Field Notes Blog
News and thoughts on UI/UX, web design, and more.
The world of search engine optimization (SEO) is always changing but no matter what, when you create a great user experience for your users you will be rewarded by Google with better rankings, by visitors with more conversions and by clients with referrals and repeat business. This got me to thinking .... what if "creating a great user experience" is really - actually - the key to increasing your own happiness?
To sort this out, let's look at what makes a "great user experience". I recently had the chance to stay on the Concierge Level at Disneyland's premier hotel, the Grand Californian. (This is a super fancy, I would never stay there if I hadn't had an amazing deal). Upon arrival we were whisked through the lobby to a private salon, then to our plush rooms with their many amenities, and just generally feted in all manner of VIP-ness. While the jaw-dropping architecture and free dessert buffet was heavenly, what made it so special to me were two things; the attention to detail and the genuine warmth of the people we encountered.
The focus on detail was evident in things like the high-end spa shampoo and the leather-bound conceirge book. But it was also the way that the spotless room smelled nice...not like it had just been scrubbed. I found myself thinking that anyone could do these simple things...which led me to ponder what details could I be improving to make things nicer for my clients.
The warmth of the people was truly remarkable, by and large they were either great actors or really love their jobs. Perhaps this is "a Disney thing" but so what? In college I was a tour guide for Old Town Trolley Tours and their profoundly effective motto for public-facing staff is "Fake it 'till you make it". Many times I felt like I couldn't drive one more tour, but then a flush-faced tourist would hop on my trolley and suddenly I was seeing through their eyes. All I had to do was eek out that first genuine smile and their excitement would spread over me like an energizing wave. Suddenly I remembered that I did love what I was doing and it became easy and fun again.
Maybe you're lucky enough to already love your job but I struggle with this. I wonder if I'm keeping clients happy, staying competitive on services, responding fast enough ... lots of things. The Disneyland folks made me wonder "What if you really loved your job? What would that be like? What would it take? What would it mean for the experience your clients have? And, more profoundly, what would it mean for the other parts of your life?".
What if "fake it till you make it" is how you create that positive feedback loop of genuinely loving your job? What if giving attention to detail is actually a really important part of lovingly crafting your work? What if these simple ideas are the foundation to creating great user experiences? And what if great experiences are really the essence of what we are here to contribute to the world?
If your website and marketing doesn't provide useful information, hides pricing, disparages your competitors, is out of date or preys on the ignorance of your prospective clients (or belittles them) then your business will not flourish. As in SEO, gaming the system only works until people figure it out ... and deep inside you know that doing those things is wrong. If, however, your website and marketing are easy to understand, visually appealing, treat clients with respect, are stylistically and technically current and offer valuable content then you're creating a great user experience. Your business will thrive and you'll enjoy the profound feeling of doing what you were genuinely put here to do.
That's my theory anyways, and as the new year begins that's my goal. Wish me luck and if you start down this path, let me know how it works for you!
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About the author
As the owner of Pixel Lava Interactive I've helped hundreds of small businesses and nonprofits with websites, graphic design and more. I hope you'll find this blog full of useful information.
~ Ame Stanko