager to hear from you. Don’t miss this chance to create an experience they will talk about, remain loyal to and not only continue to complete conversions but probably bring others who will do the same.
OTHER WAYS TO DIGITALLY INCREASE CONVERSIONS
There are many aspects to overall design and user experience. Some are more capable of separate implementation than others. Two methods of increasing conversions with statistics that are too impressive to disregard are the sharing of product benefits, social proof and credibility indicators and the effective sharing of product videos.
Websites that share credibility indicators, which can even include sharing the images and stories of trustworthy people, see up to a 144% improvement on landing pages. And product videos which are enjoyed by consumers increase brand associations by nearly 140% and purchase intent by 97%.
If you aren’t prepared for a complete design and UX overhaul just yet, Digital Surgeons can help maximize your credibility factors by communicating strategic messages that help consumers connect with your product and people. Digital Surgeons can also produce engaging brand videos to tell stories that drive results.
PROVEN RETURN ON INVESTMENT
The investment of strategic design and UX has proven return on investment across site performance, site exposure, sales and conversions, brand credibility and affinity. Increased loyalty and consumer satisfaction leads to overall revenue and conversion improvements. More efficient spending results in fewer support calls and effective deployment of resources.
As Frank Spillers, web and usability expert said: ‘Understanding "intention of return and return purchase" hedges on one action: the decision the user makes based on their experience with the site, during and immediately after the session.’
NOW LET YOUR CLIENT DECIDE FOR THEMSELVES
Your client has to make the choice but you’ve done your part by understanding the value of your blood and sweat and communicating how design and user experience work can push their business and brand forward.
 Journal of Business Research via ScienceDirect. Article: Consumer engagement in a virtual brand community: an exploratory analysis By Roderick J. Brodie, Ana Ilic, Biljana Juric, Linda Hollebeek