Megan Vasey is the acting team lead for Digital Services. She has worked in multimedia for 18 months since graduating at the top of her major with a Bachelor of Communications degree in digital media from Auckland University of Technology.
Creating a good digital experience for the end user means thinking about how your organisation is represented interactively, passively and statically. Interactive representation relates to the web experience, passive representation relates to the video experience and static representation relates to graphic design.
Understand your audience
The first principle of creating a good digital experience is to understand your audience. Your audience influences how you should design the look and feel of your digital channels. Do you need to appeal to friends, children, or corporations? Each of these groups will think differently and expect different design approaches. Your audience should always be the focus of your design. For example, Ko Awatea’s target audience is predominantly health and public sector professionals and quality improvement specialists; people who explore new frontiers, look at things in a new way and want to share, learn and design a new future for health and healthcare. This audience may expect a visual identity that depicts cutting edge ideas and technology.
Define your brand
Secondly, define your brand values and drive these to create the essence of your brand to your audience. To be successful, your brand must be authentic. Consider the heart of your organisation – why do you do what you do? What defines your organisation and makes it unique? Who is your target audience? A designer cannot make this up for you, but they can build an experience that articulates your vision and purpose.
Create your brand experience
Communicating your brand means designing a cohesive experience for users across your interactive, passive and static digital channels. There are differences between people’s expectations when they interact with your website and when they see a poster on a wall, but their experience of both still needs to be linked with a cohesive brand. But branding is not simply the way these channels look – it is about the values your brand emulates and this is found in your content, the language you use and your imagery. All of these elements need to be consistent across all your digital channels.
Consider whether your digital channels provide the brand experience that your audience expect from your organisation. For example, Ko Awatea’s digital experience needs to be corporate, but also to have a playful, innovative element. We host and present a number of programmes and workshops, where we teach people in new and creative ways, so we show that through our imagery. To balance the playful element introduced by the imagery, we use text with a professional tone and complement that with a layout that has a clean, corporate look.
Organise your content responsively
Ongoing market research is important to understand whether the digital experience you create works for your audience. There are a number of tools that designers can use to understand how people use a website, such as Google Analytics and Hotjar. These tools show you what people are coming to your site for, and this knowledge should inform how you organise the content on your site.
These factors are the foundation of a good digital experience for your audience.