Throughout the creative process, often one of the last pieces to fall into place is the development of the online presence. This doesn’t just mean designing or writing the website — although important, that’s the role of the graphic designer and the copywriter — but the creation of the entire user experience.
How a consumer experiences a brand is the most important part of today’s modern society. Back in the day when the Internet was in its infancy, available technology allowed for creating only ‘flat designed’ products. Over the years, technology has become more robust, allowing for designs with more depth, breadth, imagination and animation. But, consumers also have a short attention span so the vibrancy of a website needs to heighten their experience without detracting from it.
Because if the experience draws so much attention that the user can’t find what they’re looking for quickly, then the answer to that eternal “should I stay or should I go?” question will always be to “go.”
In a branding initiative, marketing strategy, key messages or communications plan, a user experience specialist is needed to walk that fine line and balance the ‘wow’ factor with a realistic sense of usability. As a software engineer, this specialist takes the concepts and the vision dreamed up by the creative director and mapped out with the rest of the creative team and turns them into something that works in reality.
The copywriter, who understands the online world, writes the content, the photographer shoots the photographs, the illustrator creates the visuals, the graphic designer develops the graphic components and the production artist pulls all of the assets together. But it’s the user experience specialist (who is uber web savvy) who makes sure that everything conceived and created has a solid and functional foundation online.
And when no such foundation exists to fulfil a ground-breaking creative idea, it’s up to the user experience specialist to invent a way to bring that vision to life. New code often has to be written and widgets have to be developed to perfectly fulfil the unique concept.
The final product may be something so subtle that the average user doesn’t immediately notice it. But that’s what makes it so important —it’s what gives a website and the accompanying mobile site that high-end polished look and elevates a brand to the next level.
And it’s the finishing touches on the whole creative process.