The invention of mobile apps and websites has paved the way for a new kind of design thinking— user-experience or UX design. According to Fast Company, a UX designer concerns him/herself with how a product, like a mobile app, feels to the user. The designer’s job is to make the flow of the product work in such a way that it feels seamless to the user.
Although there was a time when people mostly thought of UX in terms of design, these days, its reach has expanded into other areas, including marketing. If you haven’t thought about why you need to think about your customers’ user experience (UX) as you design your marketing campaigns, you should. Here’s why.
Defining User Experience
Although a product’s UX is closely related to its user-interface (the UI or the phone or computer’s screen), UX generally addresses the usability and accessibility of a product. While the product’s look has something to do with that, there is also something that’s a bit intangible about UX. A good-looking user-interface that doesn’t work smoothly or flow logically into the next task will frustrate the user.
Websites with a lot of bells and whistles—features like music that plays automatically when the website is loaded or image-laden pages that load slowly—can all affect the user in a negative way. Many times, a person who lands on such a site will quickly move away from it, even if it contains useful information because it’s too difficult to load the website or app.
What Does This Have To Do With Marketing?
Did you know that our brains store bad experiences longer than good ones? This is because our brains prioritize the memorization of bad experiences to avoid repeating them.
Let’s go back to the website example above to see how this relates to marketing. The website itself might look absolutely stunning. However, a good-looking website that isn’t also user-friendly will turn off users. Websites that offer a terrible user experience brand themselves in the user’s brain, making the user avoid the website to avoid the unpleasant experience that goes along with it.
This is where UX intersects marketing. Nowadays, websites and mobile apps play a significant role in the marketing of your product or service. A site or an app that offers a poor user experience will affect your bottom line. If people log off your website, how will they see your amazing offer? The answer is, they won’t.
Avoiding UX Issues
Forbes suggests that you do some user testing to avoid some of the UX issues that will crop up with your apps or website. Ask your selected users to test your website, your mobile app, or even the sales copy that you’ve written on your landing pages. Find out where there’s a glitch in the program. What makes using these tools jarring?
Keep your feelings in check while you do this. While it may sting to hear their criticisms, this feedback becomes invaluable to you as you further develop this product. As Medium points out, marketing and UX actually have the same goal. While the stated goal of marketing may be to create brand awareness, the best marketing programs show the user or customer how that company’s product best meets the customers’ needs, above and beyond any other similar product they might find on the market. That’s also the job of UX, to meet the user’s needs.
Where To Start
Your marketing efforts and your UX development shouldn’t follow a “Ready? Fire! Aim!” approach. Excellent UX moves in a linear fashion, much like storytelling does. And the best storytelling often starts with a rough draft.
So too, does the best UX. Most UX designers will create mock-ups. That is to say that they’ll hand-draw each potential page of a new website or mobile app, making sure that the functions of that page flow well into the pages that follow. These visual rough drafts show the flow of the website or app. Any place where there is a breakdown in the user’s ability to navigate the site or the app will eventually represent a breakdown in the company’s brand story or marketing narrative.
To avoid this eventuality, always build a planning stage for your marketing campaigns. Create mock-ups. Write rough drafts. Meld these elements until they become seamless. Also, ensure that you don’t tell the story all at once. Let it unfold across the site, much like the story unfolds in a video game or book, across multiple pages over time.
The best marketing campaigns these days utilize the principles of excellent UX design. They make the user’s experience more pleasant and engaging, which keeps the user on your website or mobile app. Well-designed marketing stories unfold over time, allowing the user to take in the whole story and to join the story wherever he/ she is at. If you find that you’re losing a lot of visitors and you don’t know why look first at the UX of your website or marketing campaign. Chances are good that there is a glitch somewhere in the progression. Fix the glitch, and you’ll likely retain more customers in the process.
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About the Author
Ben has always had a passion for technology and what makes things work. Designing websites to learn new styles, Ben brings a designer’s eye to web development. Before beginning his career in Web Development, Ben served in the US Army as a Signal Soldier. Ben helped units stay connected by maintaining network connectivity and overseeing Satellite and Antenna Communications.