It’s Time for the UX Community to Toughen Up
It’s time to take a giant step forward and realize we are the new brand leaders. Let’s consider a simple formula: Brand = Experience. Keep it simple, it’s not Brand = Experience minus time it takes to code, minus designers whim, minus hastily written copy deck, minus client fear.
Just this: Brand = Experience.
We, the UX crowd, are the new brand leads. We are the ones who will win battles and wars in customer perception and preference. Advertising leaves an impression, but digital interaction creates an immediate emotional state through functional creations.
Brand is emotion and effects living inside your phone or laptop and we are the creators of that connection. We are tasked with defining the tangible and real versions of brand interaction.
Digital is where consumers start, how they advocate and where they go for problems and all branded interaction is moving to digital.
Let me rephrase that: All branded interaction is digital. Period.
There are some laggard brands out there, so if if you’re working on a consumer brand that doesn’t have a digital product, get thinking… that brand is falling behind.
We Are A Breed Of Leader Who Has Left The Reins To Dangle For Too Long.
Why are there so many people changing our vision?
When I talk to people about this, the most common response relates to the mythical beast of “Group Collaboration.” I say this beast is mythical because any form of collaboration where one’s work is deemed less important than others is not collaboration at all.
Collaboration is agreement on a direction with everyone putting their piece to play. It’s a wonderful utopian vision that rarely exists. Someone drives the bus. Someone owns the goat. Someone eats the bagel. Someone hoes the pavement. Someone hates bad cliches’ and likes to make his own. (Sorry, tangent)
In an agency structure, why are design and content not led by UX? They are components of a user experience, but certainly neither is the whole. Design spawns from use and content is a child of voice, both of which manifest from UX efforts.
The brand experience is being affected by design and content, but those roles are not accountable for the end result of overall experience: they are not approaching the same problems in the same ways as the UX lead.
Evolution is a Constant
If brand preference is a spectrum of positive experience, we as experience designers need a bit of evolution.
Evolution means getting some credit for the improvements in brand perception that digital products are affecting.
We UX pros are all a strange shade of specialty, but we share the ability to create something from nothing, while keeping two conflicting thoughts in our head: managing complexity while advancing the experience.
Dig this: we love analytics and metics on site performance, so let’s move beyond the device and see how our work is measured on a larger scale. Let’s get a conversation going that takes our domain of user success and transforms it into a measurable positive benefit on a brand.
If you are working on a brand being measured for brand sentiment, I encourage you to get with the group who’s performing those analytics and dig in like a tick on a dog’s ass.
As a group, we tend to think about the screen. How things move, what they do, how they react to different poking and clicking. What we sometimes overlook is the emotive value that comes by interacting with our creations. What if we tied an emotional value to the result of every interaction? What’s the micro-value for a tap or a swipe?
This is where brand as experience starts to make sense. If trust is a series of good experiences over time and positive brand sentiment is guided by trust, it’s a magnificent truth that we propel the brand.
So I’ll say it again, it’s time to toughen up and create something remarkable, moving UX forward and upward.
Design by Fire 2012
Andrew Heaton will be one of the speakers at Design by Fire 2012. The sixth Design by Fire Conference will take place on Friday 12 October, from 9:30 to 18:30 in San Francisco.