How to Make an Impactful First-Time User Experience

If designing a user experience (UX) isn’t your job, you may not realize the impact it has on almost every interaction you have with a product. Whether that product is physical or digital, there’s always an experience associated with using it.


While a good UX fits seamlessly in with a routine and a bad UX is frustrating, a truly impactful experience draws the user in with a story and efficiently delivers what they’re looking for while adding value at every step of the way. A solid UX respects the time of the user and leaves them feeling that whatever they did was worth their effort.


Why UX Is Important


A user experience can make or break the success of nearly any product, and that applies to off-line goods as well. From the unboxing of a physical product like a new phone to the first time visiting a website, the first impression is usually a lasting one.


Not only that, a new user is a skeptical one. They’re deciding very quickly if a certain website is going to help them or slow them down and bore them. From the first splash page, a well-designed UX will immediately demonstrate value that hooks in a new user.


Use Their Time Well


A good UX ultimately comes down to time, regardless of the product. Unboxing a new iPhone is an important part of the buying experience, but users are really more interested in powering it up and using it. The immaculate packaging that the iPhone comes in has the important role of drawing in a user, but it’s the way that the smartphone actually works which determines how happy a customer is — and how likely they are to remain with that product.


Although simply visiting a website requires far less investment, the principle is the same. No one wants to spend more time than they have to trying to find the information they want — and new users are notably impatient. In fact, with so many different options to go to, it’s likely that a user will just try a different website if they’re not finding what they’re looking for. Time spent parsing a website and hoping it might show up is considered time wasted.


UX to Tell a Story


Bullet points just aren’t that memorable or inspiring. Although they can convey information in a convenient way, humans are much more likely to remember a story than just plain facts.


Telling a story is not only more interesting and memorable, it can also draw a user closer to a brand, pique curiosity and make them feel personally vested in that success. From the very first page to opening an app for the first time, a user should immediately feel that they’re part of a larger story.


Experience Isn’t Always Linear


While it can be fun to design a website experience from the splash page forward, the reality is that first-time users don’t always enter a website from the home page. A UX that’s designed entirely in a linear fashion will be confusing and frustrating to a new user that enters a website six steps into the designed UX instead of the landing page.


Analyze Early, Analyze Often – Then Adjust


Even if your users aren’t submitting a survey every time they use your website, they’re still telling you in no uncertain terms what they like and dislike. Every click and move of the mouse adds another piece of data for analytics. Simply aggregating and working to understand what the data says can help pinpoint user frustrations, black holes and popular content. Paying attention to and understanding the cause of a high bounce rate, click-through rate and other KPIs can help hone a website to be more effective for its users — hopefully the goal of everyone on your team.


December 4, 2017