Lack of UX strategy is the gap between business objectives and users’ goals. If your product or service is designed in the most sophisticated manner but it fails to solve the users’ problem, then all the effort behind developing the product goes to waste. The product needs to be as easily usable as it is pleasing to the eye. Visual representation is absolutely important, however, limiting UX design only to aesthetics is a big mistake most brands make. Customers get attracted to the site for its look and feel, but if the website does not provide the functionality as expected, then the brand quickly lose customer loyalty.
This is where UX strategy comes into picture to ensure a positive brand experience.
The first thing before developing a UX strategy is to identify the users’ goals and requirement from your digital or offline product. Organization must venture into product development and design after gaining insight into customers’ mindset via through analysis, and research.
“Positive user experience promotes positive brand experience.”
The UX design must be intuitive and should give results as expected. For instance, in an online food ordering website, the first thing customer will look for is a menu. While choosing the items to order, if the customer is not presented with rates per item, then it is an obvious inconvenience. The customer only gets to see the total bill and the itemized bill once the order is complete. In such a scenario, if the total bill exceeds the customer budget, then the customer has to through the ordering process all over again still without knowing the items that will fit the budget.
There are unlimited choices for the customer regardless of the industry or platform.
Negative user experience such as this will definitely affect the customers’ decision on using the site in future or not. The brand may have huge marketing and advertising budget, however, the only thing that matters is customer satisfaction.
“Focus on Marketing and Advertising but Ignoring UX Strategy is a Huge Mistake.”
Customer satisfaction is based on customer experience and only if an experience is good, will it be repeated. The brand needs to ensure of it is providing a good experience to its customers on all available platforms. With multiple devices and platforms, customer base is diverse and the user experience is based upon the collective experience on all the platforms. As a brand, it is important to analyze your services and products continually and cross check the results with customer expectations. The best way to do it is by asking your brand some simple questions, like:
• Is your product translating into a meaningful experience for your customer?
• Are your customers coming back to your site for using your services or products?
• Is your website referred or talked about by your customer?
• Have you understood your customer persona well?
• Is your UX design and strategy aligned with your customer persona?
Answering the above questions will give you a better insight into your brand present perception as per your customers. These questions are vital in developing a positive brand experience and the answers must be found by thorough research and analysis in data collected from diverse sources.
Developing Positive Brand Experience
As discussed before, it is important to understand customers’ expectations from a brand in order to create a positive brand experience. It is obviously not as simple as it sounds especially when the product or service is yet to be developed. Depending solely on the customers’ idea of a product is not a wise decision as customers are not expected to articulate their thoughts perfectly in terms of what is desired.
Brand value and ethics play a major role in creating brand experience. Before commencing the design and development of the product, the brand must communicate its core values to its internal and external customers. By stating the brand value and marketing the same message on all platforms – online and offline, the brand is creating an image for the site user. User interaction with the brand in future is greatly impacted by the brand message about its values and objectives.
The most basic and simple expectation from a website is that it runs error-free and provides easy navigation. The fonts, colors, animation and all other visual objects should be consistent with the brand image. The features on the website must be placed as expected by the user. It is a famous saying, “Think Differently”; however, it does not mean confusing the customer by making a completely unconventional website.
While creating a unique and new brand visual is a good thing, it can be damaging for a brand if the user cannot find the basic features at the right place. For instance, it is highly disruptive if the webpage has a video that auto plays as soon as the page is open. The video might be essential for the user, but it is better to let the user feel empowered by giving a choice to view the video or not. Such minor inconveniences are enough these days to lose a customer.
User experience leads to brand experience which further leads to loyal customer base. Therefore, there is a need for user-centered designs. Only if your UX design is user-centric will the customer come to your website again and invest in it.
Qualitative Research for Branding
This is a new era of branding where brands are not only about data and aesthetics. Brand perception is now based on real people and their interaction with a brand. Organizations in various industries are realizing the importance of UX design and UX strategy and are making efforts to combine it with the brands’ marketing objectives for a successful brand experience.
Quality of research matters as much as the numbers (quantity). Ignoring the quality of research will hamper the purpose of quantitative research and the results found will make little to no difference in developing brand experience.
Customers demand interactions with the real brand value. UX plays a major role in crafting your brand experience and in retaining customer loyalty.