Most businesses commit a great deal of time, human capital and money crafting their brands. They invest in style guides. They test positioning statements and taglines. They pay an advertising or marketing agency to develop creative messaging that cleverly communicates that mission and positioning to the marketplace. So, you might find it surprising that even some of the best marketing companies make the same UX design mistakes and put all of that investment in their brand at risk.
1. Thinking a great UI is the same thing as great UX.
We hear UI and UX used interchangeably all the time. But while UI (user interface) and UX (user experience) are two sides of the same coin, they require decidedly different modes of thinking and address distinct issues within the design process. UX design is a process not of colors or graphics, but one of organizing and prioritizing information and actions to create the shortest paths between users and desired behaviors (the user’s and the company’s). Great UI requires a designer and photoshop.
UX usually requires an information architect, a UX designer, maybe a business analyst, long sessions debating the numbers of clicks required to achieve a goal, a ridiculous amount of post it notes, flow charts, notepads, impassioned pleading and Diet Dr. Pepper. UX is more the how, and less the what a user encounters when interacting with your brand, digitally. All too frequently, companies skimp on investing in analyzing and optimizing the user experience and jump straight into adding a pretty face to their existing UI.
This is UI
This is UX
2. Not leveraging what’s truly important to your users.
The second major UX oversight occurs when marketers–even when they go through the entire process of creating a refined and streamlined UX–don’t take the time to understand what their users want. Users can’t tell you how many clicks they’ll tolerate on their way to some goal, but they can tell you what drives them to choose your brand over competitors, what they’ll expect to accomplish from their mobile experience and, what they’ll forgo. And most importantly, they might tell you what no one is offering that could be a competitive advantage. It’s the kind of market intelligence that informs each UX decision. And it’s the kind of intelligence that can move a user’s experience from positive emotion to positive action. In the end, if users come to your experience and don’t perceive it as aligned with their needs, they’ll move on to the next available experience that is.
3. Not aligning user goals with business goals.
For all of the time we have just spent talking about what the user wants, needs and expects, the ultimate task master in UX design is the business itself. Determine ahead of time what the key performance indicators (KPIs) are that ultimately determine whether your digital experience (be it a website, mobile app, or game) is successful for the business. Do you need to drive registrations? Then design the shortest most attractive user path to lead users to the registration form. Does the creation of sales leads drive growth? Then design at least part of your UX as an experience for which users are willing to trade contact information.
To paraphrase Forrest Gump, a brand is as a brand does.
In the end, our increasingly digital marketing environment means that outside of a traditional retail experience, a business’ UX is the only significant exposure most customers will ever have to the brand. If you can address these three issues, it won’t necessarily mean you’ve nailed the UX challenge, but you’ll be farther along than most.
Want to talk further about how UX can drive better business results?
Since 1985, Magnani Continuum Marketing has made it easier for organizations selling in highly technical and complex markets to deliver the most effective and seamless traditional and digital brand experiences. We’re more digital than your advertising agency. More strategic than your digital marketing shop. More creative than your management consultants. And a heck of a lot easier to work with than almost all of them. We’ve helped some of the largest corporations in the world, and some of the most exciting new startups. And we’d love to talk with you.
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