How to improve your online platform continually


You want to create the best user experience there is. And after the design and development process you want to make the platform a bit better every day. But how?

Being a UX Researcher at Mirabeau I strongly believe that you achieve the best user experience by observing your customers and analyzing both quantitative and qualitative data. Therefore, I believe in data-driven UX design. During the biggest Experience Design conference in Asia (IXDC) I was asked to host a workshop on this matter. The key takeaways, as reported by different attendants of the workshop, we published below. After translating it, of course.

 

How to improve your online platform continually

Why you should aim for Data-Driven Design

The difference between data-driven companies and non-data-driven companies is that the first ones are focusing on clients and projects in a sustainable way, because of the opportunities for continuous optimization in customer satisfaction, overall experience and conversion.

In order to improve continually, it is important to have measurable goals (KPIs) for your optimization roadmap. It’s important to create these goals in the very beginning of your project so that everyone in your team can work together towards these objectives – all for one goal. Once you have set up the goal, you can proceed to design and develop phases. But, you’ll have to decide how to set the phases towards reaching your goal in a measurable way. 

Four steps to optimizing your website

  1. Know what to measure
  2. Analyze your data
  3. Involve your users
  4. Always be testing for continuous optimization

1. Know what to measure

What is the overall goal? When will you achieve this goal? How do you measure the success of a goal? What is the purpose?

"Know what you want to measure 
and how you are going to measure it

Mind that an objective is not equal to the achievement or final success of it. For instance: the goal of a web shop is sales, but under the same goal there might be other, different success factors. Most successful online sales is about the amount of visit, then convert into the number of users' purchase. Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are set up to measure the goals. KPI’s are not equal to goals, but are a standard way to measure. You can set up your relative goals after defining the KPIs.

2. Gather and analyze your data

Data analysis is crucial: in this way the UX designer knows which parts need to be optimized.

"Use the tools to indicate where to optimize

Use your web page or website to run simple data analysis, for example using software like Hotjar, Baidu Analytics and Google Analytics also provide relevant software for data analysis. You can use them to discover where the problems are. After you find out the problem and you still do not understand it completely, the next step is to know what causes the problems, so now involve your users.

3. Involve your users

We need to listen to what the users are thinking, but moreover we should observe what they are doing. Instead of keep asking why, we should observe user behaviour and then ask them some main questions. We can choose mobile phones or computer screen to monitor remotely, even choose to obtain feedback randomly from people on the street. You do not need to have user research on a huge scale. It can be constructed by small elements. In the meanwhile, it makes the quantitative data more important since you understand more of the context.

"Involve end-users to find out why you need to optimize certain elements: observe behaviour! 

Ask the right questions: You should be focusing on goals, without asking biased or suggestive questions like “How is this meaningful for you?”, or questions that the users can only respond to by ‘yes’ or ‘no’: “Do you think this is helpful?” You should be asking more open questions and invite them to answer honestly and open.

4. And last but not least: always be testing for continuous optimization!

I cannot stress enough: optimization is a continuous cycle; therefore you should always be testing. Through A/B-testing, qualitative feedback, heatmap analysis and by using tools such as Hotjar, Usabilla and Optimizely, we constantly validate our optimizations and try to make them as significant as possible. Again and again and again.

Curious?

For those with a skilled Mandarin proficiency, read the original Chinese reviews of the workshop here and here. And please, do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions on the matter: 

E-mail Cyrille 

Lines&Lanes, as Mirabeau's business partner, arranged the communication, organisation and hosting at IXDC in China.