Why a human-first approach is essential to your online brand strategy

Just like the iPhone, 3D printers, and driverless cars, when Google Glass launched in 2013, the glasses — which featured a small, lightweight wearable computer — were touted as the ‘next big thing’ in tech.

Functioning as a hands-free smartphone, users had the ability to browse the web, and access their camera, maps, calendar, and other apps using voice command.

But despite the cutting edge technology and all the bells and whistles, there were two key problems that became apparent after launch:

  1. People felt pretty dorky wearing them; and
  2. The glasses made everyone around the wearer feel uneasy (think creepy, intrusive and privacy-destroying vibes!)

“No one could understand why you’d want to have that thing on your face, in the way of normal social interaction,” summarised the MIT Technology Review.

The failure of Google Glass is a classic example of what can happen when humans are not placed at the centre of a design process.

And as we find ourselves in the midst of a global pandemic, it has never been more important for brands to understand how humans behave and interact, particularly in the digital realm.

“The COVID-19 crisis has sparked rapid, large-scale changes in human behaviour,” cites the Boston Consulting Group.

“Radical shifts in how we live—such as the way online interaction and remote working are now more the norm than an option—are likely here to stay.

“New modes of engagement mean more users—and higher expectations—of digital channels.

“By unlocking the user’s perspective, designers can build solutions that work well and work widely in our new reality—whatever that ultimately looks like.”

So, how can this be achieved?

In this article, I’ve outlined the principles and value of Human-Centred Design (HCD) and User Experience (UX), to explain how you can integrate HCD/UX in the context of your brand’s website.

What is Human-Centred Design (HCD) and User Experience (UX)?

At its core, HCD is an approach to problem solving that inserts a ‘human perspective’ in all steps of the problem-solving process.

Human involvement typically takes place in observing the problem within context, brainstorming, conceptualising, developing, and implementing the solution.

The benefit of HCD is that you can gain a better understanding of people’s needs, motivations, and concerns.

The purpose is to build products or services that meet the goals of both the user and the business. In practical terms, this means putting your customer at the centre of your business, your product and your marketing.

While HCD looks at the bigger picture, UX is more granular.

It focuses specifically on improving a user’s satisfaction, and engagement, with a digital product — for example, a user purchasing an item from an online store via their mobile phone while at work.

The value of Human-Centred Design and User Experience

In an increasingly competitive marketplace, HCD and UX is fast becoming the differentiator in customer engagement and business success — just look at some of the world’s most successful companies for proof.

Jeff Bezos, the founder of Amazon, invested 100 times more into customer experience than advertising during its first year — and UX is credited with taking AirBnB to a US$10 billion business.

In fact, a study conducted by Forrester showed that companies that invest in UX see a lower cost of customer acquisition, lower support cost, increased customer retention and increased market share.

According to Forbes, adopting a human-centred approach can also help build, and promote future growth for brands, too.

“It’s an investment in the customer journey that can build long-term loyalty and trust.

“Often, dissecting the user experience also reveals new product markets, audience segments and customer service platforms that can lead to future growth.”

Applying HCD and UX on your website

From a digital marketing perspective, there’s little value in investing in strategic digital marketing campaigns if users are not engaging with the content on your website once they arrive.

At Fuller, we regularly see websites that are underperforming because they were not built with the end user in mind.

Every business with a digital presence can benefit from the process of user experience — by putting the user at the centre of your website’s design you’ll have a site that is easy to navigate, understand and frictionless in allowing users to achieve their goals, ultimately helping you gain conversions.

To do this, at Fuller we follow a three-step process involving an in-depth inquiry into your website’s users and their needs, eliminating blind spots and unlocking opportunities.

1. Identify user personas
We’ll work with you to identify your target audience and create a user persona. We do this by conducting research into the “why” and “how” of your users’ motivations, behaviours, goals and expectations.

2. Map their journey
In assessing what the users personas need from your site, we’ll then map their journey through to key conversions. This process helps to uncover opportunities and uncover pain-points that should be considered in improving the users’ experience.

3. Developing and validating solutions
The empathy, insights and opportunities identified in previous steps are applied in developing potential solutions that are validated via testing.

This three-step approach enables us to build a website that delivers significant value for both your business, and customers.

If you’re thinking about building a new website or refreshing your current one, we’d love to help. Contact Fuller’s Business Development Manager, Paul (PK) Kitching to get the ball rolling.

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