Using Dynamic Content To Fish In Your Users
Sean McGowanJune 02nd, 20174 minute read
Sean is a technical researcher & writer at Codal, authoring blog posts on topics ranging from UX design to the Internet of Things. Working alongside developers, designers, and marketers, Sean helps support the writing team to ensure Codal produces engaging web content of the highest quality. When not writing about the latest innovations in app design, Sean can be found cooking, watching old movies, or complaining about the shortcomings of his favorite Philadelphia sports teams.
One of the most difficult challenges user experience designers face is also one of their chief responsibilities. In fact, it’s right within their job title. The word ‘user’ is somewhat problematic—it’s a broad, often vague, blanket term that describes a variety of people.
The visitors to your website or application may reside in different demographics, and possess distinct goals and objectives when interacting with the platform. How do you design for the user, when they’re all intrinsically diverse?
In the past, the answer was to simply design for the groups your platform was targeting. Take all of the user types, characterize them by their goals and objectives, and make appropriate design choices to serve each of these categorized groups.
This method has served designers well in the past, but it’s no longer viable— it's simply not enough to meet all the needs of the modern consumer. Users’ expectations for the websites they interact with have evolved, primarily in response to the prevalence of personalized user experiences.
So we reach a sort of paradox: UX designers must create solutions that satisfy all user types, yet simultaneously cater to specific individuals (not just the demo they subscribe to). Luckily, UX design agencies have a robust tool to accomplish this puzzling task: dynamic content.
We’ve covered why dynamic content matters, but have yet to pin down what dynamic content actually is. In short, any content on your website, app, or platform is ‘dynamic’ when it can automatically adapt to an individual user, based on a certain set of criteria.
This criteria can range from meeting broad categories, like gender or location, to more granular rules, (has signed up for a newsletter in the past week, or has purchased a certain item in the month of July). Dependent on these criteria, dynamic content adjusts accordingly to remain relevant to the user.
While extremely pervasive in the ecommerce sector—think Amazon’s ‘recommended for you’ or ‘others who purchased this also bought’ features—dynamic content can be applied to virtually any digital platform, and take many different forms.
One of the most common applications of dynamic content, sending personalized emails to your customer base is an essential marketing technique. It should go beyond a simple “Hi, [Name]” in the subject line as well—consider including content that changes based on a user’s previous purchase history, or their current location.
An oft-forgotten application of dynamic content, tailoring your call-to-actions to an individual significantly improves the likelihood they’ll click on it, and can seriously boost conversion rate.
Different CTA’s should appear to the user based on their current location in the conversion cycle. For example, if the user has expressed interest in your site before, either by subscribing to a newsletter or undergoing a free trial, it’s not advisable for those CTAs to appear to them.
A sometimes costly and technically complex effort, integrating a recommendation algorithm to your website is the heavy artillery of dynamic content. One of the main catalysts of Amazon and Netflix’s dominance in their respective sectors, recommendation engines can personalize on an extremely granular level. Not all engines have to be as intensive as these industry giants however; many ecommerce platforms, like Shopify, offer them as third-party plugins.
The Next Steps
These are just a few of the ways you can leverage dynamic content to enhance the user experience of your website. They're simply enough, but actually implementing dynamic content can be a different story.
While it depends on the exact nature of the dynamic content you’re aiming for, most methods require a structured customer database, or a smart analytics engine. You’ll likely need an integrated email system, and you’ll definitely need adaptive, responsive web pages.
Luckily, a quality UX design agency can easily handle all of the technical know-how required to implement these dynamic content methods. Partnering with one means reaping the numerous benefits of dynamic content, all without the headaches of implementation.
UX design can essentially be deconstructed into one, cardinal rule: design for the user. Though seemingly simple, the maxim becomes complicated when you consider the diversity of your user base, and how all of them expect your platform to be personalized to suit their needs.
It’s a tricky problem, but dynamic content offers a simple solution. So what’s stopping you from using it?