With more and more businesses recognizing the immense value of user-centric design, the rise of UX (User Experience) is a hot topic in business, marketing and design. At its core, UX is about evaluating a brand from top to bottom and crafting every part of that brand to be a positive experience for the user. UX is most often associated with big tech companies who are ever seeking to improve their apps and digital experiences to stay competitive in an always-evolving marketplace. But UX is much more than just evaluating the functionality of an app, and any business can apply essential UX principles to make their brand stand out from the crowd. These three principles are at the center of every UX designer’s work, and they are great ways to help a brand gain devoted, happy users:
Empathy is the key to success
Empathy is everything. A deep and sincere understanding of users/customers is essential for success. This goes beyond just knowing the demographics of the target market. It means seeing all aspects of your brand from their point of view. It means practicing active listening and validating the emotions of customers when they email you with a problem. It means genuinely caring about them as individuals and making sure that they are the hero of the story (see Josh Walker’s awesome blog). When customers feel valued and understood, they will be more likely to recommend and return to your brand again and again. Empathy also extends into the often-neglected realm of accessibility. Does your website have alt text built into the code for visually impaired users? Are the color tones in your ads distinguishable for folks with color blindness? A few simple steps can assure that any user can experience and enjoy your product.
Feedback is your best friend
Collect as much feedback from your customers as possible. Comments, reviews, email correspondence and any other feedback is a goldmine for seeing your brand from the user’s point of view. The negatives can help identify pain-points and recurring issues that need to be addressed, but positive feedback is equally valuable. What kind of emotional responses do people have to your product? Why do they love it? How do they use it? This data is invaluable for marketing your product and helping your business grow. If possible, set up an interview or detailed survey with a few customers. Really get to know them—their likes, dislikes and the reasons why they use your product. Their answers can fuel stronger marketing and build better empathy and understanding between brand and user.
Evaluate the entire journey
If you’re an ecommerce company, maybe you have fast, free shipping and a product that arrives in beautifully designed packaging—but is your return/exchange process confusing or frustrating for the customer? If a user emails a question, is it answered quickly? If someone were to call your business would they be greeted by a real person or the frustration of an automated phone system? Consider the entire experience of a customer and how to best handle the ups and downs of the story. Some user frustrations can’t be eliminated—folks will always have products to return and forgotten passwords to reset, but making these frustrations as painless as possible will help users stick with the story and see the experience as positive overall. Small details can make or break a user’s experience.
Applying UX principles to your brand can make a big difference in gaining loyal, happy customers. Empathy and understanding of who your customers are and what they want is at the core of a successful brand. Be dedicated to your users—and make sure your marketing agency is as dedicated to success as you are. If they’re not, just give us a call.
All the best,