How UX research can inform branding and design

User Experience (UX) is an important layer of every brand touch point. We asked research experts Snap Out to dive into how research can help brands make the most of their UX design.

Guest Posts
User Experience (UX)
Branding
Research
By
Snap Out
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03
February 2020
How UX research can inform branding and design

User Experience (UX) is often thought of in regards to the technical aspects of products and services, as a way to make them more successful based on their user-friendly nature. However, what a lot of people don’t consider is just how valuable understanding UX can be in terms of the more creative elements of branding and product or service design.

In fact, we don’t think there is a time when including the thoughts and feelings of your users won’t help your business in some way! With that in mind, why would you not consider them in the design and branding processes?

We’re sure you’ve experienced the following:

You excitedly downloaded a new app, willing and ready to use it! However, before you’ve even got past the signup process, you’re already frustrated. You delete the app. You most probably forget the brand.

The truth is, unless there is a truly compelling reason to break-through the frustration of bad design (which there very rarely is!), it will turn customers and potential customers away.

This is why it’s so important to include your users from the beginning, to ensure that your product or service is designed well and that your branding appeals to the people it needs to. It truly is one of the biggest keys to success!


How to conduct UX qualitative research to inform your brand and design

First impressions matter.

And 55% of a first impression is based on the visual (Amanda Johns Vaden, source).

By including UX research in your branding, you can ascertain whether you’re giving the right impression to potential customers and, most importantly, how you can improve the image your brand is portraying.

To put it simply: You must first assess brand experience, in order to better understand the user experience as a whole.

As we’ve spoken about before, brand perception research is a great way to learn how to effectively communicate with your audience. Unlike a lot of other types of research, brand perception does not focus on the product or the service itself, nor on the user needs as such, but on exactly how that user views a product, service and company.

We recommend speaking to two types of people whilst conducting this research: Customers and potential customers. New customers are particularly brilliant to research as they can help you to understand what about your brand attracts users, whilst long-term customers can allow you insights into what builds brand loyalty. Talking to customers lets you understand how your brand is being experienced through its UX design.

Talking to your customer

Very little beats talking to your users face-to-face!

We recommend using a 50:50 interview technique, whereby the first half is focused on understanding your customers current behaviour (their current perceptions of your brand and other brands). This is followed by the second half which should be focused on testing each part of your brand collateral.

Whilst focusing on current customer perceptions, it is helpful to position yourself within the branding landscape: It is extremely valuable to understand how your customer views and interacts with your brand in comparison to others. This will help you to get a competitive edge!

Qualtrics recommend creating a list of the words you wish to be associated with your company (this should be related to your core messaging). Then, show interviewees your brand collateral, alongside the brand collateral of your competitors. Ask them which brands they think best reflect your chosen words.

In the second part of the interview, you can then focus in on individual aspects of your branding and discuss them. At this point you can ask open-ended questions about why the interviewee has the perception that they do, providing you with information on what is going well and what can be improved.

When exploring brand, Josh Braaten recommends the following questions as a good starting point in a survey but can apply to interviews.

  1. How Does <Brand> Make You Feel?
  2. How Likely Are You To Recommend <Brand>?
  3. Which Brand Do You Prefer?

(source)


How to use the insights to inform brand and design

The way that insights are fed back to the brand and design teams are really important. If the research is in a technical, difficult to understand report - then the research has become pointless.

There are a number of ways of reporting UX research findings that can then be kept alive by the creative teams to develop the brand or UX design. These include:

  • Storyboards
  • Use cases
  • Personas
  • User flow diagram
  • Customer or user journey map

You can learn more about these UX research deliverables here.

Key Takeaways

Whilst creativity and solid data are too often seen as separate entities, we know just how valuable they can be when used in conjunction. UX research allows businesses to harness this!

By gleaning insights about your actual users and their opinions on your designs and branding, you can ensure that everything you create speaks to them. This means more customers and greater profits.

What’s not to love?

The most important thing to remember though, is that this isn’t a linear process. Getting feedback from your users on a design should lead to improvements, followed by then getting more feedback! Plus, you should ensure that UX Research is a consistent part of your business routine, as user needs are bound to change over time, which your branding and designs need to cater to.

Want to learn more?

You’re in luck!

Snap Out and Wild things are teaming up for an incredible event that you’re not going to want to miss if you live around the Milton Keynes area.

As the first of its kind, this UXMK Breakfast club will focus on the technical aspects of how UX informs design and brand.

The workshop will cover:

  • Overview of brand, design and UX
  • UX and brand: how do you think your brand and design is being experienced?
  • UX and brand: how is your brand and design is being experienced? (Live user testing)
  • Tips to improve the way your users experience the brand


There are limited tickets available, so make sure you bag them while you can on Eventbrite.

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Thanks for reading!
Snap Out

About the author

Snap Out
Market and User Research Consultancy