Applying User Experience (UX) to optimise your Readers’ Experience (RX)

Rawisglenn
8 min readJul 3, 2022
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Example of User Experience (UX)

Imagine visiting a shoe shop to get a pair of shoes. You do not just buy the pair of shoes that appeals most to you, I believe most of us would at least try on the pair of shoes to see if it fits and perhaps stand up, take a few steps or even hop/run around to see how it feels before deciding to purchase it. The whole process/experience from laying your eyes on the shoes, trying it on, to taking a few steps are considered as the user (of the shoe) experience.

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Importance of UX

Continuing on from the previous example, if the design of the shoe does not appeal to you, would you try wearing it? If the shoe design do appeal to you but on wearing it does not fit the contour of your feet giving you pain/discomfort, would you purchase it? If you do purchase eventually, but the workmanship is inferior and the soles fall off after a few wear, would you buy subsequent shoes from the same brand?

In other words, positive UXs would provide greater customer satisfaction which translate to purchase and recurring sales.

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UX in Software Development

It is common to find UX design being applied to modern software development. There are many techniques, models, methodologies out there for improving UX, but essentially the aim is the same, that is to understand the user and their use cases, in order to tailor the software to fit their needs.

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Why UX is relevant to you/your Readers’ Experience (RX)?

Customer Experience

The core/101 of marketing is to create products/service to meet the needs of the customer. If the need is a pain point, the customers would go great length for the solution, which is your product/service.

Does the above paragraph sounds similar to what we describe for User Experience? Essentially, in my opinion, User Experience is similar to Customer Experience. If you replace the “Customer” from the “Customer Experience” with other relevant word to describe the consumers , depending on the product e.g. “Readers”, then it all make sense.

Readers are also app Users

Besides, technically speaking, your readers are reading your medium article(s) from their web browser on their mobile device or laptop, i.e. they are also app users. As such, User Experience is applicable to your readers.

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Applying UX to optimise RX

Now that we have briefly touch on UX, RX and its importance, let’s get back to the main topic, which is how to apply UX to optimize RX for your medium articles.

As mentioned earlier, there are many UX frameworks and methodology out there, which main aim is to better understand the users and their needs (use case). To do that, we are going to start with some good old questioning methods of “Who, What, Why…” to find out more about our readers.

1. Identifying your genre

The beauty of medium is that you can literally find and post anything on it. From technical stuff such as science, tech, to personal stuff such as life or love experiences.

With such a diverse amount of topics available in medium and a sea of article available, it is important to first identify which genre your article falls. This would help set the expectation on the style of your writing. For example, for programming articles, we can expect the article to be more concise, technical. And for travelling article, we can expect the style to be more casual and personal, often including description on the writer’s emotions and experiences.

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2. Determining your target audience

Once you have identified your genre, it would be easier to narrow down the possible groups of target audience. Identifying the correct group of audience is important because there is no one product in this world that is ideal for everyone.

Likewise for your articles, there would be certain groups of audiences that would be more interested than others (in your article), and would be more likely to invest more of their time to read your articles from start to end.

Once you have determine your target audience, you should customize the reading experience to fit their preference, from the style, font colour, to picture and etc., more to be covered below.

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With the targeted audience set, let’s start the first customization, the tagging of topics to your article. Medium allows tagging of up to 5 topics to a article. These tags would facilitate your targeted group of audiences to find your articles and also for medium to recommend your article to the intended group of audiences.

Hence it is important for topics tagged to be as specific and relevant as possible. To do that, we have to role play/imagine ourselves to be the target audience and start asking questions such as under what situation would we look for the article? What topic would we type? What text would we type into the search bar?

As mentioned earlier, it is worth noting that there is a sea of articles in medium i.e. extremely competitive, and a good approach to start with would be to move into certain niches and excel in it .

3. First Impression count!

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I believe you have come across the above quote before, e.g. interview, first date and etc. This is especially true when it comes to your RX. The first impression is an important factor of consideration for your reader to decide whether to read your article.

Usually, the first thing that your reader would look at is the title, follow by the picture and the article description. Hence, it is important to role play/imagine and ask what your intended audience would like to see and can resonate with. Try to ensure that the title is as succinct as possible and describe the essence of your article i.e do not overhype your title, stay true! The last thing you would want are readers or even the medium community to associate you with click baits. More on that later…

Search results for medium articles

Rejoice when your reader click and enter your article. However, the battle has only just started, what you should do next is determine the tone, mood and feel you would want your article to exude through your writing style and external appearance e.g. colors, font and etc..

Singapore MRT rails from Extra-ordinary photo collection

The good news is that external appearance of your medium articles can be personalized and customized to your preferences. The font type, font color background color can all be customized for all elements of your articles, from the background to the Title and text body. However, the customization is limited; apply to all medium articles and individual article are not customizable. That is good enough for me though as it maintain a level of consistency which is important to your brand identity.

Customising font, color of text, header and etc. in your medium articles
Customizable options for your medium articles

4. Building a relationship with your readers

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Once you have set a conducive environment for your readers to read. The next aim would be for your reader to read your article till the end. This is not an easy feat though, as the internet nowadays has a seemingly endless trove of resources, and the readers has no lack of alternative.

In my opinion, I think that the best way to ensure your reader read your article till the end is to have quality content! To do that, you have to review the takeaway(s) your reader have from your article. Same thing, you need to role play, imagine and ask if the takeaway(s) is what your readers really need?

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Do consider the usage of sub-titles, as it would help your reader remain on track on the direction of your articles and continue to keep your readers engaged. This is especially important when your article is very lengthy.

Screenshot of sub-titles

I can’t stress how important quality content is because when readers enjoyed your article and/or find your article to be useful, they would be interested to find out what other articles you have written. They may share your article(s) with friends/colleagues/family. And gradually you would have a growing community.

All the best

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Rawisglenn

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