Jul 3

Low-Effort and High-Impact UX Improvements To Try This Year


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Low-effort and high-impact UX improvements sound far-fetched when simplifying an end-to-end experience. But the truth is that minor tweaks can make your product more enjoyable without doing a complete redesign!

You may see many of these simple design elements across websites and apps you use daily. That’s because they enhance what’s already there by helping users orient themselves in the navigation, presenting relevant content, or grabbing their attention with dynamic visuals.

So whether you’re happy with your product’s experience or don’t want to wait until a redesign to start making upgrades, here are just a few low-effort and high-impact UX Improvements that won’t soak up all your budget!

  • Populate empty states
  • Implement progress bars
  • Incorporate localization
  • Group users into segments
  • Create push notifications
  • Customize 404 pages

The Impact-Effort Matrix

Have you ever prioritized your daily to-dos by how easy or difficult each task is? You’re not the only one, which explains why the impact-effort matrix exists.

The impact-effort matrix is a top-down view of all the work your product team has to do to improve the user experience. By breaking this chart down into four different categories (kind of like a political compass test), you can create a scatter plot that helps your team understand how much work each task requires and the effect it will have on the product.

Impact-effort matrix
Source: Nielsen Norman Group

This model from the Nielson Norman Group illustrates the varying levels of investment and efficiency each task has in the broader scope of the project. When you capture each requirement and place them into their respective category, you and your team can quickly prioritize the best action plan.

Or as some would put it, “Work smarter, not harder.”

The idea behind low-effort, high-impact UX improvements are design elements and strategic effort that fall under quick wins. It’s about creating a win-win scenario for the users and your team: cost-effective, minimally involved features that still engage the target audience.

6 Low-Effort and High-Impact UX Improvements

Let’s face it…building a new platform, improving a user flow, or redesigning an existing product requires a TON of work from both the client and internal team. With as many moving parts as UX has, win-win scenarios are pretty rare. 

But quick fixes aren’t unrealistic, especially if you want to keep optimizing the product post-launch. Iterations and improvements are always possible in the UX design process!

So before you release a new feature or MVP, try implementing these elements to enhance the experience between versions.

Populate Empty States

White space is an easy way to make your product’s interface look clean, sophisticated, and organized…in moderation.

The downside of too much white space is that it can make a design look incomplete. Have you ever seen a website with too much space between elements and thought something was missing? It’s incredibly distracting and breaks up the flow of a scrolling experience.

If you notice too much white space between sections, think of ways to close that visual gap with helpful content for your users. Video tutorials, blog links, infographics, everything’s on the table (as long as it’s relevant to the rest of the page’s content).

App design empty states
Sure, the design looks clean. But it would look much more complete with some links or CTAs at the bottom.

Implement Progress Bars

Whether it’s a kind word from a coworker or a notification from an app you’re using, we all love a little positive reinforcement. But it doesn’t have to stay relegated to email or SMS.

Progress bars serve two purposes in UX: They let us orient ourselves in the user journey and show us how far we are from achieving our goal. They also give the user that little extra reassurance we need to keep pressing forward to the final conversion point.

If your digital platform has an onboarding process or some other multi-step flow, progress bars are a great way to help users gauge how much work they have to do and encourage them to complete their goals. Use this quick fix to give your users the subtle nudge they need through screens.

Next Street onboarding progress bar
Our progress bar for Next Street's onboarding flow doesn't take up too much space, but it shows the user that they're halfway done with the process. At this point, they know that they're done entering basic info about themselves and they can focus on getting the perfect loan for their business.

Incorporate Localization

Have you ever wondered why some websites have different versions for different countries? That’s localization at work!

Localization is more than just translating your website copy to a different language. It's about adapting your interface to reflect the culture of your users. This is an absolute must if your platform reaches users outside your native country.

If your digital product expands to a foreign location (which is ultimately the goal) or if you’re noticing a spike in users located abroad, think about what’s causing that influx and decide if it’s time to create a new version that represents your international audience.

cabi localization design
Source: cabi

Group Users Into Segments

If you’re a frequent reader of our blogs, you don’t need us to go on another tangent about how impactful personalization is (the 75% engagement rate speaks for itself). But grouping users into segments based on their behavior helps you personalize their experience smarter, not harder.

Pretend you’re watching a movie or TV show on a streaming service and you add it to your “Favorites” list. Chances are that the platform will recommend a bunch of new content under a “Because you liked (blank)” heading. That’s because the platform captured your behavior and put you into a segment with other users that took the same actions.

Segmenting your audience saves your users time by finding content that’s relevant to their tastes. Plus, digital marketing platforms use audience segments to help businesses be more strategic with their campaigns, rewarding engaged users and incentivizing casual users.

Netflix personalization user segments
Source: Medium

Create Push Notifications

Some digital products don’t warrant everyday use (appointment booking platforms, travel apps, and online shopping are a few examples). So it’s on you to remind the user of your existence and alert them to new products or deals they wouldn’t see if they’re not a daily visitor.

Push notifications are super simple to set up and are extremely effective in customer engagement (about 88% of mobile users are likely to interact with them). With some good timing and clever copy, you can grab your user’s attention whenever and encourage them to revisit your product.

Whether you're using them to provide real-time updates about your product or retain your customer base, push notifications should always have a home in your marketing strategy.

Simple push notification design
Source: Mageplaza

Customize 404 Pages

No one likes running into an error page, but they’re a fact of life. Links break, pages disappear or move to new addresses, and users type the wrong URL all the time. But that doesn’t mean your 404 page should look as bad as it makes the user feel.

Instead, think of your 404 page as an opportunity to lead your user somewhere else. You can use them to provide helpful links, display your products, or redirect them to your support portal. Couple those elements with some fun graphics or animation, and you can make more tolerable errors.

There’s a world of possibilities with your 404 page. If you need some ideas, check out our Creative 404 Page Designs blog for some inspiration!

Tripadvisor custom 404 page
Source: Tripadvisor (via Beaver Builder)

Hitting The Sweet Spot Between Low-Effort & High-Impact

Low-effort and high-impact UX improvements don't have to be daunting (heck, that defeats the purpose if they are). It’s all about being strategic, examining your product, identifying pain points and opportunity areas, and finding quick improvements that don’t sacrifice the user experience.

With a few tweaks here and there, you can enhance your product without a complete redesign. These simple design elements can help users navigate the platform, find relevant content, and engage in a more meaningful way.

These improvements offer cost-effective solutions for optimizing your product after its launch. So why not start implementing these elements today? Your design team will thank you (and so will your users)!

Speaking of your design team...Our apes love optimizing products to their absolute peak. If you want us to find low-effort and high-impact UX improvements, start a project with us today!

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