All too often, companies develop advertising platforms without a proper focus on the user. A recognition that UX design is essentially about solving problems for human beings is critical. This seems so obvious. Nevertheless, the fundamental role of UX design often gets forgotten. As a consequence, UX design often takes a path that presents users with convoluted, even frustrating experiences.
The implications of a bad user experience can be nothing short of existential. Dominant platforms such as Facebook and Google, among others, are typically hard to use, creating a barrier to entry for small-to-medium-sized businesses (SMBs). A business consequence is often predatory behavior and the resultant chaos that clouds what success should look like. By enhancing the user experience, we can democratize advertising technology, or ad tech, by offering SMBs a glide path for growth.
As someone who has built a product-design department at an ad-tech company from scratch, I’ve learned three core principles that are critical to creating a dynamic, sustainable design sensibility for our industry.
Accessibility Is Paramount
By accessibility, we mean aspiring to design a friction-free user experience for all—the user-experience version of utopia. According to Donald Norman, the godfather of emotional design, “Design is really an act of communication, which means having a deep understanding of the person with whom the designer is communicating.”
But too many designers make human beings adapt to the designs they’ve conjured, which are, all too often, based on their own personal aesthetic. It really shouldn’t take someone ten minutes to figure out how to run a dishwasher or open a door. Our goal should be products that are seamless, whose use is instantaneous and easy. UX designers must adapt to human needs.