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4 years ago 5 min read

Good User Experience Starts with Good Advertising

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As holiday season is upon us, we tend to think a little more about advertising our products. It’s worth keeping in mind that marketing materials have a direct connection to UX. In fact, advertising can make or break the user experience of your product.

Quite often, the very first experience that a user has with a product is in the form of a tv, magazine or Internet advertisement. From the time when we were 10 years old and first saw the Red Rider BB gun advertised on television (excuse the Ralphie from “A Christmas Story” reference there, the holiday season gets the better of me), your mind drew expectations from that advertisement about the user experience related to the product.

Now, if those expectations are met positively with the user’s first direct interaction with the product, then you are well on your way to crafting a very positive user experience. Unfortunately, it appears that the opposite is true as well. If false expectations are raised from the advertisement, then the actual product becomes somewhat of a letdown. Now your user experience, it seems, never had a chance.

The way a given product is advertised affects user experience
The way a given product is advertised affects user experience.

The question now becomes something like this: Should product designers and usability engineers have some sort of input regarding how their products are advertised? Perhaps not; creative marketing work is usually done best by skilled professionals who also get to know the product very well before crafting an advertising campaign. However, it does seem to be an avenue worth at least exploring.

Extensive user testing through surveys, web testing, card sorting, etc. is usually conducted with an eye towards the usability of a product. Perhaps similar usability testing needs to be done for the advertising campaigns about the product design. It goes without saying that extensive research is performed about what viewers want to see in an advertisement. However, it would be interesting to research the expectations a viewer has about a product’s usability after seeing the marketing materials. This would be a good place to start when trying to build a solid foundation for a positive user experience.

In conclusion, the evolution of user experience continues to take some unexpected turns. As UX professionals, we are finding new and innovative ways to craft a better overall user experience constantly. It is easy, however, to lose sight of where it may all begin. It may benefit us to take a step back and try to see at what phase of the product cycle is the user experience shaped. Especially during the holiday season, when sales are increasing (if you haven’t done it yet, check this infographic) and so are users’ expectations.

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