Have you ever heard of "Brand Experience?"
The brand experience is like being embraced in an experience completely, so that anything outside of that experience feels like an interruption and removes you from enjoying the experience. Another way to visualize it is like when you are in a theater, watching a movie, and you are so engrossed in the experience that when the guy behind you kicks your chair, the experience has been diminished. It's an awful feeling because it takes you away from the moment. And the more he kicks your chair, the more frustrated you become.
On the web, brand experiences are integral to the success of your site. If the user's experience is interrupted because the flow of the site causes interruptions, then the brand experience is compromised. If your users get lost, can't get back to where they were, or are shifted to an outside link without understanding why, your brand experience has lost value.
So working on the flow of a Website, and creating what are called wire-frames to visually demonstrate flow, helps those designing the website optimize the brand experience for your users.
In the next few days, Savvy Auntie will launch in Beta format. This means that while we have done everything we can to assure a positive brand experience for our users, it's really only through the experience of many people having never seen the site before, and testing it out, that truly enables us to gauge success and design solutions and improvements. That's what Beta testing is.
Over the course of the last few months, Savvy Auntie has invited Aunties to nominate themselves to be Beta testers for this very reason. These Aunties will receive a special invitation to experience SavvyAuntie.com and provide feedback to us so we can fix any issues they experience as quickly as possible.
I'll be honest. I really am not happy about the fact that there is any possibility that there may be a negative brand experience with the Beta testers or anyone else who visits the site. It bothers me because, like inviting guests over for a dinner party, I want everyone to have a great time and enjoy everything I have prepared for them.
Nevertheless, there may be technical issues, broken links, flow issues or even, God forbid, a typo. But the great thing about the Savvy Auntie Community as I have experienced it so far, is that if anything does hurt the experience, they will let me know. Gently.
So when the site launches in Beta, please be patient with any bad experiences that may occur. I hope that there aren't any, of course. But we won't know until we test it out.
The thing about brand experiences is that they are much larger than the product, service or website the brand supports. Hopefully the brand experience you have received before we launch, Dear Reader, is enough to embrace you when we launch.
We are launching in Beta soon, and I cannot thank you enough for your continued support. We're working day and night to launch the best possible brand experience we can.
If you are an Auntie and would like to be included in the Beta Test - please nominate yourself at www.savvyauntie.com and tell me that you read this blog.
Thanks again, and we'll see you at the live Beta site soon!
PS - That's Dana and I over at Syrup, the creative agency, working on website flow back on October 11, 2007.