Lead Generation – The Importance of User Experience

Sales companies, particularly in the inbound marketing arena, expend considerable time and resources to generate leads, working to draw prospects to the company’s website and to engage the visitor at least enough to gain contact information for future interaction. If the marketer’s lead generation efforts are successful in prompting a visit to the website, then the experience the visitor has on the site is absolutely crucial. If a visitor has a positive experience, the user is more likely to engage in further activity; however, if negative, the user will likely abandon the site and the marketer’s efforts and expense are all for naught.

User Experience – UX or UXD

Site visitors today are sophisticated and expect to be able to easily find their way around a website. If not, they’ll likely leave. User experience is a function of the design and content of the website and is often referred to as UX or UXD. It focuses on understanding the needs, values, capabilities and limitations, as well as taking into account the business or other goals and objectives of the enterprise sponsoring the site. It is a balance between (1) the context (business or other goals of the sponsor of the website); (2) the user needs and behavior; and (3) the content.

Morville’s User Experience Honeycomb

Peter Morville represented the factors that influence user experience design through his highly cited model of the User Experience Honeycomb, at the center of which is the element of valuable.

The honeycomb lays out the following elements in order for the web design and the information to provide a meaningful user experience.


        1. : The site should provide innovative solutions that are useful to the user, fulfilling the needs of the user whether informative, entertaining or a solution to a problem.



        1. : At the minimum, the site must be easy to use.



        1. : Beyond functionality, the site should connect with the emotions of the user through image, identity, brand, and other design elements.



        1. : The site must have the features that make it easy to navigate so that users can find and locate what they are looking for or need.



        1. : The features of the site must be within reach of users so they can access and comprehend the information and content without a lengthy learning curve even if disabled.



        1. : The content in the site must create trust and confidence on the part of the user. The

Stanford Web Credibility Project

        1.  has studied in depth specific factors contributing to a site’s credibility.



      1. . A site must deliver value to its sponsor as well as user, which is at the center of the honeycomb, whether by contributing to revenues and customer satisfaction or advancing some other enterprise goal.

As Morville points out, each enterprise has its own balance of context, content and users, which will define its priorities in the factors listed above. The model helps an enterprise to focus on specific aspects of a site to determine the trade offs in the elements most important to it.

However, with advancing technologies, two broad areas currently have a significant impact on user experience and now apply to virtually all websites – (1) access across multiple platforms especially mobile; and (2) speed of loading.

Multi Device Access – Mobile

The computing environment continues to expand particularly with the explosion in use of mobile devices and the age of “computing everywhere.” As the technology research firm Gartner points out, this will require increased attention to user experience design.

Websites must be easy to navigate no matter the screen size or type. Google recently began penalizing websites that are not optimized for mobile.

One approach to designing for multiple devices is responsive web design, which creates dynamic changes to the appearance of a website to adjust to the screen size of the viewing device. However, content and page elements reshuffle on the page, changing the design and look. This technique also sends the same code whether desktop or mobile, which can degrade performance on a smartphone with a slower connection.

An alternative technique is adaptive design where the website server detects the viewing device and then delivers batches of code keyed for the device. Regardless of the technical approach, the website design must present the user with a positive experience across platforms and on the smaller mobile screens.

Site Loading Speed

Site loading speed is another broad area that it essential to user experience for all websites. Websites have become larger and larger with more dense content such as videos and images. Some surveys indicate that most users have little patience and would leave a site if pages have not properly loaded in 6 to 10 seconds, and conversion rates were reduced by 7 percent for each second of delay in load time. Waiting for a page to load is one of the most frustrating experiences for users of the web.

Good user experience allows a user to move around a site easily. If a marketer has successfully encouraged visitors to a website to generate leads, the visitor must have a positive experience to stay on the site and become engaged. Morville’s well-known User Experience Honeycomb gives a clear picture of important factors in user experience design. While each enterprise will balance tradeoffs in emphasizing the various factors to enhance user experience on its website, current technologies require websites to be optimized for multiple platforms, especially mobile, and for speed of loading, both key factors in a user’s experience these days.

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