Do you remember that, until recently, the can opener was an essential item in the kitchen to open different types of cans? That’s right: without it, for example, the contents of a can of condensed milk were hard to access. But, despite the fact that the can opener still has its importance, you must have noticed that, more and more, cans come with an easy-open system, in which all it takes is pulling on a handle to be able to consume the food inside of them.
A process that could formerly take minutes (depending on one’s skills), nowadays doesn’t require more than a few seconds. You know what that is? It’s design, positively impacting customers’ experiences.
Simplifying the opening of a package, making consumption easy and facilitating the storage of a product: all of it is just thinking of a more satisfying experience for the user. And all of that is also thinking in terms of UI (User Interface) and UX (User Experience). Confused? Don’t worry, read on to understand!
Interface and experience design
To the explanations, then! In short, we can say that UI Design (which refers to the user’s interface) is related to the way in which a user interacts with a product or package. By that, we mean the physical part itself, that which is visually perceptible (shape, colors, typography etc.).
UX Design (which refers to the user’s experience), on the other hand, has more to do with the emotional aspect or, put another way, the feelings a user has when interacting with a product or package. Therefore, professionals in this field try to always prioritize the emotional aspects that can be generated in the relationship between consumer and brand.
In order to reach the best possible results, it’s essential that these two parts are very well thought out by the company. After all, the goal is to present an interface which is clear, visually interesting and capable of creating a strong connection with a person.
Want an easy to understand example?
You know those times when you had to keep sauce bottles upside down to get the most out of them? Well, Heinz noticed this habit by customers and saw a way to improve their interaction with its product through design.
The solution consisted in inverting the sides of the package, placing the lid on the bottom instead of the top, which was its usual location. This change, simple on the surface, met a storage habit that the brand had noticed and, at the same time, facilitated the use of the product, since it was no longer necessary to flip the ketchup in order to use it. The change could seem silly at first, but it soon became evident that it was a hit and, not coincidentally, it became a trend.
Earlier, in the late 80s, Heinz had already understood the importance of investing in packaging to create a good relationship with customers. Noticing most ketchup consumers were children, the brand thought of a more efficient way to package the product since, at the time, it commonly came in glass bottles – a material which was heavier and posed more risk for kids.
Heinz opted, then, to replace the glass bottles for an EZ Squirt, made out of soft plastic and with a cone-shaped tip. The change made it lighter and easier to serve and handle, and it was so well accepted that ketchup consumption rose by 12%!
Check out also: “Using packages as a branding strategy”
But what does this have to do with UI and UX Design?
Practically everything! The explanation behind these changes made by Heinz relate to UI and UX. But what does that mean?
When the first bottle was developed, still in glass, the primary thought was the product interface and the way the user would interact with the product. But there lied the possibility to explore the user’s experience in an even more interesting way.
That happened when the brand made a physical design change which enabled a simpler, more natural and positive use of the product. Put differently, it thought of the interface as a tool to improve customers’ experience with the ketchup, bringing UI closer to UX. And that must always be a goal.
The fact is, just like Heinz, many companies started to focus on users’ habits to develop a new (and better) way to deliver their products and packages, prioritizing efficiency and the construction of a good relationship with customers.
In order for that to occur, it’s essential to always be on the lookout for new market and consumer trends. Therefore, test prototypes, think of usability of that which you offer, making sure that every experience with your product happens in a conscious and positive way. Start by always asking: why are we making this product or this package? What are its functionalities and characteristics? What’s its usability like? And, when answering, try to align users’ needs with your brand’s goals.