The User Experience is Your Brand Message

3 Jul

More than 40 years ago Marshall McLuhan declared “the medium is the message”. This prophetic statement has never rang truer than since the widespread use of interactive media. Think about how much your brand says about itself through the interactions (the medium) that are part of the functions and features that your customers get to experience online.

Given that consumers have been spending an ever increasing amount of time online for years now, you would think the User Experience (UX) would have become a priority for most businesses. Yet, still today, most online experiences are tolerable and uninspiring at best, aggravating or extremely frustrating at worst. The endemic lack of attention to UX often erroneously justified by a misguided attempt to increase Search Engine rankings is one of the most mystifying practices coming out of branding and marketing organizations ever since paying $5M for a 2 square inch logo on a NASCAR racing car has become the norm. (not sure what the actual going rate is, but I’m pretty sure that is close)

Usability does not constitute good UX

Now, to clarify the meaning of UX, I think it is important to outline what it encompasses. In my humble opinion UX goes beyond usability and ergonomics. Usability alone does not make a great UX. You can even have (in some instances) good UX with spotty usability. But to illustrate the point on how usability alone does not constitute good UX, here’s an example: Ordering a book on Amazon.com was easy to accomplish and the process was simple and straightforward and yet I can’t say the experience was pleasurable and I can’t say it left me with a “warm and fuzzy” about the Amazon brand.

So what constitutes great UX and why should we care?

We should care because time and time again, studies show that a perceived positive UX is the differentiator between brand indifference and brand advocacy. Or in a sales environment it is the difference between single digit and double digit conversion metrics.

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