Designing for Three Levels of UX

author image Written by: Lia           Categories - Digital Marketing

How Marketing Companies Use Design to Improve User Experience

Design guru Donald Norman once said, “Good design is actually a lot harder to notice than poor design, in part because good designs fit our needs so well that the design is invisible.” The beauty and mystique of design is that it works in ways we’re not always conscious of. Design affects us on deep emotional levels, influencing behaviour without us ever noticing. Good design plays a major role in effective marketing strategies. User experience, or UX, is subject to massive scrutiny and attention to ensure optimal results. Marketing companies focus on creating user-friendly designs that are easy to use, and that shape user behaviours on a subconscious level. UX designers focus on pleasant, intuitive, and memorable experiences to get users to convert and return in the future. In fact, in his book Emotional Design, Donald Norman delved into these subtler aspects of UX. He refers to the three levels of design, three key ways in which it affects us without our knowledge. Understanding these three levels can help designers and marketers create emotional responses in website users. Careful application of these lessons can help influence product purchase decisions, CTRs, and conversion rates. But what are these three levels, and how do marketing companies make the most of them in UX? Let’s take a closer look:

Visceral Design—Gut Reactions, Lasting Impressions

It’s good advice when it comes to UX design!
They say not to judge a book by its cover, but it’s the first thing humans do, instinctively. It’s a gut reaction, and the first emotions users experience when they encounter a design reflects this. These are visceral emotions, better known as gut reactions or instincts. Visceral emotions are subconscious. They are immediately felt, triggered by the initial sensory experience with a design, and are beyond our conscious control. These sensory experiences are influenced by design aesthetics, such as look and feel and how they engage our senses. This is the first impression your design will make on users, so it must be excellent. Malcolm Gladwell refers to this as “the blink,” that moment in which we create a snap judgment of something. This gut reaction influences everything from product credibility and quality to ease of use. In fact, a more attractive design that elicits a positive response will likely be considered easier to use. Creating a compelling design that sets your users at ease and instills confidence is a challenge but pays dividends.

Behavioural Design—Delivering on the Promise

Behavioural design influences how users interact with your site, and how they respond to frustrations.
Frustrated users are typically experiencing issues with behavioural design.
After visceral emotions, users experience behavioural emotions. This refers to the user’s experience with the function and usability of a given design. Users develop opinions on how easy the design is to learn, to use, and overall functionality. User experience will always run on a learning curve. Functionality must always start simple; overly complex functions too early on could scare away a user. A single bad experience, after all, can quickly outweigh all the positives you’ve created for a user. For example, say you’ve developed a professional-looking site that conveys confidence and respectability. Then say the moment a user takes an action, functionality falls short. It’ll be hard to rebuild the trust created by that gut reaction, as behavioural responses are starting to form. Behavioural design may be the most meaningful aspect of these three levels of design, more so than the visceral, because users develop an opinion informed by experience. It goes beyond the emotional and into the practical and pragmatic.

Reflective Design—“Now that I think about it…”

Reflective design refers to how a user will think on and assess a design after the fact.
Like The Thinker, your users will reflect on their experience after they’ve left the site
Design and user experience continues when the user logs off. People keep thinking! Their experiences stick with them, and users will reflect on these experiences when the design is no longer in use. If you’ve done your homework, they’ll develop positive associations and familiarity looking back at your site. It’s a challenge, but guaranteeing form and function operate hand-in-hand ensures your users will be left with a positive experience. Users will determine, independently, if the design will have any positive impact on their lives, attaching value to it if it does. This is where UX designers can maximize a user’s desire to continue using the design, which is to say, buy the product. Positive associations when reflecting on a design include:

  • Beauty;
  • Pleasure;
  • Satisfaction;
  • Ease of use and impact on the user’s life; and,
  • A bond with the product.

While designs that elicit positive experiences cause users to disregard minor downfalls, negative experiences will cause users to focus on everything that is wrong with the design. Marketing companies and UX designers work hard and consider every aspect and level of design. For true success, users must enjoy positive experiences throughout their journey, from the very first impression all the way to the end after they’ve completed a conversion.


Is it Time For Your Business to Rebrand?


Improve Your Business and Grow with These Rebranding Tips

Rebranding is an effective way to reach new audiences, intrigue existing ones, and stand out from your competition in the ever-evolving marketplace. It’s also a good way to give your brand a new start, especially if your current brand is stale or tarnished. But rebranding isn’t as easy as changing your name and logo. A lot of work goes into effective rebranding, such as market research, website design, and smart digital marketing. You’ve got to make sure it’s done properly if you want to improve your business’ success and growth. If your current brand image no longer works for you, it’s time for a brand refresh. Here’s what rebranding actually means and how to do it with the help of a web marketing company that offers affordable SEO.

What Are the Signs You Need to Rebrand?

Businesses often choose to rebrand to address and remedy issues their brand is facing. They must first find out what is working with their current brand and what is not working. So why do you want to rebrand your business? Here are some possible reasons why:

  • Your brand image could be tarnished because it is associated with poor customer service or poor-quality products.
  • Your target audience has changed, and you need to update to keep their interest and business.
  • The competition is taking more than its fair share of business from you. You must evolve and innovate to stay ahead of the competition, and rebranding is an effective part of this evolution.

Remember, you don’t have to change everything about your brand if some aspects are still working. If you’ve received positive customer feedback about some of your products, services, or messaging, don’t fix what isn’t broken. Rebranding must address the core issue or issues affecting your current brand image. Use your time and resources to address what needs fixing. If it’s poor customer service, then focus your efforts there. When you find out what’s going wrong, you can develop a solution and branding efforts to match. But if you’re not keeping pace with the competition, then you need to evolve all areas that have fallen behind in your business.

A man designs logos and fonts for web marketing efforts.
From fonts to logos and everything in between, don’t forget the details in your rebranding efforts.

More Than A Name Change

A name change can be a big part of rebranding, but it shouldn’t be the only thing you do. Remember, any changes you make must reflect a greater change in your business principles. You need to: look at your overall strategy and offerings; redefine your target audience; and, create new products and services that appeal to your target audience. Your new brand identity and core messaging need to be aligned with:

  • Website design
  • Brand philosophy
  • Enhanced product offerings and services

Doing Your Research

Using data and customer insights, you can find out what makes your product resonate with your target audience and use these insights to create your brand messaging. You should also do competitive research to see how your competitors are branding themselves. You can take their best ideas and make them your own.

The 5 R’s of Rebranding

Animated image of the letter
Rebranding the right way!
To help you get a grasp on your rebranding and start brainstorming ideas, consider these 5 R’s of rebranding: Revitalize – Develop a new, fresh, and compelling story/message for your brand. Reposition – Change your perception/reframe your purpose or unique selling proposition. Rename – Change your business name to get rid of a bad reputation or to better represent your business. Redesign – Align your design with your brand identity and make it modern. Rebrand – Use all of the elements above to start rebranding your business.

Your Rebranding Checklist

To help you overcome the challenges of rebranding, here’s a checklist to ensure your new brand identity reaches everyone.

A person fills out a checklist in their rebranding guide.
When in doubt, keep a checklist.

✓ Inform Stakeholders

Let your partners, staff, clients, and other business relationships know well in advance about your plans to rebrand. Build up the rebranding for your audience. And welcome feedback from stakeholders to let them in on the rebranding process.

✓ Identify Your New Brand

When choosing your new business name and brand identity, you need to develop a brand architecture. This will help when you’re working with designers and an outside web marketing company. Factors to consider when identifying your brand include:

  • The story you want your brand to tell.
  • Your target audience.
  • Your brand’s long-term goal and whether your new identity will grow into it.
  • Whether your new brand look will fit in across digital platforms and internal content.
  • Whether the URL, trademarks, and social media handles are available for your new brand name.

✓ Update Your Digital Presence

Update your website, social media, and third-party sites with your new brand name, logo, imagery, font, colours, content, and contact information. Remember to:

  • Review links to new pages;
  • Update your business listings in search directories;
  • Refresh SEO terms and keywords;
  • Update metadata on webpages—titles, descriptions, image tags; and,
  • Send updated brand logos and titles to affiliated partners who link to your site.

✓ Announce Your New Brand

Introduce your new brand to the world with a blog post or news announcement explaining the change. Also post about your new brand on social media every so often for the first three to six months following your brand rollout to remind customers about it. And make sure to tell your brand story to appeal to your audience—i.e. how your new brand will change their experience with your company in a positive way. But also make sure you don’t leave behind any brand equity/value with your old brand. If you offer something people love, make sure to keep it while also providing new offerings.

✓ Update Your Brand Internally

Don’t risk looking unprofessional by keeping your old brand letterheads and business cards. If you’re going to rebrand, you must go all the way, both externally and internally. This includes updating:

  • Internal documents—i.e. forms, contracts, and applications
  • Signage
  • E-mail signatures
  • Name badges, business cards, and stationery—i.e. letterheads, cover sheets, and folders
  • Word and PowerPoint templates
  • Presentation decks

To make sure your rebranding has a seamless execution and is ultimately a success, you’ll need the help of rebranding pros. A web marketing company can cover web design, content marketing, social media marketing, competitive research, and effective SEO marketing strategies. With the help of the pros, the daunting task of rebranding will be a smooth transition for you and your business.

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Starting Something With Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa


How SEO TWIST Helped a Leading Children’s Charity Refresh and Revamp While Staying On-Brand

When you’re facing limitations and restraints, creativity comes alive. Limits on what you can do help you discover innovative ways to get the job done and creative solutions to your problems. When you’re a major branch of a leading charity in the country, looking for a way to refresh your brand, but must work within national guidelines, what do you do? In the case of Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa, you reach out to SEO TWIST.

Making a Difference

The challenges BBBSO were facing with their existing website were clear from the get-go. The site had outgrown its structure, with pages and subpages buried, making navigation less than intuitive. The design, though incorporating the parent organization’s colours, needed revamping too. The challenge lay in the limitations imposed by the Big Brothers Big Sisters branding guidelines. Our approach was clear: streamline and simplify the structure wherever possible, and create a visually appealing design that would reflect the community-centric nature of BBBSO.

Structural Solutions

Our SEO experts conducted a comprehensive audit of BBBSO’s existing website, developing a complete overview of the site’s structure and architecture. While a loose silo architecture existed, an ad hoc approach to adding content and new pages over the years rendered navigation somewhat unwieldy. A silo architecture essentially organizes a website’s structure according to main topics and keywords. For BBBSO, this meant focusing on mentoring programs, volunteer opportunities, donations, and information about the organization. We ensured this was reflected in the menu for easy navigation, too. The size of the site presented a challenge, too. Google Search relies on automated crawlers that essentially speed-read a website, creating copies of each page for its ever-expanding index. Larger sites can run into trouble, though, as they may exceed the crawl “budget” given by a search engine. Because of the aforementioned ad hoc approach to new content and pages, there was tremendous potential for optimization. Streamlining the architecture with a silo approach and an accurate site map made navigation easier and would also improve crawlability, and effective 301 redirects made sure that defunct pages led users to newly-optimized content.

The Creative Process

Meanwhile, our design team got to work developing a unique identity that nonetheless reflected the organization’s place in the community and broader BBBS network. It had to speak to an Ottawa audience while representing the brand as a whole. After some initial research, the team focused on incorporating softer shapes as opposed to sharper angles. The circles featured in our final design reflected the curves found in the Big Brothers Big Sisters logo. They also served as a subtle visual reminder of the inclusiveness of the community that BBBSO fosters amongst its participants and Ottawa at large.

BBBSO’s old website, while serviceable, lacked a unified design and architecture.
Colour was an important design factor, as well. Purple had to be featured heavily. It was equally important to avoid the dated gray look of the old site, though. Our designers worked with complementary colours before settling on a golden orange for highlights and menu items. In addition, we chose a warmer orange for key call-to-action (CTA) items. Incorporating existing branding materials from BBBS’s national level also helped provide some design continuity. Reports, documents, and infographics provided a sense of the visual language we had to use. Finally, finding visually engaging ways to integrate BBBSO’s many partners and supporters was a must. We opted for scrolling carousels and simple uses of partner logos to immediately identify the breadth of their involvement with other organizations.

Finishing Touches

Although we conducted a site-wide redesign, SEO TWIST’s major focus for site content was to revamp and refresh key pages. By keeping content to-the-point and focusing on key action items, we zeroed in on their message and focused on key CTAs to encourage engagement with their brand and programs. It was important to highlight the wealth of programs that BBBSO offers. These pages all got special focus to encourage volunteers engagement. We also developed a unique framework for blogs and events. This allowed recent postings to be featured automatically on the home page. An effective archiving system was put in place to log past events, as well.

Starting Something Big

After internal review and modification, we presented the finished website to BBBSO. Because we stayed in contact throughout the entire process, they were always in the loop throughout the development cycle. As such, we could take advantage of instant feedback and implement it immediately. We quickly got the go-ahead to launch the new website, and after finalizing the technical details, Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa had a brand-new website! “The SEO TWIST team was able to fulfill all of our new website wishes and give us a fresh look while respecting our branding guidelines,” said Big Brothers Big Sisters of Ottawa. Sometimes, the most exciting and engaging work comes from creative limitations and challenges that force us to find innovative approaches. It was a challenge to work within the regulations of the parent organization’s brand, one we were happy to meet. “We are thrilled that our website is easier to navigate and will give users a much more positive experience,” added BBBSO. SEO TWIST is always thrilled to help organizations grow and develop. We’re proud to start something big.

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