Neuro User Experience – what UX Designer can learn from neuromarketing

A good user experience is the cornerstone of all business processes. From product design to marketing messages, user experience is the key to success. The better a company meets a customer’s expectations, the more comfortable it will be to continue to use its services or products. But how can you best influence these experiences as a company and manage the positive association? A case for neuromarketing.

As already described, human beings are anything but purely rational when it comes to decisions. Feelings, recognition and unconscious factors play a major role in purchasing decisions. The situation is similar for the User Experience.

User experience in the design process

With a user-friendly UX design that triggers the customer’s appropriate emotions, you can overcome many hurdles in the consumer’s mind. A positive experience during the use of the product or website is the way to motivate the user. Both the strategic unit and the product designers can achieve a lot by adapting their processes to neuroscientific findings.

One way to draw conclusions about customer behavior is to look at the Customer Journey. The aim is to analyze what happens at the customer’s cognitive level while he or she is going through the individual steps of the Customer Journey. Which emotions – whether frustration or enthusiasm – trigger the individual steps and how to address them positively.

Design elements play a major role here. According to current studies, users process texts considerably worse than multimedia content. In order to transport complicated facts in an optimal way, pictures, sounds or even moving images have to be used. The right font and the right color can also trigger the desired associations and feelings at the customer’s place and promote his decision-making process.

Neuro User Experience – the SCARF model

Customer needs also play a major role in the field of neurosciences and user experience. One way to take these needs into account in the UX design is the so-called SCARF model by David Rock.


User Experience mit dem SCARF Modell
SCARF Model (Source: Effective Leadership)

The defined five dimensions activate the customer’s reward or threat centre and control the user experience on the consumer side.


The dimensions are there:

  • Status: Describes the perception of one’s own position vis-à-vis other people in the process. The more important the customer feels in the process, the more strongly the reward center is addressed. Gamification and positive formulations can make a big difference here.
  • Certanty: The customer wants to have certainty about the near future. The more transparently the individual steps of the User Journey are communicated, the more positively it is received by the customer. A progress bar or the presentation of the individual steps is helpful, for example, to optimize a purchasing process in the online shop.
  • Autonomy: This is about controlling the customer’s environment. The more flexibility he has and the more he is able to act on his own responsibility, the better he perceives the process.
  • Relatedless: This dimension is about social belonging. If the customer feels alone, this triggers negative associations with him. By the possibility of the interaction and/or the consumption of user comments it sees itself as part of the group – if it resembles this socio-demographic or emotionally.
  • Fairness: This is about the expectations of a fair exchange. In order to stay with the example of eCommerce, the possibility of a price comparison is an opportunity to convince the customer of their own service.

As can be seen from the SCARF model, neuroscience provides a good insight into how to convince users of their own service. Combining the influencing design factors with the customer’s needs creates services and products that can bind and satisfy the customer in the long term.

Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker
Alexander Pinker is an innovation profiler, future strategist and media expert who helps companies understand the opportunities behind technologies such as artificial intelligence for the next five to ten years. He is the founder of the consulting firm "Alexander Pinker - Innovation Profiling", the innovation marketing agency "innovate! communication" and the news platform "Medialist Innovation". He is also the author of three books and a lecturer at the Technical University of Würzburg-Schweinfurt.

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