How Personalised Content Can Improve Your Designs

How Personalised Content Can Improve Your Designs article image by Xam.com.au


As we use an ever-increasing number of devices, applications and services, our attention spans have become increasingly stretched. What this means when it comes to design is that users are bombarded with content. To make your designs stand out, you need to analyse every aspect of what you are putting in front of your users. Personalisation enables you to disrupt information delivery, expectations and emotions to deliver something unique and relevant. 

What is Personalisation?

According to the dictionary definition, personalisation is the action of designing or producing something to meet someone’s individual requirements. When that is related to application and website design, it means delivering an experience that is customised for each user. And there is a significant nuance there. Customisation is when the user chooses certain options and actively works to improve their experience. Personalisation, on the other hand, is done without the user being aware, which makes it a vital tool in every designer’s arsenal. 

Personalisation is effective because it is innately human. When done well, personalisation makes a design feel like it is talking directly to the user. The user, of course, doesn’t realise that what they are looking at is any different; they simply enjoy how highly relevant the experience is. 

How do Personalised Designs Differ?

The difference with personalised designs is in the organisation of the user interface and the user touchpoints. Personalised designs use data about preferences and activities to deliver a unique experience for each user. By using data, designers can understand the user better, delivering unique, customised and tailored experiences that delight. Whether it is a different set of features, offers or notifications, every element of personalisation works to improve the user experience. 

The Benefits of Personalisation

Application design is all about creating solutions to user problems. As such, users are rightly becoming accustomed to unique, personalised experiences. However, personalisation doesn’t just please users; it offers several business benefits;

  • Differentiate product – with so many available solutions, it’s vital for businesses to find ways for their products, and thereby their brands, to stand out. 
  • Improved engagement – for a product or service to be successful, user engagement is keen. By delivering personalised experiences, designs can drive engagement. 
  • Increased retention – when users are delighted by an experience, they are much more likely to keep using the product or service in question. 
  • Enhanced relationship – by delivering a personalised experience, designs can help build customer relationships, foster trust and develop brand advocacy. 

However, while personalised experiences bring numerous benefits, these will only be realised if you have a full understanding of your users. Personalisation will push you to review what is important about your app from the user’s perspective, as well as their goals and frustrations. 

How To Personalise Your Designs

Fortunately, there are several steps you can take to personalise your designs and improve the user experience:

  • Anticipate user needs – if you are able to solve user’s needs before they realise they have them, you’ll immediately make them feel more at home. This can be as simple as sending notifications based on your location or time of day and delivering relevant, timely information. 
  • Segment users – by using data from user history, including such things as level of engagement and location, it is possible to build a profile of each type of user. Once segmented, unique functionality and UI design flows can be implemented to give each group exactly what they need. 
  • Deliver location-specific content – with the help of geolocation, you are able to tell where a user is and provide location-specific content or features. Location-based targeting enables your designs to be more relevant and can be combined with other data to deliver an enhanced experience. 
  • Create milestones – everyone likes to feel a sense of achievement. Building milestones into your designs along with rewards, such as new features and functionality, can help encourage users to keep going. This enables you to start simple for new users and unlock advanced content with increased engagement. 
  • Customise content – by analysing user history of likes and dislikes, your design can deliver uniquely tailored animations, videos, images and content. Ultimately, if a user likes doing something, then it makes sense to give them more opportunities to take similar actions. 
  • Connect users – by connecting a user’s experience with that of other people they know, you can help to create a level of trust in your designs. Enable users to interact in that way across your designs and build connections, and they will feel more affiliated with what you have to offer. 

If you take any of these steps to improve your designs, it’s vital to then measure and adjust. During segmentation, you should be able to define what success means for each group and data, analytics and tracking will enable you to see the results. If users don’t take the expected actions, then you may need to make changes to deliver a more satisfying experience.

Could Personalisation Improve Your Designs? 

With short attention spans and growing competition, designs need to deliver personalised, optimised experiences to stay ahead of the competition. This starts with having a deep understanding of your users and then using this knowledge to create solutions that will wow them. However, personalisation doesn’t need to be difficult. By segmenting users, anticipating their needs and delivering tailored content, you can quickly build stronger relationships and driver user engagement.

In summary, here are some key ways that you can improve your designs with personalisation:

  • Deliver features and functionality in a timely and relevant way
  • Build a profile of your users and deliver unique UI design flows to each segment
  • Use geolocation and targeting to deliver location-specific content
  • Start simple and then unlock advanced features with increased engagement
  • Give users more opportunities to do the things they do most
  • Connect users with others to build trust in your design
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About the author

Michael Ridland is the Co-CEO and Founder of Xam Consulting.

Design-led problem solving delivering digital solutions.

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