User experience design (UX, UXD, UED or XD) is the process of enhancing user satisfaction by improving the usability, accessibility, and pleasure provided in the interaction between the user and the product.
It seems all too easy for companies to put their focus on, and money into telling their customers what to expect from them and what they are about. But what companies would really benefit from, and save money on in the long run, is focusing on the User Experience (UX) and building their brand around their user rather than their own desire to be seen in a certain light in the marketplace.
Ensuring that customers are experiencing the brand creates a meaningful and lasting impact on the customer. Which then builds a loyal fan base and increases user satisfaction.
In order to enhance user satisfaction and really align with the customer’s needs, the customer story must first be defined. A meaningful UX can only be achieved with a clearly defined story to model from. The customer story includes expectations, likes, dislikes, behavior, attention span, demographic, and especially, the psychology of the user.
What many companies may not even realize, is that under the UX umbrella, there is a plethora of other elements that play into the overall UX and satisfaction of the customer. Just some of these elements include, packaging, the user interface (UI), typography used on the site, company engagement and correspondence, and the list goes on.
For a company to clearly define the user story, they’ve really got to get into the head of the customer. By putting themselves in the shoes of the customer, a brand can define challenges, provide solutions and see their own company from the eyes of the user. It is all too easy to make assumptions from the standpoint of a brand, and not consider how an aspect of the site or packaging could negatively impact the consumer.
I like to call this tunnel vision. Being too close to something inhibits seeing it from an outside perspective. Understanding where the user is coming from and what they are looking for from the company will ultimately save the company money and bring the customer back time and time again.
Aligning the customer to the brand is essential. Before you invest thousands of dollars to build out a company, invest time in defining the user story. You can even invest in a company that specializes in this - which would be a much better use of funds.
Vitals Agency goes through an intention phase with each company to ensure that the desires of the brand and the needs of the customer are in alignment before anything even gets off the ground. Although they provide creative executables, they primarily focus on creating a more meaningful UX from the beginning. The process looks something like this:
- Define user story
- Design UX
- Creative execution of UX to have an impact
Getting clear on the needs of the customer from the very beginning saves everyone involved from an unnecessary headache and ensures that money is well spent, on both sides of the equation.
To create a meaningful UX, you have to understand the user story.