Is it possible that an application or a site can be really useful for ordinary users, taking into consideration that the platform has a very limited choice in functionality of how the customers can use the tools which an agency develops for them?

The trend of better personalization has grown over the last year. To maintain a loyal customer group, every company needs to show that it really takes into consideration their users’ behavior and preferences and adapts everything in accordance with this information.

Creating a unique and personalized user experience for each individual user becomes a significant difference for the creators. When implemented correctly, personalization can help to increase user engagement, retention, and allow building more personalized relationships with the customers.

And as a fact, no one knows better than the users themselves how to improve the UX. Letting them to control how experience can meet their needs best is one of the ways to create a more unique product.

Some simple ways to personalize your user interface:

1. Placing important buttons.

The studies show that approximately 10% of the total population are left-handed. But designing exclusively for this group would be stupid. If there is an important process or action that is performed repeatedly — for example, ‘like’ or re-post, then why not give a user the opportunity to decide where this reaction will be placed as most convenient for him?

Some gestures and actions can cause unnecessary stretching out for the users with dominant left hand.

2. Customization design

Allowing the users to customize font sizes outside of accessibility tools provides easier reading for some individuals. This is a simple setup that can make the mobile interface design, reading the characters and text overall, and pictures visibility on the device more user-friendly.

This also applies to the dark mode and color theme. In addition to the light and dark mode, give users the opportunity to choose from a list of colors in such a way so the display becomes more personalized and memorable.

3. Notification.

Try to make notifications as individual as possible. Having a general option to enable / disable notifications is not specific enough to meet the needs of most consumers. However, a more detailed list of what you can enable or disable is much better for user personalization.

Instead of annoying the users so much that they uninstall your application, keep them engaged simply by showing them notifications that can interest them.

4. Segmenting.

Customization is just a prediction if you can’t wisely segment your audience by using real user data such as history, date and time, level of involvement, location, friends, followers, and a lot of other statistics that can help the companies to build a segmented profile of each user group. The main aim of such segmentation is to group various categories of users you might have. The segmentation and solutions you find out will be a unique website customization and will direct your personalization efforts.

5. Remembering the User’s Name.

Good relations are based on loyalty, trust and mutual interests, but it was exactly this small piece of effort that laid the foundation for friendship. Why? Because we have established a personal interaction.

Computers are not real people, we all know that, but if you have user data, why not use it to the full? Remembering personal details about your users make them feel happy and special, and eventually increase the level of engagement.

Customization vs. Personalization

Customization gives control over the user, and personalization gives control over the site. Both these components can improve usability and the user experience, but only if they are neatly executed.

Both customization and personalization adapt the content and the features to the specific user needs so that different visitors see different information on the “same” page.

In such instance, is there a difference between these notions? Yes.

Personalization is executed by the system. The developers customize the system to identify the users and lend them with the content that matches particularly their segment group. It can be done at the individual level (for example, offers are based on the previous user’s browsing and purchase history) or at the level of a segment group (for example, the data related to specific places or roles is displayed on the intranet, e.g. job responsibilities).

Customization is executed by the users themselves. The system can allow the users to adjust or make changes to the experience to meet their specific needs by customizing the layout, content, and functionality of the system. It may contain moving elements on the interface to reflect the user priorities, opportunity to select topics of interest, change the colors, size, mode or other factors related to the visual design of the interface.

For Both, Start with a Usable Site

It is important to understand that personalization and individualization can improve the user experience on the site, but they should not be used as one of the methods of fixing a faulty site. If users cannot find some information or articles, the solution may not be personalization or customization, but a simple correction of the basic site structure or even content presentation.

Customization works well under assumption that the users know better what their objectives and needs are. Thus, it is based on the natural user intelligence, and not on artificial intelligence (a system). On the other hand, personalization is based on artificial intelligence (about a user or a group of users) collected by the system over time. It may work well if the users do not know exactly what they need, and they have to filter a large information space. To be successful, the artificial intelligence of the system must meet the user needs.

To conclude, personalization as well as customization should improve an existing good customer experience, and not try to fix a bad one. They should be used carefully, for a specific purpose. Note that both customization and personalization require constant upgrade and control. Regular checks are needed to ensure that the right content gets into the right group, and this setting should allow the users to make changes due to their interests or preferences.

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