Posted by Amy Buckner Chowdhry on Jan 1, 2017 4:37:29 PM

If you're responsible for digital experiences across websites, mobile, and apps, consider the case for simplification. In the last 5-10 years, many of our favorite online brands have gone from true user experience innovators to Frankensteins. By adding extensive services, features, tools, and properties to aging platforms, companies like eBay and Amazon have created unwieldy experiences that make within-site and between-platform design innovation extremely difficult. This complexity detracts from first-rate user experiences, and hundreds of millions of dollars can be left on the table as a result.

To that end, is your user experience leaving money on the table? It may be time to take a fresh look at your digital strategy and leverage these four opportunities to simplify UX for greater returns:

Streamline & Reallocate Digital Investment

Which of your digital experiences drive ROI for the business, on the dimensions of brand, conversion, and customer retention? Assess your true returns across all of your digital properties. Then double-down investment in higher-performing properties and cut the laggards. A clean and efficient digital ecosystem will have a greater payoff than a highly-fragmented one.

Address Feature Bloat

Which features within your digital properties have grown stale and are simply taking up precious real estate with little payoff? Take a hard look at your websites and apps, and drop the features that no longer support key customer goals. Be focused and ruthless. Sure, there's a development cost to changing code. However, our research has shown that unused features distract customers from core tasks related to conversion and reduce revenue potential.

Deliver a Consistent Brand Message—Everywhere

Each and every sub-par customer touchpoint leads to incremental erosion of brand trust from customers, a drop out of the conversion funnel, and one more reason for a customer to leave. When was the last time you audited all of your digital experiences for how well they still convey your brand? Sites built years ago may have outdated colors, logos, service offerings, thought leadership and most importantly, brand messaging and value propositions. Reassess your properties to see if they communicate your brand value uniformly across the digital ecosystem.

If you've found opportunities to prioritize your user experience issues based on their potential profit contribution if remedied, it’s time to take action and clean house.

Retire content, sites, and apps that are no longer offering ROI. Reallocate design and development resources to the properties and content that best support your customer journeys. Set a plan to annually re-evaluate your digital ecosystem to ensure that every page and property is driving impact for your company. And if it’s time for a total refresh, utilize research solutions to help you create new digital experiences, nail the right value proposition, and refine product concepts before investing in development.

Plan your Customer’s, Seamless Cross-Platform Journey

A one-size-fits-all approach across digital platforms adds complexity and distracts from primary user goals that support conversion and retention. Do you understand how customers need to interact with your company on each digital touchpoint? Find out what users truly need to accomplish on each platform and customize the experience for each. Then, take that one step further; enhance your user experiences by thinking through customer journeys across digital properties. Our research has shown that in this device-agnostic world, users expect to start tasks on mobile and finish them on desktop - and vice versa.

(Originally published in Inc.)

Topics: Strategy