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Good User Experience Without Big Budget or In-House UX Team? Yes, It’s Possible!

December 18, 2019

7 Min Read
good and bad ux
Reading Time: 7 minutes

There’s a lot to think about when you’re running a website. Design, content, SEO, and conversation rates all matter. But if your site’s user experience (UX) is no good, you’re turning away willing customers. The good news is that better UX doesn’t have to come from consultants or new hires. In fact, with a bit of empathy, anyone can take steps towards improving their site’s UX. This article, drawing from the ‘UX For Everyone Blueprint’, explains how.

There’s a special Cloudways-only offer at the end too, so get reading!

The Big Difference Between Good and Bad UX

Imagine getting on your bike and setting off on this path – and this is where you end up.

carril bici

Not fun, is it? This is a really bad real-life user experience.

This user is having a really rubbish experience. They want to get somewhere, and they thought they could when they started the journey, but it turns out that they can’t. As comical as it seems, it’s really not fun for them: they’ve wasted their time, and they’re definitely never coming back.

This bad experience didn’t just happen. Someone designed and built a bike path that mostly works well. Then somebody designed and built a wall, which definitely works very well. These designers and builders weren’t thinking about the people who would use their creations.

Compare it with this experience:

wisconsin madison detailed view of bike path at dawn

Using this path means having a great experience. We know exactly where to go and what to expect. We can see what’s ahead and control where we’re going and on top of that, we have great emotions and beauty.

Given the choice, you would go on this second path. And the same thing happens on the web.

A bad experience sends your users away. The experience that you offer to the human beings who land on your site will either make them want to come back or immediately exit, never to return.

A possible web equivalent of the first path could be this:


If you try to buy something from Arngren, you will soon find yourself in a cyber blind alley. The only way out is back, or closing the window.

On the other hand, the web equivalent of the second cycling path is this one:


As with the second bike path, you can see where you want to go and how to get there. You have agency, clarity, and possibly even a positive feeling.

When we deliberately lead with UX, we make sure that we treat the humans that use our products well. We make them happy.

When we ignore UX, we run the risk of having them crash against a wall, and never coming back.

The Crucial Ingredient of UX: Empathy

The main ingredient at the heart of good UX is empathy. Putting ourselves in our user’s shoes and leading them towards their desired goal. And that has to be their goal, not yours. Putting people’s needs before your business’s needs is often where success lies.

“If you help enough people get what they want, you will get what you want”. Zig Ziglar

‘Users’, in fact, are people looking for a solution to their problems. They’re not just a number in Google Analytics or an excuse to wow the world with your imagination and technical skills.

One very important point is that we often overestimate how much we can empathize. It’s natural to project your own experiences onto other people, which can lead to mistaken empathy.

So, for instance, you may never know for sure how it really feels to be blind; but you could wear a blindfold when testing a website. This lets you empathize with those who need to use a web reader by experiencing a similar situation, however briefly.

So if someone sees all shades of green where you see red, orange and yellow, accept that your vision is not the absolute truth: their truth is as valid as yours, and you must take that into account.

color palette

The best empathy accepts that other people’s perception is as valid as ours, even though our personal experience is different. And it also recognizes that we might be wrong, even when we try our best to understand others.

This is called compassionate empathy: it’s when you understand and identify with someone’s viewpoint and the problem they want to solve. On top of that, you do your best to help them out of it. And you also expect absolutely nothing in return.

A Website That Uses Empathy at Its Best

Duolingo is a language learning website that demonstrates compassionate empathy very well.


It puts humans, and not the business, at the center of the experience. When you visit it, you will find yourself learning your chosen language in a few clicks, without even being asked for your email address.

On every step of your very easy journey, you have agency as well as options. And you have fun on top of all that!

Duolingo’s competitor, Rosetta Stone, won’t let you start without giving up some details (including your email). It interrupts you with pop-ups which do little to give you what you are really there for a demo of their language learning software. Rosetta Stone’s website provides very little value to its visitors because they put the business before their users – and they end up losing out.

rosetta stone

The lesson for us? Let’s be like Duolingo.

You Can Be like Duolingo

And how, I can hear you say all the way across cyberspace, can I be like Duolingo when I’m a team of one – or a small to medium agency? I don’t have the money that Duolingo has, and I certainly don’t have a UX team nor the resources to hire one.

The reality is that UX truly can be for everyone.

When you establish a solid UX process that involves users from the very beginning, you, too, can create web experiences that start from empathy and end up in total client satisfaction.

UX, in fact, is a mindset shift that can transform the way you run your business as well as your projects.

This is something that I teach businesses through the UX for Everyone Blueprint Course.

The UX for Everyone Blueprint is a solid, scalable framework that will transform the way you approach any design project (yes, even offline ones). You will always be leading your visitors by the hand, even when you build a simple one-page website.

This mentality shift will bring you rewards in more ways than you can imagine.

101 What the UX for Everyone Blueprint Teaches Businesses About People

UX is all about humans who use your products. It is the art of learning how to give them what they really want.

When I put together the UX for Everyone Blueprint course, I set myself a challenge. Is it possible to give someone actionable, valuable UX insight and skills with only a few hours of learning time? Can someone who’s never thought in UX terms before becoming an informed decision-maker, able to increase the appeal and value of their website or online store, without totally retraining?

The answer is “yes”, but only if you start by learning how UX experts think before you move on to actually making changes to your website.

Don’t Just Fix Today’s Problems – Build Better Things Tomorrow

A lot of starter courses or quick-fire UX guides skip straight to the hands-on stuff – moving buttons around webpages or rewriting calls to action. But I’ve learned that people who don’t see the big UX picture can struggle to adapt their new skills to different projects or situations.

Fixing a bad bike path is one thing; knowing how to design enjoyable paths in different environments is another. So my course starts with what UX (and its cousin, UX design) are and how they work in different contexts. It covers empathetic thinking and human-centered design. Then we start making stuff. A little bit of grounding goes a long way.

As one person told me a little while after completing the course, “I now feel so much better equipped to give a positive experience on my site and in my process, so I can give my client’s customers a better experience on their sites.”

That tells me that he’s adapting his UX thinking to new problems, which is a great outcome. And that thinking is changing his business’s bottom line: “Frankly, I got more valuable information in your short course than I did from another course costing many times your price.”

I love knowing that UX can make businesses better. The UX Blueprint speeds projects up, prevents costly mistakes, and gives you recurring revenue opportunities as you optimize.

It will win you more jobs because you’ll learn how to be a better listener to your clients’ challenges.

A Personal Offer to the Cloudways Community

As a Cloudways Maverick, I’m committed to doing what I can for the Cloudways community. That’s you!

So I’m offering free personal 30-minute one-to-one consultations when you sign up for the UX For Everyone Blueprint course.

If you saw our Mavericks webinar earlier this month (it’s available on video now), you’ll remember Jan Koch’s WP Agency Summit site. Jan and I had a one-to-one consultation about this site, and later he told me, “the conversion rate on the landing page improved by 400% literally overnight”. It will be great to see what’s possible for other Cloudways customers.

There are 10 consultations available and a December sale on right now, so now is the time to act. When you sign up for the UX for Everyone Blueprint course, use the code CLOUDSHIGH.

I can’t wait to meet more of the Cloudways community and show you how to reap the true value of UX.

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Piccia Neri

Piccia Neri has been a practicing designer for over 2 decades, working with global brands & cultural institutions. She runs her own global UX & design consultancy agency from Spain, offering workshops & courses & speaking at conferences internationally.

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BFCM 2019