We’ve more or less come full circle in terms of how the internet was originally intended to be used: as a collaborative tool where relationships are established on a common platform. This translates into an online environment specifically created to cater for the needs of visitors; a visual and functional setting that not only makes it easy for them to interact with brands, but where they can feel comfortable doing so – a virtual space conducive to ongoing, mutually-profitable relationships.
The Korowa Anglican Girls’ School
In 2011 the Korowa Anglican Girls’ School, located in Melbourne, Australia, received an award for best overall user experience at the Australian Web Awards. The minutiae of factors that contributed to the website’s win are numerous. From an objective (and even layman’s) point of view, however, the fact that technology is united with design to address the needs of its target audiences – parents of school going children (primary decision-makers), and their children – makes it an effective online presence that will be referred to again and again, by both parents of prospective pupils, and those who already have their kids enrolled at the school.
User experience & audiences
UX Booth, a website dedicated to a community of User Experience professionals, defines user experience (or simply ‘U-X’) as ” the practice of influencing how a person uses and experiences a particular website.” It is a gestalt concept which incorporates seemingly disparate disciplines, with the ultimate aim of establishing a relationship with members of the target audience. In layman’s terms, it refers to visual design, website usability, information architecture and, of course, the website’s copy – elements that work together to create experiences which, when good enough, will be repeated by the user to establish a relationship with the brand.
Accurately defining target audiences is therefore an essential component of online success, and simplifies decision-making. Owners of successful websites have long realised that a website – content, function and look – is not about the business, but about the people who need what the business has to offer, and should therefore provide them with a platform where valuable, long-term relationships can be established.
Big business has realised the value of experiences
A 2009 study released by the Strativity group revealed that, of the 860 corporate executive participants, those who increased investment in areas directly related to customer experience enjoyed more customer satisfaction and subsequent referrals than their counterparts who chose to decrease investment. A similar study, completed in 2008 by software company Chordiant, surveyed 450 large organisations, finding that market share, retention, profitability, and customer satisfaction were directly related to customer experience management (CEM) performance.
How can small & medium business compete?
Despite smaller budgets and no CEM departments, it may be easier for smaller commercial entities to develop these valuable relationships; a smaller client-base, a reduced potential for managerial issues, and less red tape makes it easier to give audiences what they need, when they need it.
A website designed to fuse technology with the needs of audiences increases the potential for good experiences exponentially, and thereby also the potential for mutually-profitable long-term relationships.
Bangula’s branding department combines audience research with website design to deliver a functional online platform capable of creating good experiences which, over time, can translate to valuable relationships. Learn more about our branding and website design