5 Ways UX Design Will Bring Your Branding to the Next Level
One of the keys to a brand’s success is its user experience (UX). It is critical for customers to have a memorable impression because UX is heavily tied to brand perception.
Take for instance, the ‘United Breaks Guitars’ incident in 2008 with Dave Carroll from Sons of Maxwell. On his United Airlines flight, Dave had a bad experience with the brand because the baggage handlers on the tarmac broke his guitar. Though the baggage handlers were independent of United, because Dave perceived that it was under United Airlines’ bad handling, he blamed it on the brand. He later wrote a song about how United broke his guitar. Within one day he amassed 150,000 views and influenced the United Airlines’ stock prices to fall 10% within 4 days of the video being posted online. It goes without saying that user experience is a deciding factor for products and brand success in today’s digital world.
A beautiful user interface (UI) can only go so far to sugarcoat a bad UX. Therefore, it is important to not only invest in good UI, but also in great UX. Think of it this way: your brand or product is like a beautiful girl. The UX is her soul and personality, while the UI is how she looks. If she’s pretty, you may be drawn to get to know who she is, but once you find out that she has a terrible personality, you may not want anything to do with her. Remember, beauty is only skin deep and so goes for brands.
The following is a list of 5 areas for which a well designed user experience will help grow your brand:
1. Good UX Creates Positive User Perceptions
First time interactions with a brand create lasting impressions, whether it is an in-person experience or an online experience. Perceptions can turn into deeply rooted beliefs, which affect how people engage with digital products.
Perception is critical to a user experience because it helps to build or break brand equity. For example, if a user had lousy experience with a new app, she may write bad reviews and slander the brand online. On the other hand, if a user had an delightful experience with a new app, she is more likely to tell others about it. This experience then creates positive perceptions for those who have yet to try the app.
Changing the way people feel about a bad user experience is a difficult and costly challenge. By hiring a UX designer to get involved with your app or software design process early, you are able to have more control over bad brand perceptions. A UX designer’s task is to effectively translate your business and user needs into a meaningful experience for the target users. And don’t worry, no matter how bad your product is or how far into development you are, a UX designer can always jump in and conduct a user experience review or testing.
No matter how bad your software, a user experience designer can jump in to help rethink the process.
2. The UX of User Loyalty and Trust
A poor user experience design can damage user loyalty and trust. It is crucial that brands build relationships with their users. You can take several key steps to ensure that you build and secure your user’s trusts.
For instance, one important perception that can build or damage loyalty and trust is privacy. Most people do not know how frequently their personal data is collected online. Users want transparency about the use of their personal information, but also don’t want their tasks to be interrupted abruptly. Privacy settings can be buried in a menu, as long as it is easy for users to find those settings. Important tasks such as checkout processes must be designed for trust and security by including security badges and an easy way to find frequently asked questions about payment.
Loyalty is another thing. Loyalty can be built in many ways: rewards, gamification, social proof and status, making it easy for people to complete tasks, creating delightful interactions, helping users remember information, and many more. Loyalty must be earned, but it can also be planned.
Loyalty must be earned, but it can also be planned.
3. Good UX and Word-of-Mouth Marketing
Companies and brands spend millions of dollars each year on marketing and advertising to acquire and retain customers. However, users are no longer heavily influenced by ads, but rather “personal relationships” with companies, as well as social proof metrics such as ratings and reviews. Whether they love it or hate it, users will talk about it. It is vitally important that your users’ experience of your product and brand enhances their positive emotions.
For example, if a person wants to download a task management app, she will most likely have no preference as to what app to download; however, what will persuade her to choose one from another are the reviews from other people. Poorly designed apps (not necessarily the visual interface, but the UX) will have bad reviews about the app’s bad functionality, confusing navigation, long sign-up forms, untrustworthy design, etc.
Give your users a great experience and they will go tell their friends about your product and do your marketing for you. Put that large ‘marketing budget’ away, and instead set aside a budget for User Experience Design. Take the time to understand your users better and then improve their user experience—answer their questions, learn their needs, and ask for their opinions. When users feel that your product is catered specifically for them, they will not only love it, but talk about it.
Give your users a great experience and they will go tell their friends about your product and do…
4. UX design leads to competitive advantages
Branding is everything. The better the overall experience that users have with your products, the more they become advocates of your brand. And, the bigger the user (and fan) base, the more competitive advantage you will have against other companies. This is all thanks to a positive user experience that will encourage users to engage, connect, and buy with a given brand, outstripping the competition.
It is the user experience that differentiates one brand from its competitors. Take for instance the Facebook vs. Myspace (if anyone still remembers Myspace).
From the beginning, both services offered similar features: networking and information sharing. What differentiated Facebook from Myspace was the overall value that users gained from their interactions on Facebook. Users on Facebook were able to more easily connect with their friends, share their status, gain a consistent interface experience, play games, and satisfy deeper needs.
It is User Experience designers that can help create this value because they have the strategy, tools, and methods to understand user needs to best create experiences that are easy, efficient, and engaging. Furthermore, UX designers know how to find out what your competitors are doing right and where they are falling short, so that you can create something better.
5. UX and Better Return on Investments (ROI)
Show me the money! Investing in a UX plan can not only save your company money, but also help increase its revenue. A UX designer will help build your product right the first time.
For instance, even if your main target audience is researched and identified, there could be miscommunication between what is actually designed and whom it is designed for. What this means is that the experience needs to be tailored specifically for the target audience. Often times, the user interface designers create what is aesthetically pleasing, but not necessarily functional for the actual users. Best practices, industry trends, user test data, and psychology research can all be applied to meet the target audience’s needs.
By excluding the UX design process, a company will inevitably spend more money making development corrections. Perhaps the interface designer has created a UI that is too complicated for the target audience to understand or the navigation is misleading.
Research shows that spending on 10% of your budget on User Experience results in 80% of improvements. UX designers can help you create positive user perceptions, build user trust and loyalty, spread word-of-mouth marketing, gain competitive advantages, and lead to better higher ROIs.
Key takeaways: Understand your users, and provide them with that they need based on your research. Utilize UX principles, best practices, and current trends to hit home. This will increase brand loyalty.