We’ve mentioned many times in these articles that attention is a scarce resource. If you want to capture the hearts and minds of your audience, you must make every effort to limit the distractions and roadblocks that impede engagement with your ministry. Ministries can, without knowing it, make engagement very difficult for seekers and those responding to your message. Therefore, we must make an active effort to limit distractions. We must begin to understand and resource the design of a seamless user experience.
User Experience, or UX, is a common conversation in the world of software development and website design. Experts in this field hold titles like Director of UX in most technology companies. But most ministries don’t have these positions on their team, or even have a conversation about what UX is or why it is so important for audience engagement.
In simple terms, good UX is a website, app, or process design that unfolds before users, leaving them unaware of the tools they are using, only focusing on the task they are trying to accomplish. It allows them to accomplish tasks swiftly and effortlessly, free from confusion or frustration. Bad UX is a user experience that frustrates people, leaves them wondering what they should click on next, and introduces pain when they’re just trying to connect.
If your websites and chat experiences are introducing frustration to seekers who are trying to engage, you’re losing opportunities for ministry connections and working against yourself.
Many of us have experienced this in our own lives, so let’s look at a familiar example of a company that has embraced the power of UX. With its clean and intuitive design, Google has revolutionized the way users interact with search engines and digital services.
Understanding User Needs
MII has been a Persona champion from the beginning – know your persona! Google is no different. Google’s success is rooted in its deep understanding of user needs. From the very beginning, their mission has been to organize the world’s information and make it universally accessible and useful. This user-centric approach has guided their design decisions and shaped their product offerings.
Simplicity and Intuitiveness
Google’s search engine is the epitome of simplicity and intuitiveness. The minimalist interface, consisting of a single search bar, allows users to effortlessly input their queries. The clean design eliminates distractions and focuses on delivering relevant search results. We can’t all put a single search bar on our homepage, but chances are that you have a lot of things distracting your audience from the one thing that you want them to do. Recently an MII coach reviewed a ministry website whose team claimed they just wanted people to send a direct message. The problem was that they had 32 links to other resources and suggestions on their homepage. Keep it simple.
Recognizing the shift towards mobile devices, Google has adopted a mobile-first approach. Their mobile interface is designed to provide a seamless experience, utilizing responsive design principles to adapt to various screen sizes. The mobile search experience mirrors the desktop version, ensuring consistency and familiarity. Most of our readers will have some kind of analytics tool tracking their website. Look at it. Are most of your users connecting with you on mobile devices? If so, your team needs to change your approach to mobile first.
Integration and Ecosystem
The biggest roadblock we see ministries creating for themselves and their users is failing to think about the user experience holistically. Reaching someone with a Facebook post, bringing them to your landing page, capturing information through a form on your website, and following up by email requires a user to navigate three different communication channels just to have a conversation. No wonder we see so many people drop out of the process! We’ve lost them along the way by making it too hard to engage. Instead, use tools like plugins, marketing technology software, and CRM across your properties to build an integrated and consistent experience for your users.
We’re not suggesting that your ministry has to have the staff and resources of Google to become a master of UX. But, we are suggesting that by focusing on a few key ideas, you can go from blocking engagement to welcoming more people into a conversation with your ministry.
Guest Post by Media Impact International (MII)
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