In essence, UX design and social media are both activities that focus on delivering exceptional experiences. In a business sense, however, all too often the teams involved operate in silos. This ends up with the user experience and social team impacting on each other without fully understanding what the other is up to.
For those of us who are positioned to bring both ends of the spectrum together, we understand that doing so provides better insight. Insight that supports the delivery of better end to end experiences.
During my session held for Social Media Week Bristol 2016 at Nomensa HQ, with this in mind, I invited delegates to consider the relationship between UX and social media in the context of business. Here’s a little flavour of what we discussed – although you’ll have to get a little creative and imagine all this with a cold beer and a slice of pizza to hand!
Listen, Learn, Respond
In a connected society, the business need for better digital experiences is growing fast as the number of interfaces surrounding us increases. So, in the "always on" society, where switching from one online business to another is just a click away, ensuring that your digital estate is usable, intuitive and engaging is a prerequisite to achieving commercial success. We all now live in an experience economy where bad online experiences are losing businesses revenue.
Good user experience design is focused on delivering success by balancing both the needs of the user and the business in equal measure. This means is that one of the most fundamental aspects of UX is understanding what the users and the business need to achieve in parallel. To do this user experience designers have developed a range of research techniques to discover how we all behave online.
One area that is often overlooked by UX’ers as a valuable source of insight (although obviously not here at Nomensa) is the social web. However, as we go about our business and share our observations online, we are tattooing the internet with a record of our thoughts and feelings creating a rich source of behavioural data. Listening to these observations provides another behavioural input for our design team to draw upon. A data source that, along with the other forms of research we do, allows the design team to respond with effective user centered designs.
Here at Nomensa, as head of social, a large part of my role involves looking at this relationship between UX and social media strategically, ensuring the steady supply of insights from across the social web to support the delivery of the design work we do.
Influence and Motivation
A significant part of the day was spent in groups working through exercises that helped everyone think about social a little differently. As disciplinary neighbours, social and UX are focused on delivering exceptional online experiences. In social we are preoccupied with influence as a key dynamic in this process; what is it that influences you to choose one product over another?
Alternatively, UX designers tend to think about the choices we all make in terms of motivation. During the workshop, we all spent time exploring the concepts of influence and motivation and the part they had to play in how we make decisions and how we experience the world around us.
Obviously, with only two hours to cover a lot of ground, getting to the bottom of these behavioural factors was impossible. Instead we spent time looking at the Paul Adams model of influence and the BJ Fogg B=MAT behaviour model, as I use them regularly to frame social and the impact it has across the three phases of the customer lifecycle framework.
Customer Journey Mapping
To draw the workshop to an end we spent time creating customer journey maps. In groups everyone plotted out online journeys as they considered the following scenarios:
- Enrolling for a university degree course
- Switching broadband provider
- Buying pair of trainers or shoes
- Booking a holiday
- Buying a washing machine
My focus was to bring a room full of social media pros to the understanding that there are much more valuable ways to use social than are traditionally thought of by marketing teams.
We discussed the commercial imperative for excellence in digital design and how here at Nomensa our UX designers draw upon a range of behavioural inputs to deliver this.
I highlighted that there is real value in the everyday posts all of us make about the world around us. That this data source enables user experience designers to discover more about how we all behave.
We explored influence and how it is much more sophisticated than many consider in social. That it isn’t about having the biggest audience, the furthest reach or going viral. It is about the strength of relationships we have with others.
We also considered motivation and why it was an important factor in user centred design.
To conclude, we brought these factors together over beer and pizza as we considered the influences and motivations in a range of customer journeys.
I had a great time sharing with everyone a little glimpse into my role here at Nomensa and why it is important to understand the cross over between UX and social media.
If you would like to view the deck that supported the workshop it can be found on slideshare.