Yes, You Need to Care About UX

Don’t be fooled – digital strategists need to care about user experience design, no matter how many information architects and designers we work with. While you may not be personally wireframing websites 100 pages deep, you still need to understand user behavior as it pertains to your job. And since we’re on the topic, let’s take things to social media, an area that’s often overlooked. 

Social UX looks and feels a bit different from traditional UX because it is: most times, we can’t customize the platforms our projects live in beyond a certain point. Instead, it’s up to us to understand the user flow, and capitalize on simplicity. These executions require proper content placement, and an intimate knowledge of the actions someone will take when they encounter whatever it is, be it a promoted hashtag, or features integrated into a website.

Research is the bread and butter of a strategist’s job, so get your hands dirty with some of the UX variety. Don’t forget to cover your bases:

  • Profile your users: Build personas that not only cover the who, but the how, like which device they’ll be on primarily
  • Understand your limitations: Know which attributes you can design, and which ones you have to design around
  • Evaluate your desired actions: Streamline your call to action so that it’s realistic and enticing
  • Test, measure, optimize: Undergo user testing, establish your KPIs, and optimize in real-time once the project launches

Now, let’s take it into practice, albeit a simplified one (for the sake of example!). Let’s say our project here is to build a Facebook tab as part of a client’s promotional giveaway.

Profile: Female and male users between the ages of 25-34, primarily browsing on their mobile phones through the Facebook app. They have a heavy interest in travel, and use services like our client’s to plan their trips, which has fostered a strong brand affinity. These Facebook fans typically do not engage with content over 140 characters.

Limitations: Facebook tabs aren’t innately visible on mobile devices; we’ll need to find a vendor who can compensate. Some users have switched exclusively to Paper, which could slightly impact our overall execution. We’ll need to explore a promotional spend for content to create awareness in the news feed, which is the primary vehicle for users to get information (compared to our brand page). Our competitors have a messaging campaign running with lookalike targeting. Images for promotional messaging must follow the 20% rule.

Desired actions: Contest entries, requiring the completion of a simple form, and a Facebook Like.

KPIs: Entries; new Facebook fans; spikes in entries on days with promoted post support.

While UX design comes into play when we recommend how to lay out the content of our Facebook tab, all of these other items should influence our strategy. If we know users spend the most time on the first post, for example, let’s incorporate a pinned status update with a photo to our messaging strategy. We can’t redesign our platform, but we can advantageously capitalize on user behavior.

Facebook tends to be the standard example for all things social, but chances are you’ll be playing with other platforms and features as well. Have experiences to share? Get after it & leave a comment.