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All too often UI styles are based on a designers' own opinion. That's not necessarily important. It's important that users trust the application for what it promises to deliver. Using an appropriate UI style I hope to emphasis this.

For example if the product is an online file manager that emphasises security, the UI should 'feel' safe in its style. Having a windows95 style might not convey security and would therefore be a bad choice.

If your app promises to make people happy, you should make sure you have a 'happy' visual style. How would you test that?

What methods can I use to test whether UI styles match product values?

(I'm trying to keep the question global so others can benefit from it.)

What I'm thinking of doing is create 5 mockups of exactly the same page in a different style. Do a 5 second test for each style where we ask the participants to rate the design (1 to 5 stars) on the product values, topics like security, seriousness (it's corporate) etc.

  • I'm not really sure what it is you're asking here. It seems like it's more of a branding / visual design issue than a UX one. The brand should convey the message that your product / company stands for, and the visual design should take the branding message into account when being created. This is the job of the visual design and brand team really, not the User Experience designers. Unless I'm not understanding your question? – JonW Jan 12 '17 at 15:15
  • Can you at least tell us what your product promises? I can't think of a way a UI will correlate directly to the products intentions, whether your product promises better social connections or world domination it should have a clean, simple, intuitive UI. – DasBeasto Jan 12 '17 at 15:19
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    I've edited the description. I think it is a UX thing, I want my users to 'feel' like their data is safe. That is an experience, not just branding. – Martyn Jan 12 '17 at 17:18
  • @Dasbeasto, clean, simple and intuitive: yes of course. But that doesn't really narrow it down. – Martyn Jan 12 '17 at 17:38
  • @Martyn It's just hard to narrow it down without more context. Like if you were looking for ways, in your example, to make a file system feel more secure that would be an answerable question. But we cant list all ways to make any application 'feel' any way. There is no one size fits all so it's too broad to answer. – DasBeasto Jan 12 '17 at 17:43
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What methods can I use to test whether UI styles match product values?

I think you are the only one that can answer that question, because the values you put into the product are yours.

Customers on the other side might not see the same values and thus their desired style for what they are looking for in your site will be different.

A/B testing

A/B testing is possibly your best way to check what users are more comfortable with, which might or not coincide with the value you wanted the site to have.

Let's say you test your style (A) a slightly modified one (A') and totally different one (B). You might find out that customers coincide with your vision of the site ("safe" UI for your security site) or that they actually preferred version B which gives the site a more human/nearer touch. Or for the sake of this example imagine a version C that has a very cheap look. Not probable but it might happen that customers prefer this version as it gives them security that you are investing time and money in the security things which are the ones where they see the value.

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  • With your A/B test, how do you suggest to receive feedback from users on their feelings towards something? (A standard A/B test measures something like conversion or sales, but that wouldn't help in this case) – Martyn Jan 14 '17 at 19:59
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Your best bet is to collect a significant group of potential customers, show them the u/i (high-class mockups, probably), and ask them to select and rank-order the 5 terms from a 1-page list that the u/i seems to imply to them.

Your idea would also work, but you'll want to worry about opinions of earlier mockups influencing perception of the ones seen afterward.

(Psychologically you'll be wanting to use dark colors, conservative sans-serif type, and a grid layout)

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