UX design is the basis for why and how customers choose to interact and experience your brand. From a phone call to exploring your website, to how a live event is produced, UX design all plays a critical role in the overall brand experience. Here are 9 user experience strategies to improve the brand experience for your organization.
Definition of UX as it Relates to Brand Experience
The process of providing greater customer satisfaction and enhancing loyalty by making improvements to the ease of use, overall usability, and pleasure experienced by the customer.
1. User Research is Vital in UX
One of the most common pitfalls when it comes to entrepreneurs developing a product or service for their audience is the fact that they have not taken the time to understand what their audience actually wants. Designing a product or service in a vacuum can lead to a failed offering. Why?
Simply because the entrepreneur didn’t take the time to figure out what their potential customers want. User research is vital in user experience design. It serves as the basis for how and why a product or service is developed; to best serve the customer.
Build in a process to survey and have a beta test group of ideal users who can provide genuine feedback to you. This feedback loop will become essential to developing an experience customers want to interact with.
Remember, the user experience of your product/service/event will be imprinted into the brand experience. In other words, people will make the correlation between the experience they have interacting with your brand’s products and services with the overall impression of the brand. The two are very closely linked.
2. There is Not a Single Standard UX Process
While there may not be a unified body that can provide a rigid process to follow to develop an outstanding user experience design, one of the greatest aspects of UX is its flexibility.
Your brand and the experience you are offering are distinctive and unlike anything else. Embrace the UX design process to hone in on what makes your brand stand out. Take advantage of your brand’s uniqueness and let it shine through your user experience.
3. UX Design is a Combination of Best Practices Based on Research
With a background in design, one thing I know for certain is that design is made up of a combination of best practices based on proven research. What do I mean? If you look at architectural illustrations and start to break down the components that make up the artwork, what do you notice?
If you look at a series of architectural illustrations and start to break down the components that make up the artwork, what do you notice? You may start to see similar, if not the same objects appearing across multiple architectural renderings. You may start to notice a distinct style the artwork has and how each piece, while they may not be related, share similar aspects, objects, styles, and pieces to create a similar experience.
When you think of design a web experience, most often you start with researching what is most appealing and aligned with your brand. Then you want to survey your audience to determine if what you have chosen meets their needs as well. From there, it is an iterative, detailed process to develop a unique design and experience for your brand.
4. Attention to Detail Enhances the UX Brand Experience for the Customer
Now more than ever. Across multiple online platforms, multiple mediums (print, video, audio, face to face, etc.) – details enhance the user experience and further help to develop a consistent brand experience for the customer.
When working with an online experience, small details such as an informative error message or a few descriptive words to make a process more transparent can make a significant difference to the user experience.
5. Offering a Variety of Choices Can Hinder the UX Design
When your brand isn’t clear about who it serves and how it best serves its’ audience, you may be tempted to offer a variety of choices to let the audience choose.
When you allow this to take place, the user isn’t suddenly able to make the best decision. In fact, the opposite occurs. The user may suddenly feel overwhelmed, inundated with choices and information and a lack of understanding as to how to proceed.
By simplifying the choices and developing a transparent road map to guide the user from the starting point to the desired outcome, your brand experience not only puts the customer at ease but gives them a tangible way to follow along. A user is much more likely to get involved in a complicated process when they can see the big picture and evaluate each step along throughout the journey.
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6. Accessibility is Critical to UX
Accessibility is becoming more of a standard than an extra feature. Accessibility can be defined in two ways: accessing a brand across multiple devices (desktop, tablet, mobile) and accessing account information.
Accessibility through interfaces – long gone are the days when your brand may only have a website that can be accessed on a desktop/laptop only. In 2017, if your brand does not have the digital assets in place to provide an accessible, friendly user experience across multiple devices, there is a major flaw in how your brand is communicating to its’ audience.
Accessibility to information – this refers to account information a customer may have given to a brand. Think Domino’s Pizza, Starbucks, or even Facebook. Customers of these brands have agreed to sign up and provide their information to these brands. In return, they receive a physical product (pizza or coffee), or access to connect with others around the world. In doing so, the brand’s have allowed the customer to log in and access their information 24/7 without interruption (sans an internet outage).
Both of these types of accessibility play into the user experience and, on a larger level the brand experience.
7. Usability Testing is Fundamental to a Successful UX Design
The first strategy mentioned in this list was to include user feedback into the development of your user experience. Once you have developed the user experience for your product, service, event, or website, the next step is to have users test the experience and provide feedback. This is different from collecting information from users as you develop the experience.
Usability testing allows users to fully interact and engage with your product (i.e. membership site) and provide feedback as far as bugs, missing features, poor design, or missing functionality. By putting this component into your project timeline, it will help to iterate faster and get a product out to your audience that they will love that much more.
Allowing your best customers to provide feedback is also an experience in and of itself. By allowing them to peek behind the curtain, your brand builds trust, can feel more authentic, and create a deeper sense of appreciation for the brand. Plus, people like to feel helpful. If they can provide an insight that helps a brand develop a better product, they will be happy to share that story with others, which is free, positive exposure for the brand. A win-win!
Plus, people like to feel helpful. If they can provide an insight that helps a brand develop a better product, they will be happy to share that story with others, which is free, positive exposure for the brand. A win-win!
8. UX Plays a Role in Designing the Brand Experience
With the previous seven strategies, you may have noticed a theme. That theme is that UX design plays a big role in designing the brand experience. The two are intertwined, one not far off from the other. There is even some overlap, though both each has distinctive qualities.
How a brand is perceived is based, in part to how their product or service’s experience is delivered. If for example, you order from Amazon.com quite often, the overall brand experience will be perceived by how quickly Amazon is able to ship your orders to you.
Amazon’s brand experience is made up of its’ groundwork (vision, brand promise, mission, core values, and guiding principles), how it performs (usability of its’ site and shipping orders), and how its customers perceive the brand.
9. UX, Like Brand Experience, Should be Applied Across Your Organization
We know that the brand experience exists throughout your organization, in every internal and external interaction. UX design should be applied in the same manner. Internally, how do your employees interact with company resources? Is there a common intranet that everyone uses? Does one exist that no one uses? There may be an opportunity to redesign the intranet to develop a simple to use, easy to navigate user experience, which could spur more engagement, interaction, and brainstorms from your team members.
On top of that, your brand could study how employees interact with certain aspects of design on a site and compare that to how users/customers act with the same design. This could provide incredible insights into developing a UX design customized to your brand’s audience’s specific needs.
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How do you use UX design to develop exceptional brand experiences? Where do you get stuck? Let me know in the comments or through social media.