I believe in starting a conversation with fellow leaders and learning from their experiences. Making their perspectives available to the whole community is one step forward in spreading the message about the importance of UX. That’s why I have started a project of #UXFika – lightweight conversations with inspiring UX leaders, creators, and people who make a change through design.

This week’s special UXFika guest is Frida Morberg – Head of UX at Conversionista – one of Sweden’s leading CRO companies. Frida is a data-driven UX Designer and Researcher and has embraced the synergy in between user experience and conversion optimization.

No matter what we call ourselves – conversion manager, researcher, analyst, product designer – we all have a common interest in building products and experiences that add value to both: users and business.

Let’s hear Frida’s thoughts on why UX and CRO need each other and how we should work together to create unified experiences regardless of what our titles say.

How did you get into the world of UX, Frida?

This question brings me back to my studies at KTH university in Stockholm, where I was studying education and computer science. At that time I didn’t know anything about user experience. The field wasn’t that developed as it is today. Halfway through my studies, I came across a human-computer interaction course and it caught my interest. It was quite overwhelming to discover a space where I can combine my interest in education and computer science. Therefore I rearranged my studies a bit and my journey into the world of UX has continued since then…

After graduating, I was stubborn not to get a programming job, but focus on pursuing a career in interaction design instead! And guess what – I did it.

What fascinated you the most about being in the UX field?

As a UX designer, you have to facilitate an experience without actually being there – in many ways that’s what you do as a teacher as well (adapting to the receiver and facilitating learning). This means that the field comes with a lot of responsibility, which also made learning more about the users and creating that experience an exciting adventure for me.

Eventually a couple of years in, Google Analytics started to pop up and quickly became an important part of product development – so I began learning more about it. It came very naturally to me to explore the quantitative since my time studying computer science. That’s why today I work many times in roles where I can combine my interest for UX Design, research, and quantitative data.

You are especially interested in the connection between Conversion Rate Optimization and UX – could you share what that synergy means for you?

That’s my favorite topic to talk about. The key is that even though you do research and release something to the real world – it is naive to think that it’s the best version it can be. It can always be better, and in a changing world, you need to be on your toes. Don’t be scared to test your ideas, don’t be afraid to see conversions go down during one of those tests. That just means that you have learned something and now you have the possibility to change and do better. That’s the synergy of UX and CRO for me.

Be humble to test your own knowledge. We can set a good foundation with research, but the product is never done – it can always be tweaked and improved.

How do you work with UX and Conversion optimisation at conversionista?

We usually follow a pretty strict double diamond method: we start with research (for example, analytics, usability testing, looking at current analytics and KPIs, doing in-depth interviews). Then we create ideas and concepts from research insights.

It is important to note that at the beginning of the project we set up KPIs and ask ourselves – what do we want to achieve? It could mean making users stay longer on a certain page, to have less customer service calls. Setting goals helps us evaluate if our effort was successful. The focus is on the outcome, not the output. After the release, we kick off the optimization part based on the initial KPIs set and that’s when we start to A/B-test ideas and tweak initial concepts.

In order to keep both user and business in mind, we really try to collaborate in cross-functional teams. Analysts and researchers combine their data into insights and with that knowledge about the users we together with design start building hypotheses on how to change certain behaviours into something that is beneficial for both the business and the users… The important part is that we consider both quantitative and qualitative data. They are both very important in the process and tell different parts of the same story. If you only focus on numbers, it’s easy to start guessing why people act in certain ways. If you complement it with qualitative interviews, screen recordings, etc – it gives a better overview of the problem you are trying to solve.

Are there any conflicts between UX and CRO specialists?

Historically CRO and UX haven’t always been the best of friends.

Sometimes when I talk about optimisation with UX’ers, I either get responses like “wow, that’s interesting” or “I don’t do that”. It is hard to find the middle ground. I don’t understand why some UX’ers get scared about doing A/B-testing. The most common mistake some UX Designers tend to make is thinking about A/B-testing as someone else’s business when it can actually be an important evaluation method (among many other important methods) that can help you learn more about what works for your users and what does not work.

The hardest part is making both teams talk to each other. It can be exhausting to talk to UX’ers who don’t want to collaborate with analysts and consider their job as a separate task. There are also CRO specialists who think designers just want to push pixels and create pretty things. In many ways it has more to do with our own prejudices and stereotypes. We should bridge the gap better in the future.

Do you have any tips on a successful collaboration between CRO specialists and UX specialists?

Teams succeed when they gain knowledge about the other side. Teams start clashing when there are knowledge gaps. Be open and humble to learn about “the other side”.

Set common goals for the teams. There absolutely must be a leading goal, a north star, but also make sure to set supportive measuring points that give a picture of how the user experience is as well as how it goes for the business.

Do you think accessibility has an impact on conversion?

Short answer – yes! Some accessibility guidelines are very easy to prove (like having a high contrast, building clear headlines, thinking about understandable ways of communicating). It is obvious that it will have a positive effect on conversion as well and we have seen tests like that raise conversions many times. However it is also true that some accessibility guidelines are more difficult to prove with A/B-testing – like structuring the markup so that it is readable by a screen reader. But just because they are difficult to evaluate and track doesn’t mean we don’t have to do them.

If you could work on user experience and CRO of your dream product/company – what would it be and why?

I have been working with streaming experiences before and I did really enjoy working with services where the focus was to really envelop the user in an experience that they want to be in. Experiences that make users disappear into other worlds, that is what I like to focus more on. Apart from streaming, I’m curious about game experiences and how to optimize those. Optimizing the experience without stealing time from the user is not an easy task. As a user, you want to find that next thing to watch but still be in control. It is a different type of conversion you are optimising for, it is a different type of expectations and motivations that drives the user as well.

Extra bits

A favorite recent read of yours:

100 things a designer should know about people – it is a fun and short way explaining complicated things.

Fear you would like to overcome:

The imposter syndrome would be nice to get rid of, it is always present. Especially when I am about to go on stage I question myself: “What do I really know?”

A person that inspires you:

When it comes to why I am where I am at the moment – I am grateful to my dad because he worked in computer science. It’s thanks to him I got interested in computers and learned so much about it.

About the UX Fika Series

In UX Fika series of blog posts, I talk with people that inspire me and whom I look up to as my role-models. The motivation behind doing this is, you might see some patterns and hopefully you’d be able to learn from the amazing people that I have had a chance of learning from.

For my international friends, FIKA is a Swedish concept, a state of mind, an attitude and an important part of Swedish culture. It means making time for friends and colleagues to share a cup of coffee (or tea). With no rush, full immersion and being present in the moment. That’s why I thought “UXFika” is a perfect name for meaningful conversation with UX leaders I look up to.

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