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Engagement, not user experience

While designing products, a lot of thought goes into the situations in which the end user will actually use the product. Everyone from smartphone app-developers to dish-washing soap manufacturers consider the context in which the product will be used in order to provide a better user experience. You don't have to look beyond Steve Jobs or Marissa Mayer if you want to get an idea of how obsessed product developers can be about providing a good user experience.

This is a delightful way of doing things if you're a product developer, and I have thoroughly enjoyed taking this approach with the products I'm currently working on. It is imperative to understand the context of usage to introduce the right set of features in the product.

This is something a lot of marketers need to learn from their product developers.

Advertisements are products as well. Although all marketers worth their salt take into account the context in which their communication will be received by the target audience, they only look at it from the perspective of 'Is this the right context to reach a good portion of my target audience?', and almost never give a thought to user experience.

I have been thinking about this for a while now as the number of times I skip ads on Youtube has constantly reduced my frequency of visits to the site. But it was exacerbated when I watched Gravity last night. Wonderful movie that it is, the number of ads I was made to sit through in the interval completely ruined the experience.

The advertisers got everything right. They had a good portion of their target audience partially focused on their communication. That is a huge success in the advertising world. But the user experience was beyond awful.

Advertisers need to care more about the holistic experience rather than just look at their communication in isolation. But I doubt it will ever happen.

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