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UX lessons from ChatGPT

Person with glasses looking at a computer screen

Why elevating user experience matters in digital design

Person with glasses looking at a computer screen
November 15, 2023

Building digital platforms with the customer in mind

ChatGPT gained 1 million users just five days after its launch a year ago. Within two months, it had reached 100 million users. Today, it has nearly 1.5 billion users a month.

ChatGPT was able to net these record-breaking numbers thanks, largely, to its ease of use. Its platform is slick and streamlined, without unnecessary login hurdles or cumbersome learning obstacles. Within seconds of setting up an account, users can interface directly with OpenAI’s large language model (LLM).

At its core, the mass adoption of ChatGPT is a user experience (UX) success story. ChatGPT became the phenomenon that it is today in part because its creators chose to create a simple user interface to ride alongside the complex LLM that lives behind it. The now ubiquitous chat interface of ChatGPT is easy for everyone, regardless of their tech savviness, to navigate.

The astonishing growth of ChatGPT’s platform illustrates what’s possible when UX design is prioritized as a foundational component of a digital growth plan, rather than treating it as an afterthought.


User experience as a digital design foundation

There are two sides to every investment in digital: the internal tech stack, which keeps operations functioning, and the external tech stack, which manages external audience interaction.

Too many executives make the mistake of approaching their external tech stack as a secondary add-on to their internal digital systems. But waiting until the last minute to invest in user experience can lead to digital customer touchpoints that fail to provide the simplicity and performance demanded by their users, who will then give their business to a more UX-minded competitor.


Customer journey mapping

Instead, before creating or evolving any digital customer experience, firms should work to incorporate UX as a foundational component of platform design.

Doing that requires understanding your customers and their likely “customer journeys” by asking questions such as:

  • What types of customers are seeking our goods or services?
  • What tasks are bringing them to our mobile site or app — is it to research a product, make a purchase, manage personal accounts, view current incentives or contact an employee (for example)?
  • What are the various steps those customers take along the way to accomplishing their key task?
  • How do those customers feel and what are they thinking about as they work their way through their desired task?
  • Can we identify pain points along the way, and how can we remove them in order to improve that journey for all customers?

Because every customer is different, firms may need to create an array of potential customer journey maps. By doing so, firms can develop sites and apps that more seamlessly anticipate and respond to customers’ end goals — all while allowing them to fulfill those goals more quickly.

While firms can use analytics tools like Google’s GA4 to identify what customers are doing with their websites or apps, it is much more difficult to understand what those same customers are thinking and feeling along the customer journey. This is where next-level UX research comes into play. By speaking directly with customers while they navigate a website or mobile app, you can learn about all the things going through your customers’ minds, as well as how they feel about very specific elements of the digital experience.

The results of this first-party UX research can be game-changing for businesses. For example, Wipfli Digital used the results of UX research to reduce the time it took users of a mobile banking app to complete a registration form by more than five minutes. The outcome of this work included greater customer growth and increased customer satisfaction.

Leveraging UX research helps ensure that a firm’s app or site can cater appropriately to users’ step-by-step needs via digital design in a way so well crafted, users may not even notice the intentionality behind it.


Alleviating usage obstacles

On the other hand, when firms don’t incorporate enough or the right kind of UX into their digital evolution or product revamp, they can accidentally introduce confusion or perceived roadblocks that can be devastating — for both the users and the business.

Today’s consumer is profoundly mobile first. More than 90% of adults between the ages of 18 and 54 use smartphones. Customers are smart enough to tell the difference between companies that do invest in UX and those that treat UX as an afterthought. These same customers are unlikely to forgive firms for continuously ignoring the UX of their digital experiences. Recurring login lags, cumbersome user interfaces, informational bottlenecks and unnecessary hurdles inevitably lead to customers giving up on one brand and giving their money to another.

UX-informed digital design attempts to alleviate these obstacles and others to make a visit to an app or mobile site as easy as possible for users. As a result, the digital experience gets elevated into something that’s simple — and when it’s done well, even fun — for users to employ.


Using digital to build customer loyalty

When digital design is crafted to be engaging and easy for the end user, it becomes a key tool for customer satisfaction and retention. Case in point: When Home Credit needed to enter a crowded U.S. market, it wanted a flawless mobile experience that provided in-app service and reduced customer support costs. By using strong UX research, they were able to launch a mobile-centric site that saved them more than $1 million a year in customer support.

In addition to immediate boosts in customer retention and sales, research has repeatedly shown that investment in UX can pay long-term dividends in customer loyalty, with research showing investing 10% of a project’s budget into UX can boost sales by as much as 100%.

The takeaway here is clear. Mobile sites and apps that are built with customers in mind have the best shot at becoming sites and apps that get used — and used repeatedly.

By allowing UX to inform your digital design, you can create a digital presence that both builds your brand and caters to your users in such a way that they feel comfortable becoming repeat, long-term clients.

If UX has not previously been a fundamental part of your digital transformation discussion, it’s time to include it. By prioritizing UX, you can develop mobile sites and apps equipped to not only boost your business’s immediate bottom line, but also — and perhaps more importantly — foster your customer’s long-term brand loyalty.


How Wipfli can help

Ready to make your customer experience seamless? Wipfli can help you improve your customer-facing digital experiences. See how.

  • Billy Collins
    Billy Collins
    Senior manager
    Billy puts humans at the center of every digital experience. He brings a user-empathetic perspective to digital strategy and product ideation that uncovers hidden ROI opportunities for clients.
    Contact me

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