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User Experience Rules for Advertising

There are no simple explanations for achieving success in the advertising space today.  We have to be inventive, progressive, quick-to-market, ready to collaborate, willing to invest and fail — learn from it and try again tomorrow.

How can we work without defined process?  Without baselines?  Without experience?

I believe that everything about what is being said about consumers today says that they don’t mind having brands around – even talking to them.  They just want respect and boundaries.  If we educate ourselves on a few key points, we can use that collective knowledge to make smarter decisions throughout our business. I believe that user experience can become a philosophy for advertisers.

Below is a list of 10 nuggets I would like to instill into the ad world.  I believe that these quickly and clearly illustrate the best of what I have learned in my time practicing in the user experience space.  I live by these in my day-to-day work; I look forward to your feedback.

Do unto others’ data, what you want done unto yours.
If you don’t need it, don’t collect it.  If you collect it, keep it legit.  And remember what data is given to you – we all hate remembering stuff, so that would really help out and make people like you more.

Design with, not for.
We must work as close to the users of our systems as possible.  Especially as you enter the world of social media: designing with – not for — your user will get you ahead.

Make the unclear, clear — or it won’t matter.
Let’s face it; a ton of the web is useful crap that no one wants to interact with.  It’s sad actually, all those wasted 0s and 1s – on what? The virtual litter of the unusable, irrelevant and untended. *Tear

Don’t add to the clutter. Clear it.  In this trash heap, you won’t get anyone to give you more than a glance unless you focus on appropriate and clear delivery of your message and facilitating useful and appropriate action.

Design systems, not stuff.
Brands today are facing an overwhelming amount of technological change.  And your users can see that – not in a good way.

We need to be forward thinking about the market today and the needs of your marketing department of tomorrow.  The benefit of systems-based thinking is not only one of operational efficiency – but one of customer service. Show a new face to consumers, one that is well prepared, clean, and clear.

Aim to be listened to, not just heard.
Stop Shouting!  Tricking consumers into hearing your message doesn’t make them like you and will almost certainly guarantee they won’t really listen.

We are all users.
We all interact with brands across multiple channels, just like the people we design for.  Don’t be evil and don’t create things you can’t imagine ever be used or loved.

You are not your user.
I must be clear that while we are all users – we are often very different from our actual target.  We must let our wants and desires come second to those of our actual users.

Accessible = Available
It isn’t an option to be accessible on a variety of devices.  It is not an option to not play nice with search engines.  And it is rude to deliver your content in a way that locks the user into your method of delivery.

The journey is the destination.
The world of campaigns is fine and dandy, but the whitespace in between is active and alive with people looking for your brand.  Don’t leave them hanging by thinking that your obligation ends at launch.

Your mom is on Facebook.
Think about how your non-agency loved ones have changed as a result of technology during the last 5 years alone.  This principle helps me remember how fast usage behavior is changing, how quickly the adoption curve levels out – and how quickly fads fade.


What Now? Help me, help us all:

I plan to spend the next few entries diving deeply into these with the aim to provide examples and a more detailed view of each. Any great examples and resources in support of this would be greatly appreciated — many hands make light work. Thanks for reading.