Good Digital UX, Part 2 – Emotional Connection

Earlier this month I started a series on 5 essential ingredients for good digital user experience. The first part of the series focused on clarity and getting users to understand what your product or service does.

In this second part I will focus on emotional connection and how it attracts users, getting them interested in your product or service.

Making Sense of Emotional Connection

To get a better understanding of how a user can feel emotionally connected to a product or service, think of the way in which we become emotionally connected to people: personality. Generally, we are attracted to – or at the very least, intrigued by – a person’s personality. And that personality can comprise everything from how they speak and the type of vocabulary they use, to the type of clothes they wear and how they relate to (or treat) others.

In the same way a person has personality, so too do products and services. And in the same way, a person’s personality will appeal to one person and not the next, so too a product’s personality will appeal to one user, but not necessarily the next. It is therefore essential that the product or service communicate its authentic personality, so as to attract and engage the right type of targeted users.

If this all sounds too abstract and touchy feely, let’s take a look at a few examples from the online photo editing world.

PicMonkey is one of many popular options out there for quick online picture editing. Its homepage is pictured below:

PicMonkey homepage

After spending a few seconds on PicMonkey’s homepage, some key items stand out:

  1. the name, logo (winking monkey) and the tagline (Photo editing made of win) all hint at the fact that this is not meant to be a stuffy, formal experience for the user
  2. the different types of fonts used are all on the less informal side of the spectrum
  3. the paid membership is referred to as Royale and one of the benefits of this account type is described as exclusive, lux-o designs

Clearly, this ain’t your grandma’s photo editing tool. By using informal language as well as playful font, language and logo, they are projecting a personality that emphasizes relaxed & laid-back. And it doesn’t stop at the homepage. The when hovering over the Save button a tooltip displays Save it like it is; I’m lovin’ it!

While saving an image, the three picture qualities are listed as Roger, Pierce, Sean.

PicMonkey save

Now, let’s contrast this with another photo editing tool, Fotor:

Fotor homepage

The product name and description are on the subtle side. The homepage shows images with different type edits applied. The gold background and the use of pastel colors in the right hand navigation give the homepage a somewhat crisp look. The messaging is direct and to the point – no attempts at being witty or fun. This tool, compared to PicMonkey, has a more understated personality, that carries through to the editor, where picture quality options are listed as Normal, Medium, High (in sharp contrast to PicMonkey’s Roger, Pierce, Sean).

Fotor save

In conclusion

Looking at both sites and products, one cannot say one option is better than the other. What’s important is that both project a personality and that personality stays coherent throughout. Coherence is what makes for a cohesive user experience.

As these examples show, your product or service’s personality is a combination of:

  • Product name
  • Tagline
  • Tone of voice
  • Overall look and feel
  • Logo

Also keep in mind that the final decision about the above elements will also be influenced by the depth of understanding of your user. Interviewing prospective or existing users, researching competitors, and developing user personas, are some of the techniques that will help you refine these elements.

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