Can we say that marketing and user experience design are two sides of the same coin?
I asked myself this question until I started to learn about UX and use it in practice.
My name is Kate Golovatyuk. I’m a marketing manager, and I aim to learn everything that can help me to promote the company in the best possible way, to define what else we can improve to satisfy our clients as well as to be attractive to our potential clients.
“Successful businesses figure out how to join business goals with user goals.” We call this value-centred design.
So, let’s say that we know our target audience, we know what our potential clients want, but do we really know how to inform them that we are exactly the company they are looking for? First of all, we interact with our potential clients through the website. So this is the most critical place where we can introduce our service to our clients.
Let’s think that we have an appropriate and exciting content that answers all the important questions about our service. Let’s assume that we have a bright and fashionable UI design. But these are not so effective if you make users “overthink.” I would say - don’t make users do plenty of actions to find an answer to a simple question.
Yes, don’t make users think! Or as Steve Krug wrote, “Don’t make me think”.
This book is a common sense approach to web usability. And I would like to highlight some basic patterns of user perception that I think every marketing manager has to make a note of. And the second book that I’m also going to mention in my article is “Seductive interaction design” by Stephen Anderson that tells how to create playful, fun and compelling user experience.
Why Seductive Interaction?
Stephen Anderson tells us how the same tactics we use to attract a mate can apply to interactions between humans and interactive devices. So I think the same tactics are appropriate for marketers as well.
I would highlight several ideas that I really appreciated and agreed with, anyway I definitely recommend you to read this book to cover all the information.
So, here they are:
► Make your product desirable by providing its meanings.
“The danger is in confusing “ease of use” with actually desiring to use something. These are two entirely different things. Both are essential, but simply making something more usable won’t guarantee any more clicks or conversions. In this case, it was a psychology that made this so engaging.”
Regarding that thoughts, the author introduces us with the UX hierarchy of needs model that consists of six levels: functional - reliable - usable - convenient - pleasurable - meaningful. And if you want to create a revolutionary product, you need to shift from a bottom-up task focus to a top-down experience focus, but without forgetting the basics of usability.
I would say that usability is indeed important, anyway a revolutionary product should be not only easy to use or convenient but pleasurable and meaningful. How can we design applications that can evoke an emotional connection in our users?
I caught myself thinking that I always try to put myself into the shoes of the clients before I create any offer, ad, etc.
From marketing point of view, I would say it works the same way - until you explain the significance of that product or why this product fits the best - nobody would be interested in that.
► Be playful.
To be playful means to engage audiences with positive affective states such as humour. I’m sure that almost everyone would prefer “Error page” with a funny illustration rather than just a general page with the inscription “Error 404”.
Look at the example below, the first picture shows only an annoying error message, while the second one looks funny and enjoyable, meanwhile, the sense of the page on both version is the same.
I think the second example makes everybody smile at list a bit.
“One study shows that our mental approach to sorting and rating information—how we categorise things—changes in response to our effect: when we’re in a good mood, we see more associations”.
In my opinion, the better way out in the situation with an annoying “Error” page is to create an exciting and playful design. Can we say that a funny design can impact our mood? I would say yes! Come on! You would smile at least! And if you are in a good mood you’re inclined to enjoy the product. Talking about associations, they are also important. As we know, associations make things more personal. And personality in its turn can make an interface feel more human and engageable.
So I would say that just as a visual design can improve the perception of the usability of an interface, emotional design can have a similar effect.
Thus the aims of marketers and UX designers are pretty similar in some cases, that’s why it could be useful to familiarise yourself with both of these directions.
Confirmation of that is the second book which I also recommend everybody to read - “Don’t make me think” by Steve Krug.
Don’t make me think!
Here it is an example of the homepage creation tips that are related to both marketing and UX design:
► Web page should be self-evident. Obvious. Self-explanatory.
Let’s talk about the homepage. The structure of the page, the presentation of the information, the content rest on the shoulders of a marketing manager. At least in my case, these are definitely my responsibilities. A homepage is a face of the company so it should include all the necessary information, it should be self-evident, self-explanatory because it impacts the first user impression. And the main goal of a marketing manager as well as a UX designer is to make this page “self-evident” as I’ve mentioned above, but from “different sides”.
► When you’re creating a site, your job is to get rid of the question marks.
Absolutely. When I was creating the homepage structure and the content for our website the main question in my mind was “What do our clients want to know first about our company?”. And based on my experience I created a list of these potential questions, answered the questions and then used this information for the homepage.
►What does your website say about your business?
There are several useful tips that can be used by marketers and UX designers that help to create a good homepage:
“The homepage has to: * Show me what I’m looking for; > * Show me where to start; * Establish trust.”
As I mentioned, the homepage has to include all the answers to potential questions, a suitable structure and something that confirms the expertise (portfolio, testimonials, etc.).
► The questions every homepage should answer.
“As quickly and clearly as possible, the homepage needs to answer the four questions I have in my head when I enter a new site for the first time: * What is this? * What do they have there? * What can I do here? * Why should I be here and not somewhere else?”
You can use it as a plan for your homepage. Actually, I did.
I want to conclude by saying if you’re going to understand your clients better you need to explore their behaviour from different sides. That’s why I think it’s important for marketers to be in close cooperation with sales managers, UX designers, etc. All this common information could help you “to put a jigsaw puzzle together”.