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The Importance of User Experience (UX) in Middle Eastern Software Markets

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Middle East and North African (MENA) countries are rapidly adopting Digital Transformation across all industry verticals in the region.

As the region’s digital economy continues to evolve, IDC predicts that investments in digital transformation within the MENA region are set to exceed $48.8 billion in 2023. 

It’s anticipated to progress with a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 16% in the ensuing years, surpassing $74 billion by 2026.

The evolving customer expectations have made companies chase digital breakthroughs to ensure that they set a robust digital footprint. This has led to the emergence of trends like UI UX Design, significantly improving the customer experience.

In the past, aesthetics were a matter of luxury. But in today’s competitive world, it is a necessity and a must-have criterion for every business offering any product/service. 

The worldwide market for UI and UX Design Software, valued at USD 1,160.95 million in 2022, is anticipated to experience substantial growth.

It is projected to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 23.37% over the forecast period, reaching a valuation of USD 4,093.63 million by 2028.

In this blog, we will discuss the importance of user experience (UX) in Middle Eastern Software Markets and how businesses can design the right user experience for Middle Eastern customers. 

Let’s get started! 

How UI/UX Designs Can Benefit Businesses In The Middle Middle Eastern Software Markets?

  1. Making Great First Impressions

Winning customers can be hard. If the design doesn’t make people want to find out more, they might just leave. People decide in a blink of an eye whether they like your website or not. So, the main goal of design is to make people want to stay and become active customers.

For example, having a progress bar can make a big difference. It tells people how long they have to wait, making them more likely to stick around.

  1. A Smooth Multi-Channel Experience 

Customers want services/products that feel the same at every touchpoint, whether online or in-store. This uniformity builds trust and boosts the confidence of customers. In today’s connected world, customers are quick to praise or criticize on social media. A single poor experience can tarnish the brand’s reputation through negative reviews and feedback. On the flip side, a satisfied customer can become a powerful advocate for the brand, drawing in new customers through positive word of mouth.

  1. To Offer Real-time experiences 

People want their digital interactions to feel as real as possible. Think about digital games—they bring real-world experiences to our screens. This approach is now being used in other areas too, like virtual try-ons in online shopping.

  1. Seamless Navigation 

Customers want to reach their goals quickly and easily. They want apps that address their needs with minimal fuss. Modern apps aim to lessen the mental effort for users by having clear and simple navigation. This strategy not only cuts down the need for extensive customer support but also quickly resolves user queries, empowering them with instant solutions.

  1. Offering Hyper-personalized Experiences to Each User

Personalizing services is now the norm. Take Facebook, for example—it shows users content based on their interests and behavior. People love services that adapt to their preferences. Design is key in delivering experiences that feel specially made for each user. In places like the UAE, online shoppers want more than just easy ordering, delivery, and returns. A whopping 65% of customers want brands to understand them and treat them as unique individuals.

  1. Reduced Acquisition Cost

A great user experience is the best advertisement you can have. Things like how long people stay on your website and how many come back show how much they like it. For apps, it’s about how popular they are in the app store. Positive reviews and word of mouth can do wonders. When your customers are happy and talk about your products, you’re already halfway there!

  1. Enhanced Customer Satisfaction and NPS score

Companies know they need to keep their customers engaged. Keeping old customers is way cheaper than getting new ones and helps you understand them better. Good design makes customers happy, and happy customers love to use your products. This is especially true for fintech companies who are focusing on making things easy for the customers.

  1. Cut Down on Customer Service Costs

In today’s smart world, every call to customer support means something went wrong. Every time customers have to call you, it creates extra work and costs more money. Designing with the customer in mind solves this problem and helps the company save money.

Example: Chatbots have helped cut customer support costs by 30%, making things more efficient and speeding up response times.

  1. Avoid Expensive Mistakes

If you don’t think about how the app should work and who will use it, it might not be helpful to the users. If users can’t find their way around, they won’t use it, leading to expensive redesigns. Thinking about design from the start gives insights into what users want and avoids these problems.

How can businesses design the right user experience for the Middle Eastern customer? 

Designing the right user experience for Middle Eastern customers involves a deep understanding of the region’s diverse cultures, languages, and user behaviors. Here are factors businesses can consider for aiming to create a user-friendly experience for Middle Eastern customers:

  1. Translation and Usability

Languages in the Middle East are generally more wordier than English. Direct translations can impact usability adversely. It is essential to use precise words that avoid linguistic discrepancies.

  1. Respect for Cultural Values

Understanding and respecting local traditions and cultural norms are non-negotiable. For instance, Arab culture is traditionally conservative, and direct translations of certain English words or phrases may be deemed inappropriate. Designs should be culturally sensitive and not solely based on general population behavior. 

  1. Multilingual Support

Offering multilingual customer support is crucial for usability and reflects a commitment to reaching out to customers, expanding the target market.

  1. Use Localized Elements 

When creating products for the Middle East, respecting local customs and religions is crucial. For instance, a website designed with respectful imagery, appropriate colors, and language will attract more users. People in the Middle East appreciate subtle, pleasing graphics over bold, loud ones.

  1. Consider Their Cultural Mindset

Arabic culture is family-centric, with elders often influencing decisions. Emotional appeal can sometimes outweigh functionality and usability in product preference. 

Products that resonate with local values, are user-friendly and are relatable to all age groups have a better chance of success in the Middle East. For example, Starbucks managed to localize its offerings to suit coffee lovers’ preferences in a region with a rich coffee-drinking tradition.

  1. Write In Arabic Language 

Arabic script, written from right to left, requires special attention in design. A mirrored version won’t suffice. Misunderstandings in language can lead to user dissatisfaction.

Arabic is more elaborate than English; even digits have specific writing rules. With the region’s rapid technological advancements, adhering to local linguistic rules has become more convenient with proofreading software

  1. Language and Localization

There is always a competitive space between local and international. However, with advancements, this trend is shaping user preferences. Languages and dialects vary widely across the MENA region. The common phrases in the West might be perceived differently in Arabic cultures. 

Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) is commonly used in the digital space as it is universally understood. However, we always recommend that you get it proofread by a native speaker to eliminate redundant mistakes. 

  1. Technical Details 

Despite high social media usage in the Middle East, sectors like online banking and shopping are still catching up. This disparity is partly due to varying socio-economic levels and a general lack of trust in digital transactions. Designs that are intuitive and build user trust can bridge this gap and encourage digital adoption.

  1. Create User-Centric Design

Design principles vary globally. When designing for Arab users, real people with unique needs and preferences must be considered, not just statistical data. The visual appeal and user-friendliness of a product are paramount. Even small details can significantly affect user satisfaction, like accommodating longer names in form fields. 

User experience is paramount, and as its advantages become more apparent, it alters how businesses address customer needs. Organizations with effective UX strategies have experienced a 37% revenue increase.

Case Studies of Successful UI/UX Design in Middle East

Case Study 1

One of the most successful UX designs in the Middle East is the Careem app. Careem is a ride-hailing application that operates in many countries in the Middle East. The app has been designed to cater to the needs of the local population and has been a huge success in the region. The app’s UX design is simple, intuitive, and easy to use. The app’s interface is available in Arabic, which is the primary language spoken in the region. This has helped the app gain popularity among the locals who are more comfortable using Arabic.

The app’s design is also optimized for the slow internet speeds that are prevalent in the region. The app has been designed to load quickly and efficiently, even on slow internet connections. The app’s design is also optimized for the local culture, and the app’s branding and color scheme have been carefully chosen to appeal to the local population.

Case Study 2

Another successful UX design in the Middle East is the Noon.com e-commerce platform. Noon.com is an online shopping platform that operates in the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, and Egypt. The platform has been designed to cater to the needs of the local population and has been a massive success in the region.

The platform’s UX design is simple, intuitive, and easy to use. The platform’s interface is available in Arabic, which is the primary language spoken in the region. The platform’s design is also optimized for the local culture, and the platform’s branding and color scheme have been carefully chosen to appeal to the local population.

The platform’s design is also optimized for the slow internet speeds that are prevalent in the region. The platform has been designed to load quickly and efficiently, even on slow internet connections. The platform’s design is also optimized for mobile devices more commonly used in the region than desktop computers.

Both of these case studies demonstrate the importance of UX design in the Middle Eastern software markets. By designing software that is optimized for the local culture, language, and internet speeds, companies can create successful products that appeal to the local population.

Wrapping Up! 

In the digitalized world, everyone seeks to leverage top-notch technology without it being a drain on their time or mental energy. Companies are swiftly aligning their strategies to minimize the cognitive effort required from users, aiming to provide solutions that are both impactful and meticulously crafted to meet individual needs. 

The emphasis on UI and UX Design, pivotal in enhancing user contentment and enjoyment, has become a crucial component in the development of products. From a commercial perspective, the importance of UI and UX Design has surpassed price as the primary value proposition for numerous digital offerings. 

This shift is prominently observed in the MENA market, where the value placed on convenience, security, and personalization outweighs cost considerations in consumer choices. Now is the moment to give your customers compelling reasons to engage with your product.

For software enterprises targeting the B2B sector in the Middle East, Zoftware serves as the essential gateway. It goes beyond merely providing connections; Zoftware guarantees seamless operations by delivering support infrastructure and implementation services, all facilitated by the System Integrators available on their platform.

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