Messaging in UX design: what it is and how it works.
Sometimes it's hard to explain the difference between high-quality UI and UX, let's dive into it using simple examples.
Let’s talk about UX design as a collection of feelings a user has when looking at a landing page or, for example, a corporate website.
Usually, to evoke the necessary emotions, the designer chooses tools based on his taste and experience. But if you add to this an understanding of how the user’s perception process takes place, it will be easier and faster to achieve the desired result, decrease cost, and operate within more solid design conjectures.
When discussing landing pages and corporate websites, I suggest saying “viewer” instead of “user” to explain some basic concepts. The word “user” is based on the verb “to use”. That is, a person takes something and uses it for his purposes. The viewer, in turn, simply watches and absorbs the content. It's important to remember that both “types” spend energy within the user journey, but since there is a fundamental difference — it should be refueled differently as well.
Understanding the difference between cognitive states helps you communicate more effectively, and avoid frustrations spikes when the user meets an irritating pattern or mandatory action which all user journeys have.
Two ways to transfer information
Our colleagues — UI and interaction designers have two main types of communication: explicit and implicit.
- First is verbal, means such as text and numbers to convey specificity.
- Second is a whole set of such design elements as a background, a picture, a font style, a color palette of abstraction, and the formation of a feeling, mood...
Implicit instruments, and subconscious messaging.
Influence the viewer indirectly via his subconscious. For example, if we receive a message typed in caps, we perceive it as shouting at us.
Even the presence of serifs in a font can subconsciously influence the viewer. So, for example, we’re used to serif type in books, so it can evoke a sense of security, formality, and comfort — because our subconscious will trigger past experience from one flow and project it to a current one.
If we add an implicit design that makes up like a jigsaw of these factors of subconscious influence on a person, we can strengthen the message that the product should carry.
Some of the product messaging is very challenging to convey using explicit methods, because by nature try to evoke a complex feeling with such will trigger instant pushback. Imagine some random person hit you up with “hey you can trust me!” What feelings/questions/reactions it will trigger? a pushback.
Explicit messaging. “use at own risk”
Being specific is important as well, we can't completely avoid such content. After all web products should be informative. The way to work with this way of messaging is simple, you need to be aware that people cant have themselves but to experience abstractions behind even specific words.
Self-proclamation is the worst thing to do, “we are the best” “industry leaders” etc. Even if you are! Stating something like this instead of trust will trigger pushback in a form of doubt.
Let us think about why this happens.
Complex and simple feelings.
We have simple and complex feelings. And complex feelings, which include, for example, the trust, that everyone so wants to get and proclaim from every H1 title, cannot be instilled, imposed explicitly.
Complex feelings occur when a person experiences a certain set of simple feelings. The emergence of complex feelings takes time, it's a process that should be designed and built in a certain way. (honestly, it's pretty fun to design it)
The same credibility is likely to appear due to a combination of confidence, calmness, security. This way we avoid a pushback trigger, by not allowing the viewer to formulate and define the message, but to experience it.
Therefore, it is extremely unlikely to awaken complex feelings in the viewer using a single element, content, or visual design element — it's always a summary of small particles almost like puzzles.
Processes and order of things.
Another important point that should be taken into account in the UX design process is the peculiarities of the work of the viewer’s consciousness.
Our consciousness works in such a way that we first recognize larger, simpler objects. When we look at such a complex thing as a website, where there are so many different elements there are all kinds of big and small things flying around. Visual weight, data hierarchy all of that is well-known tools of a professional UI designer.
But let's dive one layer deeper. A photo is an example of a complex design element that has one of the biggest implicit messaging impacts on the viewer.
The size of an object is determined by our brain by the size of the abstraction it contains.
The biggest object for the viewer is the process because for our brain it has a higher level of abstraction than a thing.
Imagine a photo of a hand holding a seashell. The biggest thing that we subconsciously recognize, without formulating a thought in our head, is the “find/take/hold” process. Most of the times identification of the most familiar, simple-to-identify item happens at the same time.
Then we see the aggregate — the hand with the shell. The recognition of the process and the recognition of a particular thing overlap. From the general, we move to the details, and references to our memories and life experiences associated with what we saw begin to appear in our heads. In this situation, we can recall, for example, how we were walking along the beach on vacation and saw an unusual shell.
The combination of these flashbacks gives the viewer a subconscious message with a whole range of emotions and feelings — joy and pride in finding, safety, relaxation, and so on. The viewer will not formulate it in his head but will experience it in a millisecond. And, again, subconsciously, he will project these feelings onto the environment where he is at the moment (your website), where he saw this picture. Our task is to use this.
For less than a second, a person ponders whether to stay on this site because he liked it, or to go further. And in this situation, a deliberately selected image can help to attract the viewer’s attention and evoke the necessary emotions in him to enable the right decision.
Text and viewers in a state of flow.
Most of the people before actual read, simply scan the content, textual one especially. nobody likes to read rigorously through “our key features” if you know what I mean.
Of course, the text is a tool and is also essential for designers. And we want viewers to read through it, to receive our message in detail.
To make them read it, try to present it in a non-standard way, so that the viewer’s mind “turns on”.
A person has a so-called “state of flow”, in which perception is dormant. To understand it imagine, that you came home from work in the evening and begin to do some ordinary household chores, automatically press the switches, open and close the boxes. We are not aware of these actions, because we perform them daily. But then suddenly the light turns off. And we are already thinking about where the switch is, or where the drawer has a handle to pull on. We turned on our consciousness to make a decision, and all because this turning off the light brought us out of the state of flow.
This technique is actively used by marketplaces. Their product ribbons are monotonous. This is the flow. But as soon as you go to the page of a specific product, the general picture of the location of objects changes dramatically. Trying to navigate, the user turns on consciousness and, as a result, reads the text.
In practice, then, conditionally, it works like this. Let’s say we want to describe a phone on the website, the main feature of which is a powerful camera of several tens of megapixels. If you place this indicator in the same place where it is usually indicated (say, your competitors), when describing the features of the phone camera, the viewer will enter a flow state and will not pay attention to it. Therefore, the non-standard position of the megapixel indicator on the page will help emphasize it for the viewer and will not be ignored.
It should be noted that text as a tool will be more effective if it is dry, specific, and contains information that cannot be conveyed implicitly. For example, numbers or specifications.
So, mindfulness in UX design is understanding how certain tools affect the viewer’s subconscious. This helps to quickly achieve the desired emotional effect. And significantly improve the quality of primary hepatitis. Marketers will thank you. And the way to build it is awareness.
Implicit instruments include background, picture, font type, color palette. and are to use in synergy to build an emotion/mood.
Explicit instruments include text and figures. And best used to deliver precise things.
We can rely on understanding that there are two types of feelings — simple and complex ones.
Complex feelings can be prompted by the number of simple ones due to the implicit instruments, and design of the flow.
Looking at a picture, the consciousness of a viewer perceives subjects from the bigger to smaller ones, and the biggest one is a process.
A viewer can be taken out of the consciousness flow with a non-standard arrangement of the information. Breaking the pattern in short.
Thank you for the read :)