If you’re already familiar with the terms UI, WUI and GUI then you know these aren’t referring to Donald Duck’s nephews. User Interface (UI), Web User Interface (WUI) and Graphical User Interface (GUI) can describe many types of customer-facing design which accepts input. User interface design is a critical step in the process of creating the end product. Unfortunately, the value of user behavior is often left unappreciated because it can be more difficult to distinguish and interpret.
Fortunately, the primary difference between user interface design and user behavior can be understood from this single image:
Are you thinking, "Did I really start reading a blog post just to look at a photo of a decaying sidewalk with poor landscaping?" The answer is yes! And no.
This picture shows so much more than a random sidewalk on a local campus. This picture illustrates a valuable lesson in user behavior. Engineers designed these sidewalks to accommodate students, professors and guests walking across campus while also keeping them from walking in the street. And they designed the intersections so vehicles could stop-and-go while safely allowing pedestrians to cross. They did not design it for convenience. This is the difference between user interface design and user behavior.
Just because something was designed to solve one problem (whether it's a sidewalk or a website) does not guarantee that is how it will be used by your customer. It’s easy to be too close to your own business identity to fully understand your target audience, without holding some bias, in order to empathize with how they would prefer to solve their problem.
Most of us tend to fluctuate between walking along the path paved in front of us and taking the road less traveled depending on what our needs are in that moment. Instead of forcing your customers to traverse an interface they don’t feel comfortable navigating, allow for wiggle room by providing them with multiple options to reach the same destination.
Analytics are one tool which can be used to measure user behavior and identify when it may be time to make a change. Of course vanity metrics like “site sessions” are nice, but they can also be misleading. Did 100% of your site traffic convert into customers, or did they bounce faster than Tigger racing off to Pooh Corner? Were you able to funnel the same traffic to your key pages so potential customers could develop brand trust and render your services at a later date, or did they click-through an uninformative blog article instead?
Check out your site’s analytics and ask yourself if you should consider making a change. While user interface design is, of course, one of the most critical steps in the creation process, it should never remain static. Instead the user interface should evolve with your users to match their behavior over time. As your customer learns and adapts, so should your interface to accommodate their needs — even if “it’s only been three months” since you refreshed your site.
I’m sure you will agree there should not be a waiting period in customer acquisition.
If you want help in determining your site’s user behavior, or you know you should make a change but unsure what that change should be (and why) — or simply have no clue where to start when taking user behavior into consideration — then ask Pixel Jam Digital to help!