When designing QlikView applications we are constantly striving to create sparkling applications which comply with usability best-practices, have a great look and feel and have charts that justify the purpose of showing data which can add value to the customer’s business. But a lot of times, in spite of checking off everything that we can think of in terms of creating a world class app, the customer is not convinced and app is left on the table for us to take back. Maybe then, taking design one step further is what is required to make a full impact.
Don Norman, in his book ‘Emotional Design: Why We Love (or Hate) Everyday Things’ talks about 3 levels of perception. Visceral – 1st stage - how someone perceives the visual aspect of a product, Behavioral – 2nd stage - how the product works, ease of use and ergonomics. Reflective – 3rd level – what does this product say about me. Most often times, we work on the first two aspects, usability of our apps and then making them look good but it is seldom that we think about how our apps reflect the users. Does it suite the image of the customer? Apart from showing all the value that our product brings to them, does it connect with the customer on a psychological, cultural and aesthetic level?
Reflective processing is when our desires for sophistication and to be aesthetically at par with cultural biases influences our likes and dislikes. It is a very common human trait since we live in a complex social and cultural set up. Owning products that reflect positively on our personality is a natural human instinct. For instance, preferring a coffee from Starbucks over an ordinary coffee place not just because you like the coffee but also because it reflects something about your personality and brand consciousness.
According to Norman, designing for reflection is one of the most powerful ways to build long term product-user relationships. Not only does it impacts the user’s perception but also creates a deeper psychological connection and an emotional engagement with the user.
Simple tricks like skinning the QlikView application with the customer’s brand identity can make a big impact on the customer’s perception of the app in a positive way. But influencing someone on a reflective level goes beyond aesthetic appeal. The key is to be user-centric rather than being product-centric.
Here is what some of the successful product strategists have done in order to hit the inner nerve of the customer’s brain.
Cultural Trends - Studying cultural patterns and trends that exist within the target user group helps in identifying user expectations and preferences. This can help a lot when designing apps that customers can identify with and prefer owning.
User pain points – Tackling the pain points of the user in the design and then branding the product in a way that orchestrates those pain points and offers solutions to help resolve those can really hit the note. This helps in creating a self-reflection of the user in the product.
In general spending some extra time and efforts to research the target audience and catering to their needs and preferences can create a product that is a reflection of the users and will stand a better chance of appealing to the user as opposed to just being a good looking robust application.