The last couple of years have seen a spike in people talking about the importance of showing both empathy and emotion in product design, marketing, company culture (…everywhere really!) to improve users’ experiences.
But what exactly does that mean? It sounds like a lot of work right? Is it worth it?
Let’s break it down…
What is empathic UX?
Empathy is recognizing how others feel and what emotions they experience. It means you can understand and share other people’s feelings. Empathetic UX is the result of getting into the mindset of your users, understanding their goals, motivators and emotions. When you have that level of understanding, you can easily identify and connect with them. You will discover what they want and how they want their needs to be met. Isn’t that half the battle?! Imagine how much simpler this knowledge would make your product’s journey to greatness!
What is emotional UX?
People are emotional. Our emotions spur us on to act in certain ways.
Emotional UX is engineering a user experience that plays to human characteristics and evokes an emotional response. Triggering emotional responses in your users humanizes your brand and importantly, it helps your users empathize with you. Building emotional connections is key to crafting meaningful interactions and experiences.
Is it worth it?
…I’ll be honest, I’m really hoping that by now the answer to this question is clear. I may as well be asking the question “do conversions matter to you?” …Can I get a resounding YES!
There’s so much competition in business, you have to stand out from the crowd to succeed. Improving your user’s experience is a sure fire way to get ahead AND improve the happiness of your users too – there’s literally no downside. UX is fast becoming one of the very few remaining differentiators between competitors.
Empathetic UX, in particular, has the potential to ramp up conversions and take your product to new heights. After all, there’s not a limit to how in tune you can be with your audience, and the more in sync you are, the better you can meet their needs or even exceed their expectations!
Flying unicorns make completing tasks in Asana fun and rewarding!
So how do I start developing empathy?
Well, there’s a fast way and then there’s the right way…
That’s not to say you can’t incorporate some of the suggestions I’m going to make later into your product straight away, but a move towards ensuring empathetic UX means really getting into the nitty gritty details of who exactly your users are and what makes them tick. Building empathy with your users provides great untapped opportunities but is in itself an in depth process not to be rushed. A couple of things to bear in mind when getting to know your users:
- Keep an open mind. It’s harder than it sounds! A key factor in empathy is seeing any opinion or issue from multiple perspectives.
- Try to minimize bias. Our unfortunate (but perfectly normal) human tendency to see things through a filter, subconsciously fabricated from the sum of our life experiences and personality, makes it incredibly hard to be objective. Logic, validated data and objectivity are key.
If you can really listen, appreciate all feedback and input, remove ego from the equation and be truly impartial, there are mind blowing lessons to be learned!
As I have said, this is the long game, the skills required to build empathy need honing, but practice means improvement!
How do I form emotional connections with my users?
You’ll know from daily interaction with the many websites that you visit daily, that most are emotionless, corporate and boring. This doesn’t have to be the case!
If you incorporate emotion into your landing page, you can engage and connect with your viewer much more effectively. Appropriate use of excitement or humor, for example, or a sense of sadness or loss where relevant, can trigger feelings of understanding, validation and empathy. Talk to your user like a real person.
Kiva appeals to the viewer from an emotional aspect with a strong emotive statement about the level of opportunity weighed in our favor but unavailable to others.
10 tips for applying emotion to improve UX and conversion:
- Images are really important – Avoid stock images where possible! Imagery needs to emotionally represent your brand. Try and use real people or well thought out emotive illustrations
- Show you care – Ensure your text if presented as benefits and uses emotional language to connect with your users
- Show understanding – Emphasize that you get the issues faced by your user. Highlight the pain they feel and clearly solve the issues for them as early up the page as possible
- Be conversational – And be genuine! Use your copy to talk like a real person by injecting emotion, happiness, sadness or humor as appropriate
- Tell a story – Storytelling is ingrained in every culture. Stories evoke emotion and people recall stories up 22x more than just facts alone!
- Be passionate – It’s important that you have enthusiasm and care about helping your users, make sure it shows
- Use Video – People connect more easily with video. Use this to your advantage by using videos to get important messages across and to build emotional connection
- Give a gift – Gift giving always gives people the warm and fuzzies! It also improves trust so be generous
- Leverage social proof – Show testimonials and images of genuine, happy customers or users. Social proof helps viewers to relate to and build a connection with your product and the others using it. They’ll then want to be part of the crowd.
- Iterate – Realize that any landing page or product is never finished. Regularly review feedback, continually strive to improve empathy, evoke emotion and iterate.
Hopefully you’re feeling all fired up now, eager to get going and make positive change? That’s great! It’s both exciting and motivational that empathy and emotion can work together to improve UX. And It’s inspiring to think that you can set about boosting landing page conversion through connecting with your users on a new more meaningful level.
Are you looking to boost conversion using emotion? I’d love to hear from you, so reach out!
Find me at @tomstarley or tomstarley.co.uk.
Author: Tom Starley, UX design consultant
Bio: Tom Starley is a UX and UI specialist and founder. He’s passionate about increasing conversion and revenue for growing online companies through expert UX/UI design and consultancy. He has a passion for helping people embrace the benefits of design thinking. Find him here @tomstarley.