The UX discipline is killing brands by being emotionless

When is the last time you actually had a really good feeling about the website or the app you just used? I would dare to say that most users these days don’t feel very much other than perhaps being slightly satisfied with getting what they were looking for but other than that didn’t feel particularly enriched by the interaction. And in a whole lot of instances that is the current best case scenario since many platforms are still not providing a very inspiring experience.

Well, isn’t that what User Experience or Experience Design is supposed to solve, you might think? To my mind it should but my claim is that in general it isn’t really doing that. In fact, a lot of UX seems to act counterproductive to the very foundation that brands are built upon.

The reasons are probably multiple. Since the discipline arrived from the studies and optimization of usability it brought with it a strong bias towards an overriding sense of logic for structuring information and constructing navigation. However, this type of thinking often leads to everything being organized through what we could dub the “template syndrome”.

Content and functions are being neatly arranged into similar patterns to create recognizable features that users get used to – and will react positively towards in user tests because people tend to lean towards predictability. Also visual designers could be said to work more effectively, designing and crafting the visual experience, just taking the grey model wireframes and providing the color scheme, fonts, copy and some imagery like it was a coloring book.

This all sounds quite rational and is easy to argue to both colleagues and clients but is a very dubious path for brands to follow because the results are often dull, not differentiated enough, largely emotionless and forgettable.

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