Our lives are continually being shaped by our experiences and interactions, and in today's world many of those experiences come from brands. The brands that know they are shaping your life are the ones that are most focused on crafting the best user experiences and they are the brands that are most remembered. Still, building an unforgettable user experience isn't just for companies like Disney and Apple. If your business has an online presence you're creating a user experience -- even if you're not aware of it.
Here are 5 things all great user experiences have in common:
Design's primary purpose is communication, but that communication is framed in emotion. People need to know who you are, what you do and how you make their lives better within 3 seconds of beginning an interaction with your brand, but they also need to connect emotionally with your brand. The colors you choose, the fonts that are used, how elements are placed -- these all set the stage for a person's perception of your business.
A visitor to your website, app or event needs to know exactly what to expect from you. When they click "Learn More" are they taken to a page with a hard sell? When they sign up for your email list are they suddenly receiving emails from you every day? Before you can ask someone to take an action, you have to clearly explain what comes next and then stay true to the expectation you've set.
Another way to make users comfortable with your brand is to let them know exactly how you will support them. Make it easy to find the resources you offer and your contact information. Find out the top three contact methods your audience prefers and then be sure to make each method easily accessible for users: on-site chat, phone number links for mobile devices, "mail-to" pop-ups, etc.
A good design is easy for people to understand and follow. When a website, app or event is done right, people just “get it”. There are certain design conventions that shouldn’t be messed with otherwise you run the risk of confusing your users. A great example of this is icons. They can convey more information than plain text, but it’s a bad idea to replace standard icons with something "creative". Everyone knows that an “x” icon is used to close a window, but what if you replaced it with an arrow? Your users would be confused and not know what action to take. Use creativity on items that aren't responsible for user navigation.
With so many people accessing the internet from mobile devices, it's more important than ever to make sure that you're offering a solid, consistent user experience no matter how people are accessing your content.
Mobile-friendly designs require larger text, larger buttons, and fewer text links. At the same time, the content you offer mobile users has to be identical to what is on your main site; otherwise you're putting up obstacles to people interacting with your brand.
As strange as it might sound, when you think about the user experience, what you’re really trying to achieve is delight. By bringing simplicity to a complex problem, whether you’re designing a website or a user app, the more delighted the user will be with your solution. When Steve Jobs revealed the first iPhone he repeated the phrase “it just works” over and over again. This simplicity is why so many people are drawn to Apple products. The designers and engineers put so much research and energy into how people naturally interact with their devices, they’re able to create a fluid experience that delights people and keeps them as loyal customers.
You know you've delighted users when they no longer see you as a brand, but as a meaningful part of their everyday life.
Crafting the best user experience is about intentionally putting the needs and wants of the user first. It’s easiest to judge your brand's user experience
by stepping into the shoes of your audience and considering each interaction from their point of view.
Would you engage with your brand or would you give up and leave?