User interface, user experience and user engagement are related concepts that can be used to grow your business.

User engagement is critical to the success of companies that conduct all or part of their business online, but can be very difficult to achieve due to the subject nature of design choices. It can be measured and tested, however, and experienced developers tend to have learned many of the tricks of the trade. Before we get ahead of ourselves, it’s a good idea to lay out some definitions:

User Engagement
When discussion web projects, user engagement refers to an assessment of a user’s response to the user interface presented to them on a website or web application.

User interface (UI)
technically speaking, UI is the means by which a user and a computer system interact. More basically, UI refers to the design of your website and the structure put in place for visitors to use it.

User experience (UX)
UX refers to the overall experience a user has with a website or computer application, usually phrased in terms of their enjoyment or the ease of use.

These concepts are related in obvious ways and interact closely with one another. A better user experience will increase user engagement. While you may not be able to directly measure UX (unless you conduct a focus group or ask users to complete a survey), you can get a good idea of the quality of the user experience by looking at user engagement metrics. The specific metrics you will employ will vary based on your goals, which need to be determined before determining how you will measure success.

Measuring Engagement

What does engagement mean for your business or site? There’s a good chance engagement will be defined as more than visiting the site and clicking through a few pages. Certain activities may have greater value than others; for example, you might be more encouraged to see a visitor download a whitepaper or case study than simply visiting a blog post. Measurement for user engagement can get really complicated, but for the sake of this introductory article, some simple measurements you might use for websites are:

  • Daily, weekly, and monthly active users
  • Bounce rate
  • Pages per session
  • Repeat visits
  • Conversion (number of times the goal of your site has been achieved)

If you are considering a redesign of your site, be sure to record engagement metrics for your current site so that you can measure improvement with the new one. It’s not terribly uncommon for a business to launch a shiny new website only to find that they have inadvertently made it harder for visitors to complete their desired actions. If your new site is a part of a bigger shift in your business process, for example if you are adding eCommerce to your B2B sales channels, the before and after numbers will not be directly comparable but can be helpful nonetheless.

Guiding Engagement with Great UX

The simplest way to get visitors to engage with your site the way you want them to is to guide them into the desired actions with great design. Every page of your site should make clear what the next action is for the user. Many times this will take the form of a call-to-action (CTA) such as “find out more” or “add to cart”, but it’s not as simple as telling users what to do. In theory, every visit to a page on your site was done with some intention. If the customer is looking to find specific information about a product and they had reason to believe that information would appear on the page they have landed on, you need to deliver that information. Otherwise they are likely to get frustrated and exit the site before even considering clicking that button to buy you wanted them to. UX encompasses every aspect of your site, and every piece must be carefully considered. Product filters, for example, should be intuitive and familiar, with thoughtful attention to the different categories and attributes assigned to each product.

Be Instructive

Instructive design is especially important in instances where the desired action is not one that the user is necessarily familiar with. Being very direct and clear about what your site and/or page is meant to do should take precedent over having a complicated design that might look cool or interesting. Below you can see how Clarity has made using Jasper Air’s website simple and effective; any user landing on this page will easily understand the functional concept of the site and the business, and be able to easily navigate to whatever information or action they desire next.

Be Consistent

More specific functions of websites will also require specific direction for the user. This is especially true for customized web solutions that will not be familiar to the user from their use of other sites. For example, when Clarity built a custom project management portal for Saulsbury Industries (SI), it needed to be accessible to a wide range of users in different roles internal and external to the company. Clarity had already completed a complete redesign of their corporate website and in order to meet the user’s expectations the portal used a design consistent with the corporate site, making access seemingly seamless.

Clarity designed the UI to clearly show the steps required to post, view, download and subscribe to documents right on the page. This saves the user grief and SI’s staff lots of time fielding phone calls from confused users. Project management is all about process, and streamlining that process online requires very well thought out UI to be effective. In this case Clarity was able to build a site that automates much of the project management process, allowing for example notifications to the field engineers whenever corporate updates the design or agreement or posts a new document and on the other hand notifications to corporate when actions are taken on document such as getting a client’s signature. All of this made possible by creating a solid UI, making for a great user experience, and encouraging user engagement by making work easier for all potential users.

How Can Clarity Help?

Clarity offers a wide range of services, from eCommerce and integration to web and application development. Your web project, whatever it may be, will require expertise in the area of design to be successful. Clarity specializes in delivering on projects meant to improve and grow your business. We can make life easier on you and your customers. Clarity also specializes in custom scenarios that are common to B2B businesses. Get in touch today and let us show you what we can do!

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