Human-Centered Design Approach for the New Age

By Erin Presseau, Director of Marketing & User Experience, SilverTech

With the explosion of e-commerce and online purchasing that occurred during the pandemic, we saw some shifts in the way we approached design and strategy. Although we wouldn’t call these radical changes, we knew that digital experiences had to re-focus on humanizing the experience as much as possible. When consumer emotions and stress are high (such as during a pandemic) a brand’s role is really to soothe, support and evoke human compassion (and trust).

Not just that, but to remain competitive in what was a digital-only environment for at least a short time during the pandemic, it is also important to integrate all the shopping convenience elements that customers have come to expect. Here’s a few ways you can do that with well-planned user experience strategy and design.

When consumer emotions and stress are high (such as during a pandemic) a brand’s role is really to soothe, support and evoke human compassion (and trust)

- Erin Presseau, Director of Marketing & User Experience, SilverTech

  • Use more of pastel and more neutral tones in our palette that removed ‘noise’ and used white space and shades of color to guide the user toward action buttons or help options.

  • Eliminate the ‘infinite scroll’ on mobile that increases user stress and likely slows down image loading which also detracts from the experience.

  • Create conversational messaging and heading hierarchy that reminds users that there are humans behind the computer representing the company.

  • Implement chatbots and A.I. features that look less robotic and showed some personality.

  • Try Social media retargeting – creative display retargeting ads that show up in a social newsfeed since social media use was high during the pandemic.

  • Protect the user’s privacy by telling consumers why data is being collected and how it provides benefit to them.

  • Add personalized elements in content areas that include more than just product suggestions. Small things such as using a customer’s name in a place on the site where they wouldn’t expect it – such as a hero image or feature area – can help a customer feel valued.

  • Publish videos that showcase products on a live model or being interacted with a live person.

  • Build-in convenience features such as sticky navigation that features easy help options so that they aren’t hidden from view as the page scrolls.

  • On product pages, make key information such as inventory availability, shipping information and delivery or pick-up options prominent. This became important during the pandemic and is here to stay. Customers don’t want to find out later that a product wasn’t in stock or that shipping will be delayed.

  • Bring QR codes back that make it easy for customers to use coupons and offers on their phone rather than have to print it out. They also can be used for touchless payment and pick-up options.

Of course each situation is different and the most important tip I can offer is to conduct user testing and know your audience. Developing data-based personas and user journeys will be an eye opening experience if you’ve never done them. Specifically understanding motivations and fears of your customer segments is how you know what design elements will help overcome those fears, provide a calming sense of support and, ultimately, allow them to trust you.