We write a great deal about ROI on our blog. We insist on measuring your website’s performance through analytics and event tracking to arrive at a tangible number. Today, we’re going to discuss an element that is unquatifiable and why it will either make or break your website. We’re going to discuss user experience, what it is, why it’s important and go over some examples.

What is user experience?

User experience can be defined by itself. It is the experience the user has while on your website. Did the page take too long to load. Were the slides uninformative and directionless? Was the owner’s kids plastered throughout? Was the site hideous? Was the customer even able to do what they needed to? Most user experiences are humdrum, but not terrible. This is your movie theatre website, your favorite restaurant’s site or your lawn guy’s webpage. A website that simply hands out information without giving the user an experience is forgotten until needed again. A great user experience is one that makes it amazingly easy for a visitor to accomplish what they wished to and then go tell their friends about it. It doesn’t have to be a completely immersive website. Creating a memorable and lovely experience can be very simple. It all comes down to design.

Why you should care.

There is an ever present war in the web community to dominate Google search. The content creation war rages and there are 50 websites in each city that sell the same service and expect the other 49 competitors to fail. How do you set yourself apart? What makes your company memorable? You can no longer doddle along, maintaining a half-baked web presence with outdated copy and outdated code. Companies that do will be forgotten, their visitors trading up to the brighter, shinier model that’s twice as fast.

If you don’t develop a user experience for your website. If you remain in the humdrum state, it shows a lack of caring for your visitors. And if you don’t care about them, they won’t care about you? This does not mean you need to keep a designer or developer on retainer, nor does it mean you must update your content every week. What it does mean, is that you need to start caring about how people interact with your website, smooth out the points of friction and throw something unique their way once in a while.

Great user experience has a snowball effect. You reach one person. They tell their friends. Pretty soon they’re returning to your site for more coolness and your shooting up in Google search. In come strangers, who tell their friends. If you stay current, awesome and up-to-date, you’ll never have to come down from this high. The best part, if you’re truly in tune with providing a great customer experience on your website, it permeates the rest of your business.

Who does this well?

MailchimpSquareSpaceZendeskPhotoJoJo to name a few.

Each is a well-designed environment that guides the customer through each interaction, while providing a unique experience. They mix in the latest tech trends with custom art or animations, to appear quaint, light-hearted and relatable. In summation, they appear professional and make you feel special.

Although user experience is technically unquantifiable, it can be seen in every successful companies website and culture. As website’s move from static sales pitches, to omni-channel experiences, providing a great user experience online will be instrumental in finding and retaining customers.