04 Oct Part 2: How to increase your proposal wins with behavioural and design science
We recently looked at practical ways to increase your proposal wins and generate more business using the application of Behavioural Science techniques. This week, we cover UI and UX techniques and address how they can work in harmony with Behavioural Science to maximise sign-off rates. This is a great framework for a multitude of organisations to use; from creative agencies to start-ups, life coaches and small business owners. It doesn’t matter what sector your organisation sits within, UI, UX and Behavioural Science techniques are applicable and highly effective at changing perceptions and steering decision-making behaviour. If you’re a start-up looking to move from your current to desired market position, then you may be heavily reliant on pitch decks. The tips we recommend would also be highly relevant when pitching to potential investors for funding. As Thom Richards, Founder of Parallel states:
“Design is very important for getting your message across – in conceptual thinking, presentation and user experience. It also gives a business personality.”
What are UX and UI, and how do we differentiate between them?
User Experience (UX) is the systematic process of gaining a deep understanding of the needs and requirements of a predefined group of users. It involves facilitating their values and limitations in order to enhance their experience with a product or service. Ease of use, accessibility and satisfaction are often key indicators of success. UX Researchers and Designers may engage in a qualitative and quantitative research journey which often involves collaborative workshops, focus groups and observation techniques.
Whilst UX focuses on a user’s full experience with a product or service, User Interface (UI) is linked more to the design of the interface, or touchpoint of a product. UI Designers are more concerned with typography, input controls and navigational components such as buttons, text fields, breadcrumbs and sliders. The goal is still the same – to develop a product that best meets the needs of a user – but, UI Designers will be focused on ensuring that the interaction with the interface harmoniously facilitates a user’s goals or actions.
You’ll often notice that UI Designers and UX Researchers work closely alongside other members of a multi-disciplinary team such as Project Managers, Strategists, and Engineers.
6 tips on how UX and UI can be applied to optimise your proposal and improve its success rate.
- Focus on Visual Hierarchy
Getting your on-page visual hierarchy right when laying out your proposal is the most basic starting point. Adobe gives us a brilliant description of Visual Hierarchy for those that require a bit more insight:
“Visual Hierarchy is used to rank design elements and influence in the order you want your users to view them. By using principles like contrast, scale, balance and, more, you can help establish each element in its rightful place and help the most important elements stand out.”
Before you commence the layout process be clear about what content you want to focus on. Size is the most basic but important element for consideration when applying a visual hierarchy to the information on the page. Increase the scale of important components and you’ll draw the eye of your time-short client straight to them. Colours with high contrast will also gain greater attention, and perspective is a great way to create the illusion of separation between components. Typography mustn’t be overlooked; the correct ‘pairing’ of typefaces in combination with subtle differences in size, weight, kerning and alignment can really help to accentuate focus areas.
- Employ Data Visualisation
The use of statistics to reinforce our claims is commonplace when delivering a proposal, but your prospective clients will often be lacking in the time to wade through data. This is particularly pertinent for startups that are presenting successful case studies that demonstrate high conversion rates. Data visualisations are a great way to present the most pivotal information graphically to increase impact and engagement. Presenting stats needs to be digestible. If you don’t have the resource in-house to do this, there are some easy to use, free Saas options out there such as Flourish.
It’s important to remember that Data Visualisations must always be accompanied by text and annotation. Clear titles and labels are indispensable to show your prospective client how to read a visualisation.
- Accompany Text with Icons
Icons can have a multitude of purposes; they enable us to communicate key information without the use of words, they give context to what we’re presenting in text, they can serve to simplify complex concepts, act as aids for classification, or they can simply inject a bit of fun or brand personality.
Icons are easily digestible and rapidly understood. They are a great tool for aiding and simplifying lengthy blocks of text, or complex concepts.
- Be Aware of Subconscious Viewing Patterns
Everyone has what Adobe describes as a “subconscious viewing pattern” which they use to scan the contents of a page. Adobe advises that this typically differs from person to person, and may alter depending on the content that an individual is viewing, but two common patterns are the Z pattern and the F pattern. If you can compose your page to follow the pattern, you can steer your reader to the components on the page in the order you want them to be viewed.
- Make use of Word Clouds, Timelines and Tiled Layouts
What may sound like waffle, is a series of frameworks or components that aid the visual digestion of chunks of information. Proposals are often information-heavy, so pulling out and framing that information in a way that your time-poor client can easily digest is important. Word clouds (or tags clouds) are often used to depict keyword metadata but can be a handy way for startups particularly to present market trends, your team structure, global distribution of people, or even brainstormed ideas. Timelines are a clear way to present the history of your company, key hires, milestones, or product launches. And, tiled layouts enable you to group small chunks of information that may read easier side by side rather than in a long list format.
- Don’t Ignore Accessibility
Globally, more than 2.2 billion people have a sight impairment. While the consideration of accessibility isn’t going to help your proposal convert, it does ensure that the team that you’re presenting it to won’t face any barriers in reading and understanding it, especially if you opt to present your proposal in a digital format.
If you’re a digital agency that designs for the online space, then it’s bad practice to ignore guidelines in any of your collateral. Make use of space and separation. Employ high contrast colours, and be mindful of the WGAC guidelines. There are some great free tools out there such as coolors.co and Adobe Color that enable you to easily check the suitability of a colour palette across different types of colour blindness.