The spirit of UX was alive and well at ChinwagPsych14, held at the Museum of London. The speakers had a number of approaches to digital content, many of which encompassed the importance of user experience.
Anticipate & persuade your customer/user:
Personas – “Know your target audience”
Stephen Pavlovich gave an interesting example of personas created for a company selling gold bars, where 3 main personas were survivalists (ie preparing for apocalypse), family investors & people who believe in reptilian overlords (it’s a thing, google it)!
Mark Borkowski also suggested that we “love the haters.” Understand why they hate you or don’t purchase and try to build narrative around them, not just the people who already like you.
Emotion – “Think cue words not key words”
Emotion can be used to engage, grab attention, encourage the sharing of content (good news travels faster than bad). It can be used as an anchor to associate your brand with users’ existing memories, e.g. nostalgia. Emotional triggers ( and consequently virality) can be amplified by linking to hyper-current events.
Nathalie Nahai gave an example of how emotional cue words (she calls them trigger words) can be used in content writing with her formula for a killer headline:
Number+trigger word+ adjective+keyword+promise
e.g. subject: frying eggs.
Emotion can also be used to persuade via suggestion. Paul Marsden discussed some unnerving research into the power of suggestion, including how racist violence increases after televised boxing matches featuring a white vs a black boxer and how murder-suicide news stories affect pilots and increase plane crash death rates.
Emotion also plays a role in purchase decisions. The emotional side of the brain encourages impulsive decisions and can override the rational side of the brain. This can be harnessed by, for example, priming the user to think about how good donating feels thus increasing charity donations, compared to statistics showing how donations affect recipients.
Tell a story:
Storytelling – “Everything should tell a story”
Your site should tell a story. Stories engage people and help them overcome their indifference towards your site.
Why story telling works:
- The affect heuristic: stories can activate emotions
- The availability heuristic: stories can act as memory cues that build associations and knowledge of brands (e.g. Andrex puppies).
- The fluency heuristic: the easier something is to understand (and recall) the more credible we think it is
- The similarity heuristic: if a story resonates with a situation or memory, it affects our expectations
According to Sarah Walker, the brand or the product /service should have a distinct integral role in the story, but should not be the central focus. Also, the brand should not be tagged on the end like a sponsor as viewer’s experience “attentional blink” and won’t recall the brand.