Cutting Edge Design vs User Experience

Unless you’re working in the digital design industry or something similar, you probably haven't given much thought to how much the design of a digital product impacts the user experience (UX).
web design concept

Unless you’re working in the digital design industry or something similar, you probably haven’t given much thought to how much the design of a digital product impacts the user experience (UX). Technology is everywhere – you simply can’t avoid it. From bus stop timetables to answering your doorbell, there’s an electronic solution to just about everything.

But would you invest in a product if it looked a bit cheap? Even if you know the functionality is spectacular, a bad design can be off putting. So how do designers find the right balance between a unique and innovative design and a great user experience?

Recognisable Design

So let’s talk about toothpaste. While not all toothpastes are stripy these days, when you’re picturing it in your head, chances are you’re seeing some variation of red, white and blue stripes.

There are a lot of theories behind these stripes. Some people believe they represent the three main factors that make up toothpaste – a cleaning agent, fluoride and flavour. There is also a debunked theory that each colour signifies something – blue apparently meant natural ingredients with a medical element, while red represented natural ingredients with some chemicals.

The real reason appears to be an incentive for children to brush their teeth – if toothpaste looks like a delicious stick of peppermint, surely kids will be more inclined to use it!  American inventor Leo Marraffino patented his striped toothpaste making device in the 1950s, and the idea of stripy toothpaste still remains today.

In terms of design, lots of toothpaste manufacturers continue to use not just the stripes, but the colour scheme of blue, red and white in their logos and overall branding. These colours are instantly recognisable as those of toothpaste, so any other elements of the design can tell you more about the organisation, such as a quirky font or a brighter design for children.

An Emotional Response

When it comes to generating an emotional response through your design, again we can look at colour. The most obvious example of this is the colour red, which is believed to create a feeling of hunger, as the most appetising colour on the spectrum.

Whether you believe this to be true or not, some of the biggest fast food manufacturers in the world abide by this philosophy. McDonalds is a prime example of this – their logo is predominantly red, as are the logos of KFC, Burger King and Pizza Hut.

Another great example of design sparking an emotional response is that of Trello. A lot of people can appreciate the feeling of satisfaction you get when you tick a task off of your to-do list. Trello have taken this one step further. Moving tasks across your board, from the ‘pending’ to ‘complete’ section, prompts an emotional response of accomplishment. And this positive feeling towards the functionality of the platform will then translate into deeper levels of trust for the brand.

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Creating Memorable Experiences

A large part of improving UX is by doing something memorable. Now as we all know, there is nothing new under the sun, but that doesn’t mean you should give up before you start. Just having one interesting element to your design can make all the difference.

This element doesn’t have to be particularly cutting edge either – as we have seen from the example of Trello. Task lists are hardly revolutionary. If you’re able to connect with your users emotionally though, the experience becomes memorable, and creates a resonance between users and brands.

So what are the fundamental principles of ensuring an outstanding customer experience? We’ve explored a few of the key ideas below.

User Focused

If your business is scaling fast, it can be easy to lose sight of the main objective – designing a service or product that people want to use. It’s always a good idea to get some feedback before launching any new product, so you can get a good idea of how users interact with it. While you may have built this site or app, they are the experts when it comes to the customer journey.


When designing a website or app, you want people to be able to navigate it easily. Streamline the process as much as possible, and make the call to action clear on every page. If someone needed to click through multiple pages before reaching the end goal, such as your sales page, you’re unlikely to get a lot of conversions. 

Mobile First

While years ago, most traffic would have come from desktop or laptop computers, these days mobile devices come out top. So when designing any site, you need to optimise the experience for mobile – it’s no longer an option, more of a requirement!

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Designing for User Experience

When you are designing any digital product, while innovation is important, you have to keep the end user in mind at all times. The finished product should not just be a testament to the skill of the designer, it also needs to be fully functional, and easy to use.

A well thought out design should both engage a user and impress them. Cutting edge design and UX don’t have to be mutually exclusive – you should always aim to find a good balance between the two.

If you’re looking for more information about designing for UX, The Pineapple Agency would love to hear from you! Get in touch today so that we can discuss the services we can offer your business.