This blog post is written by Denise Pope, Creative Director of Wild Things, who provide Branding, Web and App Design in Milton Keynes.
Most of us can agree that we want our digital tools and services to be as easy to use as possible. We want them to make the tasks we want to accomplish feel easier, quicker, and perhaps even more fun.
Most designers have a good feel for UX. We’re very good at thinking about how the world could be, perhaps even should be, regardless of how it actually is. Consequently we often design for the ‘best case scenario’ in our heads and sometimes end up designing for ourselves – or even worse, the people selling a product or service rather than the people using it.
So if we do that in isolation, we lose sight of how other people view the world, and the work becomes relevant to only a small amount of people. which is why we also spend a lot of time considering the feedback we get from UX research.
The feedback we get from users, customers, and companies like Snap Out, provide us with insight from either a much broader range of people, so we can design more inclusively, or from a specific user group which might look at a task from a completely different angle.
The challenge for us as UX designers, particularly if we’re working for a specific brand, is to know how to take that valuable feedback and come up with something that works for both parties, and this is where UX sometimes leads a brand, and sometimes a brand will lead the UX.
UX leading a brand or a brand leading UX?
Let’s take a broad case as an example. Almost every single banking app has the same structure, user journey, screen layouts, and even typefaces – because they need to be clear and concise for such a broad range of people.
That’s great for users. Established user patterns are established for good reasons. But what if you’re a bank looking to differentiate your brand?
Have a look at the colour schemes each app uses. That’s almost guaranteed to be the most obvious element of an app’s look and feel that will be different across the spectrum of different providers.
So that’s UX leading brand. How about brand leading UX? This is where we tend to find the disruptors. The 90s and early 2000s Apple with the launch of the iPhone and perhaps more importantly, the App Store and the rest of their ecosystem.
The Apple brand changed user’s behaviour. It even created new behaviours. And it did it through creating great user experiences. And an insane marketing budget, clearly.
We have another very obvious example today, which is Tesla. They have developed defined the UX of their product so well that when you think of Tesla you think of the huge touchscreen in the middle of the dashboard. Arguably that is a world-leading UX, but it’s been driven by the brand’s desire to differentiate, to lead.
On a smaller scale, how do we implement user experience research findings into our own web and app projects – and even into our brands, and our products and services?
Implementing user experience research findings
Perhaps the most obvious but often overlooked method is simply to remember that we are not our customer, and therefore we must remember that what works for us, might not work for them. And this will become apparent through almost any research findings.
Secondly, we’ll map out user journeys across any web or app project and use the research findings to make improvements to those processes. Perhaps a Registration process that we thought would be simpler to split over 3 stages just needs to be tightened up a bit to 2 stages. Perhaps we could drop some user data and ask for it later.
When we’re designing, we think this stuff is easy because we know the product or service, but end users wont.
Thirdly, we use research findings to help refine and refine and refine a single concept until we believe it provides a solution in its simplest form. Strip away everything that isn’t needed along the way. I call this the Apple approach.
Is that button needed? Do we need 4 options on a dropdown when 3 will do? How about 2? Why do we need the option again?
It’s the same with colours, and typefaces. The less disparate elements the better – and when used consistently, the stronger your brand will become.
Any designer, and anyone responsible for commissioning design work should understand the importance of stepping out of their own shoes and into that of the user / customer
Research is a valuable process in understanding how users interpret how to accomplish a given task on your app or website
Findings from your research should be used to continually refine, improve, and develop your web or app design. As technology changes, so do UX patterns and behaviours, so you need to have a circular process of review, analyse, develop and implement.
Want to learn more?
You’re in luck!
Snap Out and Wild things are teaming up for an incredible event that you’re not going to want to miss if you live around the Milton Keynes area.
The event will be on February 18th, at 8:30am in Witan Studios.
As the first of its kind, this UXMK Breakfast club will focus on the technical aspects of how UX informs design and brand.
Discover Wild Things – Brand, Web and App Design Agency
Wild Things is a branding and digital design agency based in Milton Keynes. We work primarily with Tech Startups and SMEs to bring wild ideas, clever strategy, and creative design to branding, web and app design projects. We believe every brand touch point is an opportunity to bring fun and engaging experiences to your customers, and bring digital brands to life to help our clients become instantly recognisable.