Social Media and the Impact on User Experience
Advances in mobile, social media and gaming technologies have moved the field of user experience into almost all areas of our daily lives. This has created a shift away from traditional usability (as you knew it) to the much richer scope of user experience, where users’ feelings, motivations, and values are given as much, if not more, importance than the traditional measures of efficiency effectiveness and subjective satisfaction.
Social media in its broadest sense is the opportunity for people to have a conversation in various places and in a variety of ways. It covers linked in groups, facebook, myspace, virtual communities, slideshare, flickr, dig, delicious, you tube and various blogging platforms like twitter and wordpress etc
By these various platforms your average Jack (or Jill) can broadcast a “word of mouth” conversation to thousands all over the world. For brands it enables creation of a loyal community, being closer to consumer opinion and innovation. Handled well, brands can create a stronger emotional engagement for users with lasting reach. This means better bottom line results, whether measured by traffic, sales, retention or recommendations.
As the use of social media becomes more mainstream for companies, we often come across it during user testing sessions. Below are my three top tips for getting the best user experience from your social media activities.
Bunnyfoot’s 3 C’s of social media user experience;
- Take the time to know your community / users. This will ensure you engage them with appropriate use of social media.
- Know what content they are interested in, why they have joined your community and then ensure they are rewarded with appropriate content.
- Don’t miss an opportunity to innovate always be thinking how you can use social media to make their lives a little easier e.g in the case of a cooking TV channel, provide the option for the shopping list to be texted to a phone or link directly to online shopping where they can order all the ingredients immediately.
- Make sure there is relevant and up to date content, which means dedicating resource.
- Don’t socially squat. Having a share link to your twitter account or action to join your facebook page is not a conversation or strategy for growth.
- Be real. We ran testing last month where the ‘Discussion’ area was, in fact, a pre loaded Q&A section, not in real time and not what was expected. Furthermore the facebook page offered little value to users, so they had no reason to either ‘like’ it or suggest it to their friends.
- Be relevant. If your social media strategy includes the use of blogs or TV channels make sure these are relevant to your user group and the most effective way to get the message across. We ran some testing on a site for 13-16year olds – they immediately engaged with the videos but switched off after a few seconds when they realised the content wasn’t interesting to them.
- The length of videos should depend on the context, however generally best to keep them as short as possible.
- Allow interaction to ensure people can skip in the video and comment on its value.
- Don’t clutter or overload the page with calls to action if you want to use the channel as a driver to purchase products.