Two people working together on a design

 

Written by Jacob Terranova

 

User Experience (UX) matters more than ever. But what exactly is it? And why is it so important?

 

User experience is what separates a good website from a bad one. Think of it as customer service on your website. It gives families visiting your site everything they want and makes sure that they will come back to it.

 

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User Experience: Digital Customer Service  

The official definition, according to the International Organization for Standardization, is “a person’s perceptions and responses that result from the use or anticipated use of a product, system or service.”

 

Let’s imagine it this way. You’ve booked a stay at a hotel. When you get there, you find that the room you were promised isn’t available. On top of that, the sheets are dirty and the air conditioner doesn’t work. Even if the staff was extremely nice, you would probably want to look into the hotel down the street next time you visit.

 

That’s exactly what the user experience is all about. It’s simply making sure your online visitors have a great experience when interacting with your funeral home online. Think of it as your funeral home’s values and commitment to service — just on your website.

 

Why the User Experience Matters

Several years ago, just having a website was enough. Because the internet was a newer concept, people didn’t have many (if any) expectations when interacting with a business online. Therefore, the user experience wasn’t much of an issue.

 

But now the internet has become the main way that Baby Boomers and younger generations will first interact with a business. Let’s look at some numbers:

  • A visitor’s first impression of your website is 94% related to its design and layout. (Source)
  • A poorly designed, or outdated, website leads to less trust from a visitor. (Source)
  • Almost 50% of users feel frustrated or annoyed when a website is poorly optimized for mobile use. Even more (52%) said a bad mobile experience will mean they are less likely to engage a local business. (Source)
  • 40% of people will abandon a website that takes longer than 3 seconds to load. (Source)
  • Not having a clear navigation structure will cause people to abandon your website. It also hurts your SEO ranking. (Source)

Guiding Principles of a Good User Experience

A poor user experience means fewer people will use or come back to your website. And that means going to a competitor. How can you make sure your families have the best user experience possible online?

 

The best bet is to follow the guiding principles behind a good user experience. Peter Morville, a pioneer in the UX field, outlines what he refers to as the “user experience honeycomb.” In the center of the honeycomb, there’s the user’s value and meaningful experience. It’s surrounded by six core concepts that define the user’s experience. These are the core concepts you want to design an effective website around. They are:

 

Useful

The content on your website should be useful for families. It should give them all the information they want and need, especially important information like contact info and the services you offer.

 

Usable

The website must be easy to use for everyone (think Baby Boomers, Gen Xers, Millennials). Simplicity is key to getting the most engagement.

 

Desirable

This means a website with modern features — like social tribute walls or convenient payment options. It also means desirable branding. You want quality photos, logos, and a modern design that creates an emotional connection with families when they visit.

 

Findable

You want your website (and its content) to be easily found. This means having a layout that’s easy to navigate so families can find all the information they need right away (remember, the harder it is to find something, the more likely they are to leave your website). This also means making your website easy to find in the first place. That will require a strong SEO strategy. And design plays an important factor in SEO rankings.

 

Accessible

Again, you want a website that’s designed intuitively and is easy to use. This includes making your website just as accessible to anyone searching on a smartphone or mobile device as it would be on a desktop computer.

 

Credible

A great user experience is built around trust. Remember that first statistic? First impressions are based on design. And a poor or outdated design is the fastest way to hurt trust between your website and a potential client family.

 

By following these guiding principles for your website, you’ll be able to give your families a better user experience online.