Is it UX or CX? Does it really matter?
A lot of web designers focus their time designing for User Experience (UX), but not necessarily for Customer Experience (CX).
That’s because the issue of CX is often far more complicated, and involves more than just pure website development.
But it’s also an integral part of design. If you’re only designing for UX, but missing the larger picture of the customer journey, you will miss out on a core component of your audience base.
Not to mention you’ll cut off your conversions.
Here’s what every web designer and developer should know about building a site with CX (and UX) in mind.
Customer Experience (CX) vs. User Experience (UX)
CX represents every step of the customer journey from first touchpoint to last exit, which in most cases is actually a buy-in of some kind.
This could include a conversion (signing up for a newsletter) or purchasing a product, or something in between.
It also incorporates things like branding, advertising, pricing, and so on:
This is in comparison to UX, which focuses on functionality, visual design, and the content of the site itself.
The final buy-in is what separates a user – someone who is actively perusing a site and navigating to and fro – to a customer – someone who is now an integral part of the business.
Designing for UX alone will give you a smooth and highly optimized website. Visitors will be able to find CTAs and landing pages and move through the funnel.
But designing for CX means that the focus is on getting them through the middle of the funnel and converting into a customer. They have to actually sign up or buy from you.
And that’s a bigger challenge than just building a beautiful and functional website.
The Most Important Components of Designing for CX
Designing for CX involves a look at the bigger picture. You have to see the customer journey starting from the point someone becomes aware of your brand’s existence, not just when they first land on your website.
This means paying attention to things like social media integration and other marketing efforts that bring people to the site.
When it comes to CX, where people come from is just as important as how they interact on the site.
There are also components to CX that may not be a strict part of UX design.
- Creation of Value – CX revolves around the value of the brand, not just the value proposition found in a CTA or headlines on a landing page. It’s about showing what the overall value to the customer is when they first come to your site.
- Storytelling – CX uses functional components, like images, colors and so on, to tell a specific story. This story is also part of a funnel that moves towards the ultimate sale or conversion point.
- Hierarchy of Needs – CX meets customers at every need. If they’re just looking for information, there’s a connection point for them on the site. If they’re coming in with a buy-in already, they’re pointed to the conversion-optimized landing page.
- Limited Choices – CX limits the choices that a customer has to make when coming to the site. There’s a clear pathway that leads them to the ultimate goal without much thought or effort on their part. Think of this as Hick’s Law.
- Immersion – CX is a fully immersive strategy. It’s not just about the aesthetics of the site, it’s about how well the experience reflects the real world needs of the customer. For example, if they’re unhappy, does the site improve their mood?
- Customer Life Cycle Stages – CX includes all stages of the journey, including awareness, consideration, acquisition, service and warranty and reconsideration.
Incorporating all of these components into a design strategy requires input from more than just the designer or developer. Usually, this is a team process that encompasses marketing and sales, too.
CX (and UX) Tips for Web Designers
So how do you design for the best CX experience, while still staying true to all the things you know about UX?
Here are a few tips and strategies for good CX and UX design.
Use UX components to push through the funnel. It’s not about having beautiful pop-ups or colorful CTA buttons. If your pop-ups don’t trigger at the right time, or your CTA button doesn’t lead to the right page, it doesn’t matter how functional they are. Make sure your UX components actually lead to other conversion components.
Focus on UX that impact CX touchpoints. Don’t just code for “optimization.” Your website needs to be fast not just because it’s more functional that way, but because the first experience (touchpoint) a customer has is with whatever page they land on first.
So it needs to load quickly enough for them to make a (hopefully positive) judgment about the content. Think about the why behind the what when you’re designing.
Don’t create the design alone. Work with others who understand the target customer and can tell you exactly what they want. If they know that the customer will most likely land on a product page rather than the homepage, for example, it may change how you spend your time designing.
You might focus on creating a better product page rather than creating a beautiful homepage that only a fraction of your site visitors will actually see.
Optimize for mobile. Mobile-friendliness is a key component for a lot of things, like SEO and UX. But it’s also a big factor in CX, too. More people are converting from their phones and mobile devices than ever before.
Make sure your forms are optimized for mobile, and that customers can buy-in (or purchase a product) from anywhere on the site, using any device.
Focus on branding and brand loyalty. Make sure that every part of the design remains consistent and on-brand. While UX is important for an overall positive experience, CX is what creates lifetime customers.
CX and UX go hand in hand, so there’s not a lot of benefit in nitpicking which components of a site are technically customer or user related.
But it is still important to understand that CX goes beyond mere functionality. It takes into account the lifetime value of a visitor, not just how happy and engaged your site made them feel.
While UX turns a visitor into a happy visitor, CX turns that same visitor into a customer.
If you’re not sure how to design with CX in mind, get outside of your box. Work with your clients or others in your field to determine what the target customer really needs. Then create a site with great UX to meet those needs.