User experience is not just about your website

Paul Boag

As web designers and website owners we obsess about user experience. However, good user experience is about a lot more than having a great website.

Meet Jill. Jill is in the market to buy a reasonable quality digital SLR. She’s fed up with her point-and-shoot camera and wants something a little more sophisticated. However Jill doesn’t want to rush into a purchase as digital SLR’s are not cheap. Instead she has been researching the options online.

Jill holding her camera


Eventually she discovers a video review on YouTube for camera that looks perfect. The video has been produced by a company called “Professional Cameras”. The review was very thorough and provided her with all the information she required.

Search Engine Optimisation

Once settled on which camera to get Jill searches Google to find the best price. Among the search engine results she sees “Professional Cameras” again. They are not the cheapest, but because she was so impressed by the video she decides to take a look at their site.

The website

The website was incredibly useful. It was well-designed, easy-to-use, and answered all the questions she had about purchasing from “Professional Cameras”. However by this stage Jill was keen to get her hands on her new camera and didn’t want to wait for it to be delivered. She decided she was willing to pay a bit extra to buy it from her local Currys. She got in her car and drove into town.

Mobile website

Much to her disappointment none of her local shops stocked the particular camera she wanted. However she remembered that the “Professional Cameras” website said something about next day delivery for a small additional charge. Although there were other cameras in Currys she didn’t want to settle for second best. So while still in store she used her iPhone to connect to the “Professional Cameras” website. She was delighted to find that they had an easy-to-use mobile version of their site that made it incredibly straightforward for her to place an order. Within 2 minutes she was done and the camera was due to arrive next day.

Support forum

Jill excitedly waiting for the camera to be delivered the next day. As promised it arrived on time and she was over the moon. She spent most of the day out snapping pictures, but when she returned home that evening she discovered a problem. Unfortunately no matter how much she tried she could not get the camera to transfer photographs to her computer.

In desperation Jill returned to the “Professional Cameras” website and visited the support forum looking for help. Unfortunately she couldn’t find the answer she wanted and because it was outside business hours she was unable to contact the supplier.

Social media monitoring

In her frustration she posted a tweet expressing her dissatisfaction with “Professional Cameras” even though she knew that it probably was not their fault. She was just so disappointed.

On logging in the following morning Jill discovered that somebody from “Professional Cameras” had responded to her tweet apologising for the problem and suggesting that she either calls customer services or uses the live chat facility on their website.

Customer services

Jill decided to use the live chat feature because she hated talking on the phone. She was blown away by the customer service she received. They offered to replace the camera no questions asked. However they suggested that a software update may solve the problem. Using the features built into the live chat they took her to the appropriate page and showed her how to download the drivers. This solved the problem and Jill went awayhappy.

An ongoing relationship

Jill was so impressed by the service she received from “Professional Cameras” that she decided to like their Facebook page and tell her friends about the excellent service she had been given. Most importantly when she received future e-mails from the company suggesting alternative products that she might wish to consider she was not so quick to consign them to her junk folder. In fact it turns out that the e-mails she received were incredibly targeted and suggested a number of excellent accessories and provided her with tips on how to get the most out of her new camera.

The moral of the story

So why do I tell you the story of Jill? It is to demonstrate that users online relationship with a company extends far beyond the website. More importantly it is vital that the different aspects which make up this online relationship work well together. Traditionally website owners have employed a web designer to build their site, an SEO company for their search engine rankings and marketing people to deal with social media and e-mail. However often this can lead to a fragmented approach.

If we are really to provide customers with an exceptional user experience it is vitally important that we provide a unified experience which involves the various specialists working together in extremely close relationship. It is time to look beyond the website and see the larger picture that makes up a great user experience.

If you recognise that the mobile web is important and you need help deciding on a strategy, then book a mobile consultancy clinic.

Book a consultancy clinic or contact Rob about a more in-depth review.