What is performance UX and why should I care? 

Performance UX isn’t a term you often hear marketers talking about. While the topic of UX design is never far away and the notion of optimising for better performance is well-understood, performance UX as a marketing practice doesn’t get the attention it probably should.

To help change this, we’re going to be running a few articles on the topic of performance UX over the coming weeks. And today we’re simply going to ask what it is and why you should be paying more attention to it.

What is performance UX?

When it comes to optimising a website, you’ll typically hear a lot about conversion rate optimisation (CRO). CRO tracks and tests micro elements with the goal of increasing conversions and it’s an important marketing strategy for most brands. However, it’s not the only optimisation process you need.

Your business goals don’t begin and end with conversion rates. What about brand lift, engagement, customer retention and much bigger objectives than conversions alone?

Unlike CRO, performance UX doesn’t focus on micro elements or conversions. It focuses on the end-to-end user experience and optimises for better performance with your business goals in mind – whatever they may be.

Now, one of these goals could well be conversion rates – and this is often the case. But performance UX allows us to address other goals like brand recall, user sentiment and other objectives beyond conversions.

Performance UX is all about business objectives

As the name suggests, performance UX identifies opportunities to improve the user experience of your website. But this isn’t UX design for the sake of creating fancy navigation menus. The focus is on UX factors that impact business performance and anything that doesn’t is a waste of time and resources.

Which means pinpointing the UX factors to track and optimise is crucial.

To get this right, you need to start with a clear list of the business objectives you want to optimise for. For example, reducing subscription cancellations from your software product by 10% over the next year. Or increasing the number of visitors who view an important piece of content on mobile by 5% by the second quarter.

Section taken from Apollo dashboard

With these goals clearly defined, the first thing we do here at Vertical Leap is carry out a detailed report during the first month, or possibly even longer. This allows us to identify the UX factors that impact your business goals and the correct KPIs to measure them by.

In general, there are three areas to focus on:

  • Impulse: The reason users land on your site to begin with. In most cases, users come looking for information, education or to complete some kind of transaction. By increasing the value proposition, relevance and clarity of your message, more of those visitors will be compelled to take the desired action. 
  • Impediment: These are the real performance roadblocks; the issues that make users leave your site or fail to convert. These can include technical problems like loading times and poor mobile optimisation or heuristic issues like distractions, information architecture and layout. 
  • Incentive: The elements that inspire action. Compelling offers, storytelling, CTAs, visual content or whatever else seals the deal. Identifying and refining the page elements that turn traffic into paying customers is the end goal.

With detailed reports on these three key areas, you can then draw out a performance UX roadmap – one that increases the efficiency of impulses and creates new ones while removing impediments and maximising the visibility and effectiveness of your incentives.

Ongoing data-driven improvements

Data is central to running a performance UX strategy that continues to improve business results. It has to be the right data, too, which is why identifying the correct UX factors and KPIs is so important. Choose the wrong data points and you’re wasting time and resources on design changes that don’t make the necessary impact.

We use a combination of data collection, heuristic analysis and Apollo Insights – our own machine learning system that analyses hundreds of thousands of data points to highlight problems and opportunities for improvement.

Apollo Insights

This system allows us to pinpoint the performance factors that are getting in the way of your business goals.

Performance UX vs website redesigns

Like most strategies in the data-driven age, performance UX is an ongoing process that targets incremental improvements. With this in mind, our next article on the topic will look at reasons why a more continuous approach to UX optimisation makes more sense than a complete website redesign.

Need help with your performance UX?

Then get in touch today – we have an in-house team of UX experts ready to help.

Wez Maynard profile picture
Wez Maynard

Wez headed up the design team at Vertical Leap. A brand and UX specialist, Wez has spent the last decade travelling the world working with iconic brands in event and digital marketing activation projects. Wez now lives on the Isle of Wight and commutes by boat to Vertical Leap HQ.

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