User Experience and UX Prototyping Crash Course

In the digital age, user experience (UX) and customer journey are no longer just “nice-to-have”, but important components of products and services. But how can these terms be integrated into the business strategy in a valuable way, how can they be measured and how can ROI be generated in the long term?

Topics in this article

  1. It is important to understand user experience
  2. Virtual prototyping allows you to optimize UX in a very agile way – at minimal cost
  3. How to make your UX measures measurable
  4. This is how the user experience becomes part of your marketing and business strategy
  5. User experience, agility and ROI – the balance is important

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1. It is important to understand user experience

The realization that the user experience – i.e. how your customer experiences your products or services on the digital platform – is crucial for your success, marks the first step towards successful UX designs. Often the difficult question arises: How can I strategically create a user experience, how can I measure this experience, also known as UX, and how do I feed the result back into my content marketing processes?

User Experience is more than the design of a website or a product. It describes every interaction of a customer, from the discovery of the product (yes, advertising, digital advertising and social media also belong to UX) to the purchase decision and the use of the product. The way we address users and customers and how we present a service to them has a significant influence on their purchase decision. That is why a good UX concept must not only be perfectly tailored to the desired target group in terms of graphics, but also strike a balance between ease of use and experience. What does this mean for your company? If you understand UX, you have created the basis for inspiring your customers.

Thank you very much @JimKalbach for this REALLY inspiring keynote at #IAKonferenz. Great storytelling bridging #UX, #software design and what really matters in life: passion and engagement. Keep on going!

2. Virtual prototyping allows you to optimize UX in a very agile way – at minimal cost

Modern prototyping methods can help your company to successfully master this challenge – no matter whether you want to optimize your content marketing and online presentation or even test UX in offline areas.

Virtual and fast prototyping techniques help you to quickly reach your goal in this context and optimize the ROI. The more widespread process for testing new ideas and products, in which a Minimum Viable Product (MVP) is developed and tested, can be restructured by this approach.

This is because the development and testing of an MVP already involves relatively high costs. Virtual prototyping, however, allows the first market feedback to be obtained even before an MVP is completed. This allows product features to be tested before they are actually implemented.

Virtual prototyping starts with an idea or thesis, which is then used as the basis for developing a concept. In the subsequent steps, the necessary precautions are taken to test the prototype and analyze the results. In a use case of Candylabs described at the IA conference of Enes Ünal, for example, this would be the test of a service platform for washing bed linen. In order to test the idea, a landing page was built which picks up the Pain Points of the target group, presents the idea and includes a Call To Action to validate the thesis.

Screenshot of the prototype for

From this prototype, several test versions of each idea can then be quickly and easily assembled from a construction kit, enabling a large number of theses to be tested with different prototypes.

As so-called lead channels for the application and analysis of the virtual prototypes, different channels can be selected, from quantitative (e.g. Native Advertising, Social-Ads or Search Engine Advertising) to qualitative (e.g. POS Interviews, Calls).

Great lecture by @EnesUenal on the topic of #virtual #prototyping. Core thesis: VP accelerates innovation, reduces costs and makes stakeholder decisions more likely. But only if they are really data-driven and have clear KPIs. That’s our motto #IAConference

When creating the concept, it is important that the central marketing message, i.e. the product, the user benefit, the way it works, the Call To Action, trust elements such as references and “real” contact data are fixed components of the landing page for all prototypes to be as authentic as possible.

With the methods described above, not only your new products and services, but also your content marketing strategy or your digital advertising campaigns can be cost-effectively optimized with just a few changes.

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3. You can make your UX measures measurable

After the test run, various ideas can be tested against each other using the previously defined KPIs (e.g. CTR, CPC, CPR, conversion rate, CPL), thus narrowing down the pool of ideas even further. In this way, well-founded insights can be gained into the needs of the target group, the quality of the layout and the USPs. This knowledge can then already be used when creating the “real” product, e.g. the first MVP.

But how can such tests or even the UX of an existing website or product be measured? The skillful use of common online analytics metrics can already provide valuable insights into user behavior.

In addition, tasks can be defined for visitors to a website (e.g. subscribing to a newsletter) and these can then be validated using Task Completion Rate (TCR), Task Completion Time (TCT) and Conversion Rate. In addition, user feedback, e.g. the Net Promoter Score and a qualitative analysis (surveys, interviews, etc.) can provide very good information about user behavior in connection with the product.

The rule of thumb for the evaluation of UX parameters, but also for other web analytics, should be The more data you generate, the better informed decisions you can make. Nevertheless, it is important to define a few KPIs, which can always be used quickly and easily as signposts.

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4. Making the user experience part of your marketing and business strategy

Users are extremely different. Therefore it is important to be clear about the target group and personas for which the user experience should be optimized. Ideally, personas already exist which have been validated by qualitative methods (e.g. customer interviews). On this basis, hypotheses can be made very well and then quickly validated with a prototype.

With this strategy and the tools of virtual prototyping, new product features can be checked very quickly for their potential and the user experience can be optimized even before the product is created.

Long-term success can be generated here above all if this approach is reliably integrated into your product life cycle.

Can virtual prototyping also be used offline or for hardware products? The company IXDS answers this question with a clear “Yes”! As part of the construction of a new subway line in Hamburg, developers at the Berlin-based company have virtually recreated a subway station and used Virtual Reality (VR) technology to let users test various concepts.

Awesome! Isabell and @GFngr from @IXDSberlin show how VR helps to test and optimize the usability of subway stations in #Hamburg. VR helps the real world… #IAConference

Since this methodology currently still requires a lot of development effort, individual product features of physical objects can alternatively be queried with simple selection tests within the web-based prototype. Although this method provides less detailed feedback, in most cases it is sufficient to test different design and UX features (color, form, function) against each other.

In summary, the more hypotheses and ideas you test, the better you can tailor your services and products to your target audience.

5. User Experience, Agilität und ROI – die Balance ist wichtig

The already described techniques are ideally suited to tailor your websites and content marketing measures to your customers and target groups. However, the success depends largely on two further areas of expertise. On the one hand, it is essential to pick up the employees through intelligent change management. Because only if the collected data and user feedback is continuously transformed into concrete measures, the full performance potential of modern prototyping can be exploited. Agile working methods can help to introduce such a “customer first” culture. How this challenge can be mastered was impressively explained at the IA Conference 2018 by Martin Wolf from Point of origin.

In addition, to make well-founded decisions, as much relevant traffic as possible as well as efficient and targeted Key Performance Indicators (KPI) and analytics are needed. This can be achieved very well through modern digital advertising measures (e.g. Native Advertising, Social Advertising, SEA) and various analytics tools.

Martin Wolf from PointOfOrigin shows 5 transformation hacks and explains how the brain reacts to change. Great lecture! #IA Conference

A pro tip: The KPIs needed for decision-making can be visualized very well with customized dashboards to give all teams and employees a good overview of successes and further potential.

Sounds like a lot of work? Talk to us and find a strategy that will lead you to your goal in an efficient and scalable way.

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