Using Performance to Improve User Experience

  • Paul McConnell 08-21-2020 Read time (6 min)

There are various things that direct the experience of users. However, poorly functioning websites are one of the main blame factors that drive users away from using the product.

The digital design world claims to have mastered user experience. Working with clients and including visuals which are appealing and draw them towards the website is one of the chief tasks of design developing. In fact, developers determine how users will experience the product.

What is Performance?

Performance User Experience (UX) revolves around business goals; especially those that help optimize
the user experience of the product. It focuses on end-to-end user experience and looks for ways to
better performance of websites/apps to make it a favorite amongst users by considering user sentiment,
brand recall and other objectives.

Business Objectives
The idea of using performance to improve user experience via business objectives is to identify opportunities for improvement. A clear list of business objectives that should be worked on are charted out, including three of the most important details listed below:

  • Impulse: Creating the impulse or motivation at the user’s end to use your product. This is achieved by increasing value proposition, relevance and clarity to draw users towards your interface.
  • Impediment: Charting out roadblocks and hindrances like technical glitches, poor interface optimization and heuristic issues like distractions, miscellaneous information or bad architecture of the layout.
  • Incentive: This pertains to the elements of the product that inspire action on the users’ part, like clicking on certain links, call-to-actions, visual content, etc., to engage more with what the website or app are offering. This is the goal all product developers aim to achieve.

Constant Data Improvement
Because data is central to user experience, having the right data when testing performance makes a big difference to predictions. A combination of data types, heuristic analysis and various other programs, help to spot problems and identify areas of the product which can be improved.

Updating Product Design
Using Performance to improve user experience is a great way to watch for incremental improvements. Because design is constantly updated, innovated and changed, using performance helps developers and design teams to keep their product up to date.

The Advantages of Having a Great Performance Strategy

Clients usually have a tough time understanding why performance is necessary to improve the usability of their product. An interface or platform that mirrors user instincts is going to be successful; but to get there, performance strategies are applied to see how close to user expectations the product is – or isn’t.

Good Performance Improves Findability
Powerful search engines have shown the benefits of using great performance measures. The faster the website, the better the ranking of the product.

Findability deals with rankings, which helps a product appear in searches and makes its information or features available to users.

Good Performance Saves Time
The more time consuming the site is, the more likely users are to abandon their navigation, affecting your product’s conversion rates.

Studies have shown that a slow shopping website derails users from completing their purchases, and a one-second delay leads to a 7% drop in conversion and 11% drop in page views.

Good Performance Leads to Greater User Satisfaction
Users prefer pages that load fast because it implies that they’re moving closer to their perceived objective. To encourage this association of positivity with the product, it’s imperative that good performance metrics are used.

Poor performance is damaging to customer satisfaction and dampens the brand’s image, too. Chances are, users won’t return again for another purchase.

Good Performance Enhances Accessibility
A poor performing website can run into failures like web font, javascript or other loading issues. It can also timeout, discouraging users about the product’s reliability. Good performance, on the other hand, creates ease.

Individuals who use assistive technologies like screen readers or those with cognitive issues are very sensitive to performance issues. A poor performance will create segregation as research indicates – UK retailers seem to be missing out on 11.75 billion sterling pounds of revenue by ignoring the needs of disabled users.

Good Performance Aids Understanding
Research states that there is an 11% drop in page views for every additional second that the page takes to load.

With fewer views, your platform or product will not be easily understood, which decreases user engagement with your product. This could lead to a loss in sales and revenue.

The Impact of Good Performance for Improved User Experience

As you design and develop a new product, be it a website or application, it’s important to consider various elements that determine its interface. The layout, navigation hierarchy, intuitiveness, ease of use, aesthetic appeal, etc., all contribute to user experience being positive or negative.

How efficiently your product loads, processes inputs and responds to user engagement determines the brand’s rapport, trustability and also encourages user conversion and customer retention. It cannot be emphasized enough just how important using performance to improve user experience is.

Impact on Your Brand
Great usability leads to great user experience. Research reiterates that websites that take too long to load, crash or timeout or have glitches result in loss of customers and sales. The lack of positive user experience discourages them from using the product again, which ultimately damages brand rapport.

A product that has cleared all performance checks from the perspective of users is a product that will promise great user experience and increases user conversion rates.

Conversion Rates
Users often return frequently to websites which are faster and constantly improved.

Slow page loading can affect brand image and customer retention. Websites with faulty check out pages, glitches in payment portals and a confusing hierarchy of information don’t tend to do well. Customers and users look for a seamless and quick-paced experience, and that’s exactly what developing teams should aim for.

Search Engine Rankings
Page loading time is one of the factors that determine a product’s ranking, bumping those with quicker speeds to the top. Search engine algorithms sort through websites to categorize websites according to this criterion (and more).

Ignoring the opportunity to enhance the speed of your website results in a large loss of customers, lower search engine rankings and an overall negative image of the brand.

Impact on Mobile Users
More and more users are beginning to turn to mobile devices to access websites on the go. Companies can see the increase in traffic from mobile devices and are trying to improve product performance to mirror the traffic.

However, because mobile devices are numerous and have their own characteristics, using performance to improve user experience is a strategy to make digital products available on all sorts of screens and devices. Some factors to consider are:

  • Mobile Networks:
    Mobile Networks can take longer to load websites because of latency and bandwidth restrictions. The transmissions of data and radio frequencies can add seconds to the usual time the page requires to load, causing problems.
    Using websites on mobile networks also impacts user experience, which means it is important for developmental teams to use the best test of performance to improve user experience for different networks.
  • Mobile Usage Patterns:
    Understanding how users use their device is part of intuition and understanding user behavior, which crafts product interface to aid user experience.
    Studies have seen that users usually use mobile devices on the go, to communicate and connect, in short bursts of time, especially when they need instant access to information. Other activities like browsing, using social media, shopping and searching for specific information are all factors to consider when testing the performance of a product and how it would fare on a mobile device that is used for other reasons.
  • Mobile Hardware/Device:
    Mobile devices have shorter antenna lengths, which result in slower access to signals and networks. This usually results in slow page loading because of the roundabout exchange of signals.
    Mobile devices also have sturdy battery, but the longer the pages take to load, the more power they consume. Optimizing websites and applications to load quicker on mobile devices increases user experience and also conserves battery life.

How Designers Can Impact Performance

By now we’ve established how important delays between the first and next step are. How long it takes for a page to respond to clicks, drop down the menu or respond to commands affects the perception of users and ultimately shapes user experience with regards to your product.

Delays between 300 to a 1,000 milliseconds are ideal, whereas delays beyond a 1,000 milliseconds make the user feel that their commands are not being processed. Websites are enriched with tons of content like javascript, animations, complex graphics, text and so much more. Although aesthetics are very important in drawing users towards the website and making them spend quantifiable time using the service, what’s more important is the performance.

A beautifully tailored website is no good if it does not test great for performance. Elements placed on the interface need to be optimized for an all-rounder performance at the user’s end. Designers and developers can use intuition and responsive web design to make sure of this. There are various things to consider when it comes to performance, especially when charting out the initial workflow of the project, including basic elements like:

  • Colors and Gradients: Making decisions about image format, choices, transparency, number of sprites, etc. Designers can make sure that these are optimized.
  • Layout: It’s important to set out a simple and seamless HTML hierarchy, design patterns and organization of CSS.
  • Typography: This affects the weight and number of included font files.
  • Design Patterns: Making sure that these can be repurposed, cached and edited is an important task which helps to show improvement opportunities during performance testing.

Behind the Visuals: Performance of the Product

Visual design is extremely important. UX/UI teams work together to create a product that is both visually and emotionally appealing to consumers. Engaging imagery, layout, command hierarchy and various other things are important to keep the users engaged.

However, after this has been set up, it becomes extremely important to test for performance. Although it is time consuming, using performance to improve user experience reaps long-term success and revenue. Clients may choose to eschew the process, not realizing the powerful impact it can have on the end result and at the user’s end.

With various changes in technology, interface and digital designing, it’s important to test for performance if a product is supposed to be accessible, seamless and successful. Ultimately, the success of a project or product lies in the user’s hands, which is why digital companies encourage their clients to test for performance to see how well they have succeeded in providing the right tools for a great user experience.

The Takeaway

When a car or industrial equipment is manufactured, it goes through various tests for hazard, running and even performance. The mechanism is not marketed unless it has passed certain benchmarks.

The same goes for digital products and using performance to test for user experience. A product may look stunning and seem absolutely flawless, but does it work well? Is it quick enough? Will it elongate simple processes? These questions can be addressed when developers and designers run performance checks.

After the product promises a great user experience, it should be ready to launch. It must be reiterated again that the success of a product depends on how users engage with it and rate their experience – these factors can seriously affect a brand and its products.

Building a lifelong relationship with customers depends on providing them with quality products. Using effective tests and using performance to improve user experience is the first step.

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