In digital advertising world, there’s sometimes turmoil experience between running online campaigns and the reality of methodical discipline of user experience design. Ad guys don’t want to slam on the brakes to wait for the UX team to go through persona modelling, journey sketching and paper prototyping. If a system or journey is flawed and doesn’t allow passage, use, enjoyment, or whatever experience is relevant in the context, then it’s most likely not working as a communication. If you’re investing a lot but not applying the rigour as you move into digital media where conversions to purchase and CRM are most likely made then you’re pouring cash down. And nobody likes that.
So how do we turn loser experience into good user experience?
- Good UX design generally works to reduce bad friction and remove barriers to allow flows across systems.
- Everyone in the chain should be intra-communicated some simple concepts.
- Ads are often disruptive and disturb flows in order to attract attention. They create good friction while creating good brand experience.
The most effective campaigns are actually a mix between good friction and frictionlessness. Grabbing attention and disrupting flows but then creating brilliant, motivating and undisrupted journeys that fulfil a users and brands desires adequately.
If you agree that these 3 points are true then you can appreciate why tensions exist between practices and also why a more productive collaboration and balancing between disciplines is attractive. Beyond journeys and flow, UX acknowledges that system structures, special arrangements, orders, priorities etc. and interaction design all pertain to brand as does visual expression, language and messaging. And here lies the second tension, the fight between brand expression enforced through messaging and conventional art direction and that expressed through the ways things are constructed and how they feel to use.
Again, the optimal outcome is an unique balance between these forces that need to acknowledge which are most appropriate in each context as consumers pass along and around the chain. Don’t let strong-armed messaging corrupt intuitive passage in the depths of a user journey but also avoid overly architecting a compelling yet illogical campaign film either.
The UX Designer can play an important role from the start of most campaigns, helping to provide a different perspectives and ultimately ensuring that good ideas are progressed and realised in a way that offers value to a user while meeting the business objectives. The key is to bring them in early enough. And don’t be mean to them because they’re a bit quieter than you and a lot less caffeinated. Involving a UX Designer as early as possible in a brand campaign during the creative process can help to evolve ideas based on an inspiring set of user insights and behaviours that give a totally different view than standard aggregate market data. Interaction design rather than merely a delivery issue can also become a defining aspect of a campaign if considered early enough.
For a lead or sale generation campaign, the objective is to persuade and convince in a short space of time and elicit a direct response, usually involving giving up some personal information or money. Here, the UX Designer plays a much more central role – ensuring key messages are presented, the content and narrative are compelling and the calls to action are prominent and relevant.
There is also a huge shift towards brands creating services that provide opportunities for ongoing engagement with the user and to reinforce their brand values through behaviour and demonstration. Services that are simultaneously revenue generators and brand builders, well-knowned services like Nike+, Uber integrating pick up and drop off times into Google maps etc. These service / brand hybrid projects being spawned the world over put UX challenges at the centre. If you’re facing these kinds of challenges then put UX up front and don’t let anything out of the gate until you see satisfying smiles on their faces. If your project relies on genuine uptake and sustainability of a service then you’d better be robust in your UX practice.
Sadly, many brands are trying to shortcut this process with the result that many new ‘service’ based ideas are created that are destined to fail because they are simply attempting to create new customer behaviours that are not founded in any user need or desire or recreate services that already exist elsewhere in a more accessible format.