Importance of UX in Visual Content Marketing (for better conversions)
The traditional way of content marketing is producing and strategizing the great content that includes text, images, videos, info-graphics, landing pages, email newsletters and other graphics related to the content. But even before that, you need to really focus on what content are you producing and how your audience feels about it.
People really do not give time to read something is what they don’t need. Eventually, the role of visual elements, and layout of the content, as well as the whole page, becomes quite important in terms of showing your business/idea/concept and meeting the user needs at the same time.
So how does the User Experience comes to the role?
In a brief, the user experience is how the user feels while interacting with your service/product/system or reading the content. The important KPI of the marketing is how the user responds back to the given situation(in terms of usability, look, feel, value and desirability) and completes his as well as your business goals. The metrics could be traffic volume, User Engagement, Social Shares, etc on the basis of which your goals get accomplished.
Hence, while you write great content, a great UX can help you to shape the content and take leverage of the results.
Human Emotions and Behavioral Sciences*
The intensity of user interaction with the system/product depends on the visual aesthetics of the design, the appeal of colors, images, and layout that draws the emotions out of the user. This satisfactory experience of the interaction results in the user’s high tendency of loyalty and engagement with the brand.
The term Psychology of Human-Computer Interaction is said to be first known in 1975, that researches the relation between human, computers and design and provides inferences about human behaviors exhibited as a response to different stimuli. Different behavior outcomes are the result of the different human personalities encompassing different cognitive abilities in self.
As UX designers/product managers/content writers one must understand that a unique user has its own unique mental model that influences the user’s interaction with the system. A mental model is a representation of your own perception and relationship between the world and things around. Thus, with the help of cognitive science, understanding of the mechanisms, processes and their underlying perception, memory, attention, categorization, decision-making, comprehension, related processes, and structures can be related to practical design issues and get the most out of the user experience.
UX and Psychology Principles for Content Design
It is widely accepted that “Content is the King”. Once you are done writing with your content, first get it tested and evaluated using the below UX Honeycomb* by Peter Morville.
(Image Source: The User Experience Honeycomb - Peter Morville, 2004, Copyright:FairUse)
The content is consumed and validated by the user in a way how it is presented. So here apply the UX principles for adding the value to your content as well as the user, in the context your goals and user’s goals get a sync.
Keeping Consistency of the visual elements like buttons, colors, icons, call-to-actions, hyperlinks, the work-flow for completing a similar kind of goal, etc, is very important. The basics of this principle refer to the science of cognition. The advantages of having consistency result in less load on memory and learning as well as.
One of the example that explains this principle better is the website of Webomaze, a digital agency. In the website, the navigation, font style, the buttons appeal, the call to action Language, the contact form field colors are consistent throughout. The language is plain simple, informative for the call to action buttons, that the user should be able to carry out the task at first. Thus, similar visible structures help a lot of users to complete their goals easily and give them a sense of satisfaction.
Match between the system and real world, one of the guidelines from Jakob Nielsen and Rolf Molich, the usability experts says the context of the content: visuals should match with that of users visuals in the real world. As a designer, you must not put the burden of phrases or meaning finder to the user. For example, few websites use jargon and language that could be understood by specialists only and not by everyone. Thus, not only the language but the visual elements shall relate to that of those in the physical world.
For example, to provide a natural way of reading and highlighting, the iBooks app in the iPhone offers a highlighter feature that enables a reader to highlight every word and character. In the real world, one while reading the book highlight with a highlighter pen, which gives the user a quick relation and high efficiency in achieving the tasks the reader intended to do.
Provide Goal Related Information: One of the principles laid by Ben Shneiderman, Founding Director (1983-2000) of the Human-Computer Interaction Laboratory, is the stimulation of positive experiences in the users, by providing them relevant information. Now the relevant information could be the content about a context, a dialog box, informative feedback, an instruction, or maybe guidelines. When a system fails to express the users about their goals and about the intermediate feed-backs of the task they are performing, it induces lots of negative experience and frustration.
Source:Twitter.com; Copyright: FairUse
While using the Twitter app, the red color on the loop informs the user that the tweet is out of length allotted. Been there no such system, every time, a user has to input and delete words not knowing when the character count is reached. The goal-related information can be shown by visual animations or the content. The language shall be brief and simple enough to inform the intended purpose of the user.
Recall and Recognition is quite an interesting concept in the UX field and it is related to the cognitive system of short-term and long-term memory.
In the first use, we are usually in recognizing the state of a particular element(s), but as the use begins, we are already in recognition state with those element(s), then it just takes a second to complete the tasks until it has to be recalled.
According to George Armitage Millar*, founder of the cognitive psychology field, experimented and found the capacity of short-term memory (active state of memory) to be 7 plus minus 2, also knows as Magic Number 7. The long-term memory is where knowledge is held indefinitely and the memory fades naturally if the knowledge is not recalled. Thus, keep the load on users for retrieving the memories less as possible.
As an example, if you have seen in e-commerce sites, the work-flow of browsing and making payments for the products is quite familiar with users due to follow of similar kind structures used by most of the sites. This would be the best example of recognition.
Source:Myntra.com; Copyright: FairUse
If you see above, the brand Myntra has unburdened the users by showing the filters they have chosen. Been it not there, it would be difficult for a user to remember and recall the entries of filters marked, as the Short Term Memory can persist only for 18 to 30 seconds.
“Think of your Customer and your Customer will think of you.”
Shaping the content with better UI and UX guidelines, and helping user with proper information retrieval and feedback, entrusts the user-bond, satisfaction level with their completion of tasks and the level of efficiency. Certainly, the conversions would be high.
“Human Computer Interaction” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Human-computer_interaction
Dillon, A. (2003) User Interface Design. MacMillan Encyclopedia of Cognitive Science, Vol. 4, London: MacMillan, 453-458.
“User Experience Design” https://semanticstudios.com/user_experience_design/
Shneiderman, B., Plaisant, C., Cohen, M., Jacobs, S., and Elmqvist, N. (May 2016, Designing the User Interface: Strategies for Effective Human-Computer Interaction: Sixth Edition, Pearson)
Nielsen, J.(1994). Enhancing the Explanatory Power of Usability Heuristics. Enhancing the Explanatory Power of Usability Heuristics, 152-158.
“Ten Usability Heuristics” https://www.nngroup.com/articles/ten-usability-heuristics/
“Long Term Memory” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Long-term_memory
“Short Term Memory” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Short-term_memory