Communication has always been the basic need of every human being. That’s why social networks are so popular today, and new startups are emerging wherever you look. They offer the essence – easy and free communication for a great variety of users from all over the world. In the beginning, there were just general ones for the broad audience, but today there are a lot of specialized networks that concentrate on the narrowly targeted audience – writers, tourists, mums, teachers, scientists, you name it. But the competition is vast and you need to stand out. You need to make them feel like your network is the best place to satisfy their need to communicate and for that you need to persuade them that they will be understood and respected. The best way to do that is to take a look at the psychology behind social interactions.
How social are you?
To be honest, people are not very social today, speaking off-screen. The reason for that is that they spend to much time on screen, and there is a whole social revolution happening. According to experienced web development agency, without strong social media presence there is no strong UX. Why has all the communication gone online? Because it’s much simpler – even a five-year-old is able to create a personal account – you can edit it whenever you want without any trouble and your data will be safe and secure. You can find literally anything or anyone you need and all the content is categorized. Your ‛discoveries’ can be shared with a simple click, instead of trying to fit into a tight schedule of your friends for a face to face conversation. Any changes or updates are regularly shown in the feed so you don’t need to have a crystal ball to find out what the hell happened in the meantime, and there are chats and discussions to make things even more clear. We’ve always been fond of creating groups but there was always a fear of not fitting in, and social networks allow you to create or join groups and communities as much as you like. Likes, shares, follows, and comments have become the food for our souls, and our social profiles are the proof there is the place where we belong. It seems that everything has changed, but if you look closely the psychological rules of communication have remained the same. Here’s how they look online.
Stop talking for a moment
Remember, UX is all about communication. People create a social account to promote themselves and/or their business, but a page is not supposed to be just a personal gallery. It’s not an exhibition of pretty pictures, nor a collection of fine articles. The goal is always to build a community around your business or persona where anyone has a right to an opinion or a question. That’s why every question needs a fast answer and you need to stick to the ‛like for a like’ rule. In other words, there is a time to talk and a time to listen.
Leave the space for communication
Different people communicate in different ways, which is the most common reason why we don’t understand one another so often. But social networks can supply you with various tools for communication so everybody is able to express their opinion – there are libraries, collections, discussions, posts, chatting, sharing, etc. You need to offer them all these multiple functions because your content needs to be user-generated. You should encourage them to speak their mind because that will create the content they will buy later. Otherwise, they’ll find the competitor which will provide them with more pleasant communication.
Don’t push the habit too far
As we’ve proven above, using social networks is a habit that makes communication easier. It’s good to be high-tech educated, but you shouldn’t demand that from your users. Don’t get carried away with your design – things can look fantastic and remain simple at the same time. If you want to make updates (and at one point you’ll have to) you’ll need to make them functional and make sure that all your users are aware of them. Additional features are always a great way to attract the audience, but they need to be transparent and clean. If they just log in one day and discover that things have changed and they don’t know when and why there is a great chance they’re never gonna log in again. Making things interesting and engaging is not the same as making a technological puzzle. You do need to be original and just copying the social network scheme that already exists is not gonna take you there, but going too far is not the solution, either. In these times when our personal time has become so precious, it’s actually bad to be ahead of your time.
As you can see, all these principles are deeply rooted in our psychology of communication. They want feedback and appreciation because that creates a feeling that they belong here. They want various ways to express themselves, and the more you listen the more you’ll become aware of their needs and desires. Just don’t make them struggle for things they need. Who would ever want that in this world where everything is just one click away? Remember, good UX is like a pleasant chat in which both sides have gained some useful information.
Guest Post: Nick is a blogger and a marketing expert currently engaged on projects for Media Gurus, an Australian business, and marketing resource. He is an aspiring street artist and does Audio/Video editing as a hobby.