There is a complex relationship between Web applications (apps), utility and marketing. Too many marketers use apps solely as marketing vehicles—resulting in self-indulgent, pointless widgets. To create truly successful apps, marketers need to take off their marketing hats and create user experiences their customers need, want and enjoy.
Good User Experience
The user experience is what sets your app apart and guarantees continued user engagement, user satisfaction, and achieves your marketing goals. It’s not just about the pretty interface. Design is important, but it’s the impact your website and apps have on users—their enjoyment—that creates powerful impressions. It’s important you take the time to develop a strategic understanding of your users and design around their needs. You must care about what your customers want from the experience.
For example, EffectiveUI worked with the Discovery Channel to build Earth Live, an engaging, consumer-facing Web app to promote environmental awareness. It’s a data visualization platform that lets users simulate manipulating Earth’s cloud layers and biosphere, watch sea temperatures rise and fall, and track worldwide environmental projects and breaking news stories. Users can combine visual elements dynamically to create scenarios around hurricanes and other atmospheric events, remix layers and share custom views. Earth Live not only generated ad revenue, but in the first three months, it delivered more than 355,000 page impressions to 160,000 unique visitors.
How do you focus on the user experience in Web apps and still work toward marketing goals? Here are nine best practices marketers can follow:
1. User Experience Research
User research is core to building a successful digital experience. What is the core issue and what do users want and need? Trust your users, they’ll let you know. I hear a lot of companies say, “We’ve already done the research—here are the survey results.” Why aren’t they actually talking to users, watching how they work, listening for pain points and understanding the tasks they need to accomplish or find information they need? It sounds tedious, but it’s very important, and many companies miss this step altogether.