By Garrett Bingaman
Taking advantage of what your audience is already creating and sharing is one of the more popular trends on the web. From photos and videos to 5-star reviews at your pizza restaurant, free high-quality content is being created every day by users. Learning to benefit from this user-generated content (UGC) is key.
According to TintUp, sites with featured user-generated content saw a 20% increase in return visitors and up to a 90% increase on the time spent on the site. In regards to millennials, the data proves even more valuable. User-generated content is 20% more influential when it comes to Millennial purchases and they consider it 35% more memorable and 50% more trusted than any other media.
Big companies such as Warby Parker, Frito Lay, and Waze are crushing the competition when it comes to benefiting from this type of content. Waze, a UI mapping app, has made a “game” out of travel, letting users submit small pieces of content to receive “points” within the app. Information such as construction notifications, hazards, and police identification are submitted in real time and create a larger scale product benefitting everyone on the road.
With social media and smartphones almost always an arms-length away, our users are expecting fresh and quality content delivered to them constantly from companies and universities. Incorporating user-generated content into a website or design provides a way for your audience to feel included and an opportunity to keep your content fresh and current. Cameras on phones have never been better, capturing high-resolution photos; no filter needed.
Merging UGC and a redesign
At Purdue University, we have taken this concept of user-generated content and created a successful photo campaign that not only gets us high-quality images of our campus but also incorporates that content into a key design element for our university homepage redesign. We knew our new site needed to break the mold of using stagnant photo banners and provide our users with a new experience, giving them a reason to come back often while still providing valuable and unique content each time.
Our goal was to showcase Purdue’s beautiful campus and to involve our audience. As the main homepage of Purdue, the design needed to encapsulate our audience and give them a real sense of who we are overall as a university. We needed to be the “window to campus” and really illustrate what we do best. From student life and events to athletics and study abroad, we were able to find a way to showcase our campus through multiple perspectives all while putting our feet up and letting the content flow in. In August 2017, we officially launched our new photo campaign, Picture Your Purdue, and it has been nothing but a success as we approach the one year mark, with no sign of slowing down.
So, how can you take advantage of this and let your audience do all the work for you? Check out my talk at edUi 2018 where I will break down the details of our campaign and give you tips to start using right away.
About the Author
Garrett Bingaman is the Senior Multimedia/UX Designer at Purdue University. Passionate about not only great design but an exceptional user experience, Garrett has learned the importance of understanding your audience goals and being a flexible, well-rounded designer.
As an avid coffee drinker and vegetarian, Garrett loves exploring new cities and local coffee shops and finding creative spaces to design in. He holds a Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design, a minor in photography and two UX certifications.
Garrett will present the talk Let your audience do the work: Capitalizing on user-generated content (for higher ed) at edUi 2018.