20Feb

What Does a Good User Interface in Customer Loyalty Look Like? An interview with Lewis Bint

How does a well-designed UI contribute to user engagement and loyalty? 

With the average time to view a web page being 53 seconds, the initial encounter with a digital platform sets the tone for the entire user experience. Digital platforms are forever evolving, and users flooded with a multitude of choices, therefore, the role of the user interface becomes a major factor in determining the success of digital platforms. Not only shaping the aesthetics of the platform but having considerable influence on user retention and engagement, which is the focus of customer loyalty.  

Visually engaging design elements, such as captivating visuals, animations, and interactive features, capture users’ attention and encourage them to explore and interact. Visual appeal contributes to a memorable and immersive experience, increasing the likelihood of return visits.  

Can you discuss the relationship between user experience (UX) and user interface (UI) in the context of loyalty programmes? 

Think of UI/UX design like The Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, California. The UX being the intricate engineering challenges overcome to create such a structure and the UI as the unique architectural design. They both come together to create an instantly recognisable landmark. 

A thoughtfully designed and user-centric UI/UX can significantly impact how users interact with a digital platform, influencing their decision to stay, engage, and return. A well-crafted UI/UX design creates a positive and memorable first impression, capturing users’ attention and encouraging them to explore further. A visually appealing and intuitive design entices users to stay longer and engage more deeply. 

Can you provide examples of loyalty programmes that have an exceptional UI? 

  • Amazon Prime  

  • The North Face, XPLR Pass  

  • Dollar Shave Club 

In what ways can a poor UI detract from the perceived value of a loyalty programme? 

Users have grown to have short attention spans and can disregard programmes altogether if there is a poor execution of the visual elements. The overall look and feel should be representative of the brand’s identity and if the programme lacks quality UI design, users can become disheartened with a brand they believe deserved their loyalty. How people see your brand or programme is how they perceive its value, for example, Apple as a brand uses a timeless monochrome colour palette that is instantly identifiable with their products. Partnering that with high resolution compelling imagery complements their products and is designed to portray them as one of the best luxury products in the technology market. 

How can UI elements such as colours, shapes, and typography influence user perception and behaviour in loyalty programmes? 

Good UI is critical in increasing customer loyalty. Websites are often the initial point of contact between businesses and their potential clients. Design and layout can significantly influence the user experience. Poor design creates confusion and frustration, while good design makes a programme easier to navigate. Colour scheme, layout, and font may impact customer perception. In addition, the design of negative spaces and typography also affect the CX. Good design contributes to better customer satisfaction, whereas an inadequate design may lead to customer dissatisfaction. 

 Can you discuss the process of designing a UI specifically for a loyalty programme? 

Designing a UI for a loyalty programme involves understanding the target audience and translating programme goals into visually appealing elements.  

  • Creating a seamless user journey with intuitive navigation and visually engaging onboarding process is key.  

  • Crafting aesthetically pleasing dashboards, incorporating clear indicators and graphics to represent points and rewards also adds to a positive CX.  

  • Developing personalised visuals and notifications aligned with the programme’s theme encourages ongoing engagement.  

  • Ensuring mobile responsiveness with optimised designs for various screens and incorporating visually stimulating gamification elements and feedback mechanisms both enhance user engagement.  

  • Finally, iteratively refining designs based on user feedback and prioritising accessibility and inclusive design throughout the process are vital to loyalty programme success. 

How do you balance aesthetics and functionality when designing a UI for loyalty programmes? 

Understand your users. Who are they? What are their needs and expectations? What features are most important to them? By understanding the users, you can identify opportunities to improve the design. 

Keep it simple. A cluttered or complex interface can be overwhelming and frustrating to users. Simplify the design with clean lines, clear fonts and a simple colour palette. Tooltips are an effective way of providing additional information to users but avoid using technical terms that might confuse. 

Create a consistent experience. Use a consistent colour palette, typography and layout throughout the design. Use the same icons and buttons across the platform, so that users have a seamless experience. Consistency creates a sense of familiarity and lets the users feel comfortable when interacting with the programme.

What strategies do you recommend for integrating feedback mechanisms within the UI to continually optimise loyalty programmes? 

Feedback mechanics can be split in to two areas, appropriate feedback and immediate feedback. An example of appropriate feedback is if you hover over a button, you expect to see a state change. The user’s actions are matched with their mental model of how the system works. Immediate feedback tells the user that their action has been registered, such as when you click on the navigation, and it takes a while to load, you would expect to see a loader. 

When appropriate and immediate feedback are missing this will lead to user frustration and loss of confidence in their actions, resulting in unnecessary repeat clicks. 

Some real-world examples of feedback classifications are listed below: 

Acknowledgement of input – this tells the user that their input is being accepted and registered by the system. An example is when a user enters their credit card number in the input field, the field should show each number as it’s being entered. Without this, users question whether the system has registered their action. 

Format validation – telling the user that their input is in the correct format. For example, when entering credit card numbers into an input field that only registers numbers as a valid input, the system will not register attempts to enter letters and will display an error message. 

Progress indicator – this form of feedback tells the user the status of the system. If the user performs an action, it can reflect the state of processing their user input and, if applicable, advises the user to expect a delay. 

Can you provide insights into emerging UI trends and technologies that can influence loyalty programme interactions? 

3D Design – with advancements in technologies such as augmented reality and virtual reality, designers can create immersive 3D experiences for users. The use of 3D graphics can bring a new level of depth and interactivity to interfaces, making them more engaging and visually appealing. 

Micro-interactions – these are small animations or visual cues that provide feedback to users when they interact with UI elements. They add a layer of interactivity to the UI, making it more engaging and intuitive. The increasing use of micro-interactions add personality and improve the user experience. 

Minimalism – this is a current popularising trend with users seeking simplicity in their interfaces. Focusing on creating minimalist designs that prioritise content over flashy graphics. This approach not only creates a visually appealing look but also improves the user experience by reducing distractions and focusing on the content. Another bonus is that load times are faster, and systems are more accessible for users with disabilities. 

Augmented and Virtual Reality (AR & VR) – AR technology allows users to overlay digital information onto the physical world, creating an interactive and immersive experience. This application can be used in a wide range of sectors, from gaming to retail. 

How important will personalisation and customisation be in future UI designs for loyalty programmes? 

Users will come to expect a tailored and personalised experience when interacting with programmes. This is especially important for e-commerce websites and mobile apps, where users want to see personalised recommendations and offers.  

Being able to customise programmes gives the user a greater feeling of attachment to the loyalty scheme and gains a greater connection. With the help of data and machine learning algorithms, designers can create personalised UI experiences that cater to the user’s preferences and behaviour. 

Based on your experience, what common mistakes should be avoided while designing UI for loyalty programmes? 

  1. Pointless inconsistency in your UI elements. To ensure a smooth and concise loyalty programme, avoid using too many different styles. This will send mixed signals to your users! The key is repeating patterns and elements any time you can. A consistent-looking design goes a long way in establishing trust with your visitors and in creating an enjoyable experience. Plus, it will help your users learn their way around your programme much faster. 

  1. Little distinction between primary and secondary buttons. It is important to give visual importance to the primary actions. All the navigation happens through buttons, so you must make it easy for the user to identify the primary buttons by making them bold and prominent. Secondary actions should be less prominent but still visible if the user is looking for them. 

  1. Lack of text hierarchy. Text is the primary unit of informational content, which is exactly the reason why it must always be legible and organised. Properly formatted text facilitates users’ perception of information. 

  1. Bad iconography. Sometimes icons seem to be the “easiest” part of the design, when in fact they are also a fundamental part of modern interfaces. Especially on mobile where icons are the equivalent of buttons, you will find an interface that is mostly made of icons. 

  1. Unaligned elements. The power of aligning things is the key to making any layout look beautiful and balanced. There are two fundamental ways to help you organise your interface; a 12-column grid and a baseline grid. Both are invisible in the final design, but they are critical to having a balanced interface. 

  1. Low contrast. Contrast is everything on a visual composition. When you have low contrast between your interface elements, all the elements merge together and you end up with a dull and hard-to-read interface because it all looks the same. Low contrast is equal to low usability. 

  1. Confusing forms. Forms are a crucial part of the user journey; they are used to login, to sign up, check out, etc. so it’s important to provide clear guidance before and after submitting the form. 

  1. Using irrelevant or low-quality images. Photos in your interface will help to tell a story, so choose a strong image that will complement the story and the look of your app. 

About the Author

Melanie Parker

Melanie Parker

Stream’s co-founder, Melanie, became the first British woman to become accredited with the CLMP from The Loyalty Academy. Passionate about all things loyalty, Melanie cuts through the technical jargon and gets to the real business issue. Melanie loves to develop engaging digital solutions that appear simple whilst creating long lasting partnerships that add value to all.

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LoyaltyStream Key Features

  • 21 loyalty campaign types to suit every business
  • Options to deploy gamification campaigns such as Spin-To-Win and Prize Draws as well as Badges
  • Ability to track and reward all behaviours from transactions to actions
  • In-depth visual analytics and insights on Campaigns, Members, actions and transactions
  • Customisable CRM and segmentation options to suit your Member profile
  • Scalable modular SaaS platform that can grow with your business

 

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