The blurring lines between UX and digital marketing | by Beth J | Jan, 2024


The usability and sellability of things are becoming one and the same, but it’s still too narrow a view.

Silhouette of a man sitting at a table looking at a laptop
Photo by Hannah Wei on Unsplash

Some of my favorite things to consider in UX are above and beyond the reach of the website or application I’m designing. I’m intensely interested in studying people’s behavior as they navigate multiple platforms, touchpoints, and interactions with everything in their lives. We traditionally call this CX (customer experience), but I’d like to propose that as the digital and commercial worlds converge more with our natural world, it’s now just our human experience (HX).

When we identify and try to solve a problem we are facing, how do we do that? Less and less, we look to individual products like a single app and website. As designers, we build these as siloed entities, but to a user, they are not independent experiences. Everything a human does before and after they engage with your product affects how they might interact with it.

Usability — which starts as a human-centered design initiative — is being wound more and more tightly into digital marketing, sales, and other areas. Are they still separate practices, symbiotic, or are we entering an era where they are one and the same?

The real user experience

I’ve never been a black-or-white thinker, and I believe humans don’t operate in a binary way at all. This is one of the limitations I’ve always struggled with in persona and user-journey work. They are limiting because no person operates exactly in the same way as another. Although we can chart out trends of the masses, the outlier data from each unique user still delivers vital and important context.

Basically, the user’s flow through a website or application means very little out of context to what is happening in the world around them before, during, and after they engage with it. Failing to capture this means we’re not seeing the whole picture.

Imagine this scenario of a mother using an iPhone to find and order diapers online.

Her toddler just had a blowout. This is the 2nd one today and after cleaning the clothes, the baby and herself up, she identifies that her diaper…


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