User Experience: The missing ingredient for effective Hispanic marketing
Posted by Jose Villa
User experience (UX) design is a rapidly growing and integral discipline in the maturing world of Web communications. UX is a broad term, very much in vogue these days, with as many definitions as practitioners. At its core, UX relates to how a person feels about using a product, system or service. It was born in the world of software and industrial design – and revolutionized how both types of products were designed with the introduction of user-centered design.
However, when most people talk about UX today, they are talking about how a user interacts with a website, mobile app or social tool via a variety of devices (PCs, tablets, mobile phones, etc.). In many ways, the rapid proliferation of the Web and digital technology has brought UX to the masses, and out of the software and product design lab. The importance of UX has grown as the world – particularly the marketing world – goes digital and increasingly has a Web interface.
So what do UX designers, the primary architects of user experience, do? They are not visual designers, coders, content writers, or technical architects, but they need to understand enough about all these disciplines and others – mobile, social media, etc. – to understand how they matter, and fit them together into a cohesive experience that is empathetic. They must artfully meet the needs of users and the organizations/brands on whose behalf they are working. UX designers bring it all together at the front lines of the Web, which has become a “global town square where culture bubbles up, revolutions are born, economies are nurtured and [where] our lives are [increasingly] being lived,” (as aptly stated by Aaron Walter of UX Magazine).
On any Web project – whether it’s a large enterprise website or small landing page or Facebook page – the UX designer is typically the driving point, guiding all the disparate disciplines involved in bringing any experience to life on the Web. While that is important, they have an additional, more daunting and critical role. That is to make sure the experience of whatever is being built is done so with the needs, wants, and limitations of users in mind. This is what referred to as user-centered design. The successful application of user-centered design requires UX designers to have an intimate and insightful understanding to target users and their behavior.
Unfortunately, UX is a discipline which is largely missing from the world of multicultural marketing, and specifically Hispanic marketing. I personally do not know of any UX designers working at any ethnic agencies generally or Hispanic agencies specifically.
Why does that matter? Well, if you are a regular reader of this blog, you know the world of Hispanic marketing is increasingly a digital enterprise. It is rare to come across a Hispanic ad campaign these days that does not have a robust digital extension at a minimum. As Hispanic Web use has reached a critical mass, more integrated Hispanic marketing campaigns are firmly rooted online. Yet there is no one specializing in the understanding of the Hispanic Web user – guiding and bringing together all the complexities and opportunities of the Web to meet the unique needs of Hispanic users.
No one is becoming an astute student of Hispanic digital behavior – across myriad devices – that is no doubt different and unique to that of the general market. As the “offline” world increasingly becomes digital with mobile and other untethered technology – think touch screens at retail, digital experience at events, etc. – no one is focused on creating optimal experiences for Hispanics, online and off.
The current state of affairs can be best described with an analogy to the traditional advertising agency role of an account planner. In today’s digital Hispanic world, developing Hispanic advertising campaigns without a UX designer who is adept at bringing together Hispanic user needs with brand objectives is akin to developing an advertising campaign without an account planner. Better yet, it’s the equivalent of no one trying to understand the Hispanic user, who is expected to interact and engage with brands and organizations in dynamic ways digitally.
This may very well be the missing ingredient in Hispanic marketing. Hispanic UX designers – please inquire within.
(an edited version of this article originally ran on MediaPost’s Engage Hispanic blog on September 6, 2012)