Use Clever UX Design to Solve Critical Marketing Challenges
Respect for the user experience (UX) is central to designing compelling devices and products that people will actually use. In this installment of our Five in Five interview series, Ricky Casdorph, senior visual designer at ViewPoint Interactive Solutions, talks about the role of UX design in solving marketing challenges, the process he and his colleagues follow when creating interactive experiences for Fortune 1000 companies, and where he thinks UX design is headed.
1 What sparked your interest in UX design?
I’ve always been drawn to computers, technology and design. In elementary school I designed rudimentary video games on paper so it was no surprise that I majored in design in college. I started my career as a concept artist for a small video game company where I was focused on color, typography — essentially how the game looked.
One day I was asked to create a user interface to allow one of our games to run on an iPad. Suddenly, my focus shifted from what the individual game elements looked like to how the user would interact with and experience the game. For the first time, I was deeply involved with function not just aesthetics. It turned out to be a pivotal moment that sent my career down a different path. It was then I knew I wanted the opportunity to impact the big picture: the total user experience. That’s how I made the shift from concept artist to visual designer on the UX design team.
2 How does UX influence the effectiveness of a device or product?
UX is the experience, connection and emotion someone feels when using an app, website, touchscreen presentation or other product — and it’s as important as the product’s appearance. If people don’t understand how to interact with a screen or device — or if they do understand but simply don’t want to because the experience is unpleasant — it doesn’t matter what your site, app or product looks like.
3 What types of challenges do customers bring to you and how do you use UX design to solve them?
My team creates cutting-edge touchscreen presentations, interactive games and other interactive solutions that companies like Boston Scientific, MilliporeSigma and Thermo Fisher Scientific use to showcase their products and promote their brands. That means they look to us to solve fundamental marketing challenges. For instance, how to convey a lot of complex, technical information quickly and simply; or how to present product information in a visually interesting but strategic way that draws attention. My job ultimately is to help them sell their products and services most effectively. Great UX leads to a more satisfied user. Companies that keep their users happy and confident earn lifelong customers who invest their time and money in a particular brand. Our customers look to us to help keep their customer engaged and happy.
4 Describe the process you follow to create ViewPoint’s interactive experiences
My goal is to get as much input from the customer as possible at the outset of every project regarding the business pain they're facing and then present options that solve those specific problems. That doesn’t necessarily mean giving the client exactly what they initially asked for. But it does mean giving them what they need. It is up to me and the team to figure out how to best help clients achieve their goals. We use a formal, iterative five-step process to guide us from discovery through delivery. This allows us to create, test and tweak so the final project is a winner for our client.
5 Where do you see UX design headed and how will these trends impact your work at ViewPoint?
By 2018, I see virtual (VR) and augmented reality (AR) products mature enough to be useful for marketing purposes, not just to gamers. Last year companies like Facebook, Snapchat, HTC and Sony released a wide variety of hardware devices and software applications that allowed people to escape to other worlds or augment their own own. Last-year’s rage Nintendo's Pokemon Go lets users explore their own cities and neighborhoods collecting items in real-world locations using their smart phone's camera. Facebook's Oculus Rift headset allows users to completely escape their own reality and explore whatever world or system the designer has conjured.
But to be truly useful and mainstream, designers and developers need to pay close attention to UX. Everything from text size to touch interactions to interface composition must be rethought in order to make safe spaces for users to successfully explore. Poor UX design can literally make people vomit! At ViewPoint, we’re exploring VR and AR and as the tech matures may go further down these paths.
If you’d like to find out how your brand can create a solid connection with your customers with a little help from UX design, get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can read more about UX design here.