UI and UX. You’ve probably seen these terms thrown about—you may even use them yourself. In case you are unfamiliar, UI and UX stand for user interface and user experience (respectively). In practice, they are facets of designing a digital platform, striving to make it simple for anyone to understand and use.
And just as the increasing investment in UI/UX design among companies has revolutionized the way customers interact with websites, Viewer Experience, sometimes called Visual Experience, is revolutionizing the way customers experience a brand’s video presence. Viewer Experience (VX) is the process of optimizing any and all video and animation content to produce a consistent buyer experience. These days, video is an integral part of the buyer experience, so it’s vital to implement with a clear intent and a distinguished look to create a seamless experience for your customer. So what does this mean for you, the busy marketer, with enough industry jargon crammed into your head to fill a binder or two?
At a high level, VX best practices simply call for finding ways to make it easier for people to digest your visual content. Ultimately, it comes down to paying attention to who you are talking to, what you are publishing on each platform, and how recognizable your brand is by your content.
For our purposes, it will be easier to focus on video. But we will use this term broadly, to encapsulate animations, gifs, and any other moving content. In part this is to separate VX from UX, as UX includes many of the visual elements of a website, such as fonts, colors, and photography. But VX picks up where UX drops off. VX is also a quickly developing term, so its parameters are still be worked out.
Optimizing these three things will lead to a better overall experience between you and your customers.
First, let’s talk audience.
If you haven’t already, take the time to create a few buyer personas. A buyer persona is a semi-fictionalized representation of your target audience that gives you greater insight into what your customers may care about. They take into consideration personality traits, daily habits, strongest beliefs, purchasing patterns, and more.
There is no shortage of platforms and formats to post on, so when deciding on where to anchor your brand’s digital presence, reference your buyer personas. Consider asking yourself questions like: Who am I trying to create content for? What would provide value for them? How do they access the internet? What websites do they frequent?
Answering these questions will help you decide where to best focus your visual presence. For example, if your personas don’t shop for your product on their smartphones, you don’t need to focus as much on a 9:16 ratio for videos and graphics. But the bulk of your traffic comes from mobile, you’ll want to ensure the visuals (videos, graphics, GIFs, etc.) are easily viewed across devices.
Before you begin creating any visual assets, ask yourself who will see it and how they would see it. If this content is going to live on your website and your traffic is primarily on desktop, format the content for that type of visitor. If you’re making a video for a PPC (pay-per-click) ad, you’ll want to design for the ad platform specifically. Don’t try to retrofit something that won’t translate from one format to another — your audience will notice and it will hurt their experience.
Great, now we’ve identified which site and format are best for your audience. What’s next?
Well, deliver! But do so carefully. Every platform is unique, so pay special attention to how you go about creating content for it.
For example, Instagram is primarily a mobile-first platform, so it favors video that is easier to watch on a phone screen. It's common to see a 1:1 or 9:16 aspect ratio used instead of the traditional 16:9 one. It also limits posted content to 60 seconds and stories to 15 seconds, so make sure your message fits within those time frames.
Facebook and YouTube, on the other hand, are much more traditional video websites. Visitors are accustomed to longer-length content delivered in a 16:9 format. These sites also have a great set of tools for sharing and commenting on your content, so be sure to find opportunities to best engage your audience.
Finally, don’t forget about your brand’s identity!
Just as your company’s messaging should remain consistent across all aspects of your brand, so too should your video content. There is a lot that goes into a well-produced video or animation, but here are just a few tips for keeping things on-brand:
1) The tone of your video content should always remain the same.
Here at Calypso, we try to keep things casual and true to the way we build client relationships. We want to impart this personal and casual feeling with every creative decision we make in a video or animation: the music we choose, the way the script is written, the visual style we use, and the type of motion we animate with.
The tone of a video is important because it sets an expectation for your brand. When your audience watches one of your videos, the experience they have with a video should mirror the experiences they have with all other touchpoints of your brand. For instance, if your messaging is firm and professional and works to build trust, then your video should strive for the same tone. If they conflict, one message will undercut the other, leaving viewers with a fractured sense of your brand’s identity.
2) Respect the style guide.
A brand style guide will clearly define how your brands tone and how it should look through color choice, font selection, language, etc. When creating anything for your brand, make sure your content respects your style guide’s rules.
When executed correctly, your viewers will be able to identify visual elements within your content that are authentically your brand.
Remember, a poor viewer experience will almost always leave your brand in an unfavorable light. Your videos aren’t just emblematic of your brand. It IS your brand. And with the rise of video and other visual content, it’s imperative to take the time to create an awesome visual brand experience for your audience.