Recently New Media Age asked me to comment on the importance of usability, specifically across multiple channels. To most of us, that means mobile and online! Below you’ll find my thoughts on this.
What are some of the key areas that usability can affect in digital marketing?
Usability is everything in digital marketing where a digital product or service is involved. There is very little point in optimising your acquisition costs if you are not optimising your conversion ratio through optimising usability.
What challenges does the growing number of mobile devices pose in terms of usability – what is the best approach to ensure a smooth user experience across devices?
One year ago, a brands biggest focus should have been having a mobile optimised site. The fact that so many still do not have this is rather worrying for UK marketers. A staggering 79% at the last estimate are not optimised for mobile despite data suggesting mobile will overtake desktop for internet usage by 2015. The clock is ticking!
But for those that do have mobile optimisation, usability now means delivering the seamless experience that users expect across platforms. As cookies alone will not yet allow marketers to identify the same user across platforms the answer is surely to create a compelling value proposition for registration and use shared cross platform registration data to provide a relevant and contextualised experience to a given user, whatever device they happen to be using at that moment.
How has the role of usability and user experience evolved over the past year, and how is it being integrated – both agency, and client side?
The role has expanded as tools like eye tracking have become slightly more affordable, but chiefly because of the increasing cost per acquisition in cluttered media environments and thus the need to increase conversion.
The take up and application of such techniques appears to be a little overlooked by digital creative agencies and perhaps rightly so – the best place for a UX team is most definitely client side where the team will have the proper connections to the web development pipeline to implement their recommendations and MVT tests.
As alluded to earlier, UX importance becomes more pronounced as cost of acquisition increases, for example general media inflation in the year of the olympics or lower disposable income meaning it’s harder to convert users to purchase.
Do you feel usability should be taking more seriously, or is the industry already recognising its value in the digital mix?
It needs to be taken more seriously. I would like to see a day where brands in search of revenue growth first look to increase conversion of their existing traffic, or increase the yield (basket value) of existing conversions, before splashing out to drive more traffic to the top of the funnel. Surely usability should be the first port of call, followed by upweighted acquisition, after all acquistion is only one aspect of the holy trinity for marketers; acquisition, conversion and retention all being optimised is what leads to massive uplifts in traffic, conversions, recommendation, yield per user, and ultimately, the bottom line.