The Difference Between UX and CRO

During the time I worked at Parkos my job was to do CRO, but function also included some UX components. I was curious about the difference between UX and CRO, so I did some research.

Here is a quick overview of where this article is about.

What does UX and CRO mean?

To get a better understanding of what the difference between UX and CRO is I’ve defined both job descriptions here.

What is UX?

UX stands for User Experience. This means in short how a person experiences a product or service. The ‘experience’ consists of various facets like design, copy, interaction, usability, accessibility and information architecture (layout and structure of website or app). The focus with UX is on users while keeping the business KPIs in mind.

UX is intended to make your website easier to use, to navigate around, and to take key actions on. UX refers to an overlapping segment of disciplines and research that study how easy a website is to use. Usability, as it pertains to the web, is the degree to which a site can be utilized by a particular demographic to achieve quantified objectives with effectiveness.

Tasks:

  • Understand product specifications and user psychology
  • Conduct concept and usability testing and gather feedback
  • Create personas through user research and data
  • Define the right interaction model and evaluate its success
  • Develop wireframes and prototypes around customer needs
  • Find creative ways to solve UX problems (e.g. usability, findability)
  • Work with UI designers to implement attractive designs
  • Communicate design ideas and prototypes to developers
  • Keep abreast of competitor products and industry trends

Responsibilities:

  • Gather and evaluate user requirements in collaboration with product owner and developers.
  • Illustrate design ideas using storyboards, process flows and sitemaps
  • Design graphic user interface elements, like menus, tabs and widgets
  • Develop UI mockups and prototypes that clearly illustrate how sites function and look like
  • Prepare and present rough drafts to internal teams and key stakeholders
  • Identify and troubleshoot UX problems (e.g. responsiveness)
  • Conduct layout adjustments based on user feedback

KPIs:

  • Increase the task success rate
  • Decrease Time-on-task
  • Decrease User error rate
  • Increase System Usability Scale (SUS)
  • Increase Net Promoter Score (NPS)
  • Increase Customer Satisfaction (CSAT)

What is CRO?

CRO is from a business perspective, but also has input for the users. CRO is created to reduce the costs of ads (SEA). This means you buy less traffic to your website. To achieve this, you need to be smarter in how to convert these users. In short, the ratio of conversions needs to go up.

CRO is intended to help you make the actions you want them to make available and taken more often. CRO is the art of getting a higher percentage of website visitors to convert into customers or take any desired action on a web page.

Tasks:

  • Formulate the CRO strategy, plan, execute and monitor
  • Write hypothesis and do A/B and MVT tests
  • Visualizing user behavior and doing user testing
  • Performing analyzes on onsite performance and identifying areas for improvement
  • Advice in monitoring and optimization of tools
  • In collaboration with the channel specialists within the team, improve their online marketing channels
  • Optimize the user flow and conversions

Responsiblites:

  • Ensures a higher return from existing website visitors
  • Provides insight into the obstacles of the Parkos domains
  • Improves the Parkos domains with a data-driven approach
  • Improve the user experience of the Parkos domains

KPIs:

  • 50% of all tests are significant and successful
  • Parkos scores an > 8 for the user experience
  • Relative uplift of 5-10% in visitors who start the check-out
  • Relative uplift of 5-10% in conversion numbers

Comparing Skillset

What skills are needed to perform in these positions? Down below you can find the difference between UX and CRO in hard and soft skills.

Hard skills

Hard skillsUXCRO
Data Interpretation and AnalysisXX
A/B Testing (MVP/Split/Server Side Testen)XX
HTML, CSS & JavaScriptXX
Heatmaps / RecordingsX 
Visual DesignX 
User ThinkingX 
User TestingX 
Brainstorm Sessions / WorkshopsX 
Customer Journey / PersonasX 
Design ThinkingX 
Wireframing / Prototyping / FlowchartsX 
Psychology driven X
Persuasive Copywriting X
KPIs driven X

Soft skills

Soft skillsUXCRO
ListeningXX
CommunicatingXX
OrganisedXX
CuriousXX
User ThinkingX 
EmpathyX 
Flexibility X
Commercial Thinking X

Which team for which function?

Often you see CRO being part of the (online) marketing team until it grows its own team. UX is part of the product team. This is again a difference between UX and CRO, what you consider before choosing to move one way or another.

Why CRO is part of Marketing?

Since CRO is result/KPI driven and can have a direct impact on the business goals, it’s part of the marketing team.

Why UX is part of the Scrum team?

UX is driven to optimize the product as well as possible. Scrum is about making products that are valuable to end-users. The Scrum team doesn’t build features anybody is going to use. The Scrum team evaluates their work daily and improve daily.

The difference between UX and CRO conclusion

CRO & UX have similar skills. But they also require a very different set of skills that are key to perform in these positions.

Both of them are incredibly interesting if you are in any way helping a website to be more effective online, and both generally require original research and testing, and that is why the practitioners of these disciplines can become incrementally more effective outside individual tests in the other websites they design.

Studying and implementing tests around these disciplines helps provide a system for becoming a better web designer, not just in aesthetic preferences, but in an objective way. Not ‘I feel‘ this design decision will be more effective, but this design decision is more effective according to the numbers.

While this article made the difference between UX and CRO clear, both specializations are centered around user behavior and user interface, they are aimed to achieve different results but the same goals.

Final words

If you’ve enjoyed this article about the difference between UX and CRO, feel free to share it with like-minded people or just to explain to your managers/boss what the difference between UX and CRO is.

If you have any questions related to this article, hit me up on Instagram @sandervolbeda or send me a message on LinkedIn

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