I've been doing so much reading on UX and feeling somewhat overwhelmed as to where to start when you already have an existing product. So in the context of a site that already has a lot of traffic and users, how do you go about improving its UX? Page by page? Feature by feature? Developping personas?
Start by figuring out where you are, and where you want to go
Without a clear view of what your UX objectives are, you're likely to end up just wasting time and money on UX.
Step 1: figure out your objectives and prioritize them
- For example, are you looking to use UX as a branding vehicle? Increase conversions and signups? Increase sales? Reduce errors and customer service calls? etc.
- Start by building a list of objectives for your UX, then prioritize it and get buy-in from the organization.
- Look over your objectives and try to make sure they are measurable (e.g. conversions are easy to measure, but if branding is an objective, how will you know if you're successful?)
Step 2: figure out where you are today
- Once you have clear and measurable UX objectives, take stock of where you are today. For example, measure current error rates, customer calls, branding effectiveness, conversions, or whatever.
- This will allow you to measure progress and/or determine whether your UX efforts are successful.
Step 3: plan and resource your UX program
- Once the objectives are clear, it becomes much easier to figure out what UX techniques and projects you need to apply to get results.
- For example, if branding is important then you know that you will need to involve your brand team, graphic designers, etc.
- If site errors and navigation is important, then you will know that you need to work with information architecture, site flow, and maybe page-by-page storyboards.
- If conversion is important, then you will know that you may need to improve site analytics, use genetic or AB testing approaches, etc.
UX is a cross-functional discipline and you're right to point out that it can be overwhelming to figure out a starting point. It's the same as staring at a gigantic toolbox trying to figure out which tool to use: the solution is not to keep staring at the tools, but rather to have a clear idea of what you are trying to accomplish so that it becomes clear what tools you need for the job you are doing.
Yes. I agree with this. Let your objectives/goal define the way for beginning.
If you want to increase more users from a particular demographic, begin with researching WHAT that demographic needs/is attracted to.
If you want more sales, research techniques for increasing sales and keep an eye on your numbers.
Entering the UX redesign process with goals in mind will help guide your decisions and will give you focus and direction!!
So in the context of a site that already has a lot of traffic and users, how do you go about improving its UX?
There's probably not a single way to start, but a first step could be getting to know what are the current UX related issues for users. They might be more visible (direct user feedback) or less visible (discovered by user tests, analyzing metrics/analytics, etc).
You could also start analyzing the most used/visited/convertion-driven pages and see if they all follow the best UX practices and present some improvement proposal.
Take a look at UX process from UXmastery.com
Research and Analysis tasks are probably the ones you are doing if you don't have been asigned with an specific task since if the site is already established, the strategy should be too.