May 28, 2007

LEAP University - Is Your GUI Turning Off Potential Customers?

This is the first of a three part series on user experience and its potential to enhance or detract from your brand.  User experience encompasses the total impression that your site makes on a user, including visual appeal, ease of navigation, and overall usability.

Now that we're ready to move on from Web 2.0, it's time to talk about user experience. Part of the power of interactive marketing is its experiential nature.The goal of a great interactive presence is to be more than a destination for users - it should be an interactive experience.Everything about your site contributes to the overall impression users have about the site, and consequently, your brand. A frustrating, unattractive or confusing user experience can convey the idea that dealing with your organization offline may be equally unpleasant.

That is why user experience is so critical in online branding.

A major element of user experience is your site's Graphical User Interface (GUI). The GUI consists of the visual elements that aid in navigation and user flow, visually guiding the user through all the steps required for conversion. Iconography, text and other design elements work together to guide the user through the site and paint a clear path to conversion. The first questions asked by any visitor to your site are "Where do I look first, and what do I do next?"

Usability studies show that from the time a user lands on your home page, it will take them approximately six seconds to decide whether to stay or leave. An ineffective GUI can result in a high bounce rate, making any interactive marketing efforts to drive traffic to your site a complete waste of time and money.

So it pays to take a hard look at your site from a user flow perspective.

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