I think it’s about creating a space and a platform and a focus to center everything back to people.
Steve Kreeger is the Head of User Experience at Earnest Agency, an award-winning specialist agency on a mission to chase the humdrum out of B2B marketing. Earnest offers an unusually broad mix of disciplines including branding, campaigns, strategic planning, content, and experiential. Kreeger works with brands and companies to help grow their business by creating better experiences for their customers.
In this episode of Velocitize Talks, Steve Kreeger shares his insights into creating an excellent user experience and the strategy behind it.
Mastering UX Design (1:00)
User experience is nothing new in my opinion. It’s empathy, it’s engagement with people, and it’s an improvement to create something better or to reduce barriers.
“User experience has always been a challenge to help people understand it’s not an add-on,” says Kreeger. “It’s not a service that you add on to something in a digital way.” Indeed user experience has been around for a while and is most successful when embedded into the culture of the company as well as any digital property or experience.
Creating spaces designed specifically for the end user and their needs is the optimal goal for all brands. But while mastering UX design is important, there is a very specific end goal for businesses investing in UX: to help grow. Designers can link the UX to business metrics like conversion rates, retention, and improving brand perception in order to demonstrate how their tactics are both people-first and business-centered.
Personalization & Brands (2:26)
If there is a degree of more data that we can gather, in whatever way that can be done appropriately and legally, then there is an opportunity to increase personalization in a digital context.
Personalized homepage promotions influence 85% of consumers to buy while personalized shopping cart recommendations influenced 92% of shoppers online. Personalization is now the norm in so many websites, apps, emails and marketing that users expect this level of experience. Kreeger says it’s a huge focus from a UX perspective and that it is ultimately about understanding people.
According to UX Collective, personalization helps your product or service easily insert itself into the consumer’s routine thereby improving the user interface seamlessly.
Headless Frameworks (6:00)
Various kinds of front-end frameworks allow the flexibility of saying “let’s do anything,” and then let’s decide what that framework should be.
For those web developers that are running into the limitations of their design tools, going headless allows them to address pain points directly. Kreeger cites the ability to decouple any potential WordPress theme framework that restricts creative thinking in order to have complete creative freedom designing an incredible UX. Headless makes this happen.
Sometimes half of the problem for Kreeger’s clients is that their backend system is creating a bad internal admin UX. “With WordPress being so simple and so easy as a user interface… [headless] allows us to do both sides of that experience, from an administration point of view all the way to the brand organization,” says Kreeger. Creating digital properties with headless gives each part of the ecosystem longevity.
Website Performance & User Journey (7:25)
A concept in UX laws called the Peak End Rule is the peak and the end moments of the journey of a user experience. Those two moments are two of the key elements of how you feel when everything is done.
Due to Google’s revised Core Web Vitals, UX has become front and center in the discussion around website performance. Kreeger points out the Peak End Rule is the key to designing an exceptional UX. Since the first experience with a site and the last experience with the site create the sum total of the user experience, here are some key UX design principles to keep in mind, according to the Laws of UX.
- Pay close attention to the most intense points and the final moments (the “end”) of the user journey.
- Identify the moments when your product is most helpful, valuable, or entertaining and design to delight the end user.
- Remember that people recall negative experiences more vividly than positive ones.
Kreeger adds that performance, speed and optimization is significant in UX.
User experience design isn’t a new thing. It’s not a fad.
Kreeger feels it’s important to continuously refresh his UX, agile experience, and design knowledge. “Smashing UX Design” by Smashing Magazine was released in 2012, but Kreeger says it’s one he goes back to time and time again
“All we have to decide is what to do with the time that is given us.” — Gandalf, Lord of the Rings