As technology continues to evolve at pace, the expectations of users also increase around the level of sophistication of both the devices and the platforms they engage with.
However, as important a role as the capability of the technology plays, it can all be undone if the end-experience is poor.
Although typically what we talk about as user experience (UX) expertise most often sits outside of most marketing departments, it could easily be argued that both camps are striving for the same outcome: that their app, site or campaign provides a superior experience and as a direct result creates (for the marketer) a stronger brand affiliation or perhaps more customer conversions.
Despite this cross-over, many marketers don’t understand clearly what UX is, or know the impact that good UX design can have. There is definite room to improve the dialogue between marketers and UX designers to enhance the quality of the final product and hopefully avoid missed opportunities to create strong and engaging user experiences.
Recent and not-too-distant developments for both marketing and tech alike mean that forging the relationship between marketing and UX is especially important. As consumers spend more time on digital interactions, brands that offer powerful and enjoyable experiences will likely prove to be the ones that users come back to and appreciate.
As we move closer to the Internet of Things, technologists, UXers and marketers alike should brace themselves to take on a new set of challenges. From a UX perspective, success here will hinge on the ability to create strong user experiences on platforms across both the physical and digital planes. This will not only require designers with understanding of digital design, but also input from disciplines such as product design and ergonomics.
Typical UX insight from direct interaction with users and contextual research should feed closely into marketers’ understanding of customers and their requirements and expectations in order to create a collaborative understanding and approach.
In an increasingly connected world brand experiences will be spread over many devices, contexts and interactions. While this creates greater scope for brands to develop a coherent digital ecosystem, to do this well marketers and UXers will require a more joined-up approach rather than working with an array of disjointed experiences.
The secret to making this happen will be working together in the right way: UX specialists and marketing teams should be collaborating early on to inform design concepts that create great experiences at the same time as hitting specific business goals. Not involving development teams at this stage is a missed opportunity to not only validate ideas but also to add a further level of valuable experience and insight to the creative stage of a project.
Some marketing agencies already do this, but often not effectively. Many strategists have backgrounds in UX and can help marketers to understand what users are expecting or doing. However, difficulties crop up when there is a gap in understanding of both the practical and technical perspectives.
We believe that UX is as much a part of the developer’s responsibility as it is for the designer. Putting this into practice, we’ve found that early and constant collaboration between the two sides of the business is key to bridging the gap between aspiration and feasibility, which can save a lot of time and pain down the line.
Our work at Potato, designing and building complex web apps takes into account a diverse range of requirements and users. Whether we’re working with large businesses like Google, other agencies or start-ups, UX is always at the heart of our projects’ successes – as is collaboration.
It’s a logical step to include multiple disciplines in conceptual stages of the marketing process, ensuring that the most important pieces of the puzzle are there from the start. As more sophisticated and powerful digital platforms offer more opportunities to marketers, user-focused design will be the best way to deliver the engaging experiences and strong user connections that brands need. The key to making that possible will be to forge a strong connection between marketer, designer and developer first.
By Sam Smith, Head of UX, Potato
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