I was having a chat with a friend of mine the other day, when he highlighted a problem that he and his organisation were having with their product versus their competitors. On the surface the problem seems quite simple, but when you sit and think about it for a little longer, the problem is one which a lot of us are faced with each and every day when we are faced with buying decisions of our own.
Face value decisions.
Every day when we are faced with two opposing products, we very often make a snap decision and choose the one that looks the best. We, as consumers, forget to look past the marketing hype upfront and delve into the real detailed comparison of the features and benefits of each product.
This highlights how important it is for marketers to get involved in product development. While features and benefits are very important to all consumers, very often a good looking product will fly off the shelf faster.
Make it look good!
Let’s use my buddy’s example of a well written piece of software. Their software package is literally head and shoulders (not the shampoo) above their competitors; it is simple to understand and does twice as much as you really need it to at the end of the day. The price is extremely competitive, but they have fallen behind in making sure that their GUI looks as good as their competitors. Unfortunately it looks like it was built by a developer, and not by a designer.
The User Experience with a piece of software is especially important! Think about when you are giving a demo on a software package. If you are not showing how simple to understand and use your program is, then you are losing the war no matter how much better the software is.
The graphic above basically shows how and where the user experience can be influenced as the human brain and eye do not look at each element individually, but rather as part of the whole. This means that every element from programming, to interface design, graphic design and finally language all influence how the user will perceive your product.
Real world example
There are a multitude of tablets on the market at the moment; from Apple to Samsung to Motorola and everyone in between. Now there are those who will agree with the following example, and there are those that definitely won’t (but that illustrates my point even further)!
The Apple iPad is not the best tablet on the market in terms of features and functionality. In terms of design and user experience however, it is! The devise itself is pleasing to the eye as well as to touch; the OS is smooth and incredibly easy to use and that is what makes it an absolute winner with its market. Yes there are glitches and small bugs and the issue that it can’t play flash, or that there is no USB port, but users are very willing to overlook that because it is beautiful and beautifully designed.
The Apple brand does play a major role there are well; and Apple’s market is incredibly loyal and passionate about the brand; but the base line is always the same.
Apple products are impeccably designed because it matters!