2012_08_10 Design

10 Tricks How Mascots Can Improve The User Experience

The user experience of websites has become increasingly important, maybe even a major selling point. As a result we constantly try to find new ways how we can improve the experience for our visitors. Be it through an exceptional usability, a high degree of personality, or through interaction and engagement. There are many things you can do and as long as you focus on your visitors, and as that your existing and potential customers.

A great way to make sure you appeal to your target group are mascots. These little characters can make your website more personal, authentic, trustworthy, fun, and engaging. Let’s take a look at 10 examples of mascots on the Web and their role in improving the user experience.

1. Personality


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Mascots are characteristic figures that can help you to build a brand identity and express personality. Personality is important for the user experience as it helps people to relate to you and your products. The little pinguine of branded07 is a great example of how a little character can add personality to a website. He appears on every page, taking in a different role to either draw attention to a certain element or just to illustrate the content discussed on the page.

2. Personification


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Besides adding personality to a website, a mascot can also help you to bridge the gap between you and your visitors. In this examples, Briza Bueno uses an illustration of herself as mascot that accompanies the visitor on every page. Sure, the mascot is not a naturalistic reflection of the designer, but it allows you to get a good impression of who’s behind the website. This helps to build a more personal and trusty relationship with the site.

3. Recognition


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Mascots can be a great element to trigger recognition. For example, the android robot is ultimately associated with products that run on the android operating system. The mascot appears almost every time when android products come into the picture. The simple, but cute character is very unique and easy to remember. In this example, when hovering your mouse over the little green robot, you get rewarded by different small animations. Subtle, but catchy.

4. Uniqueness


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Mascots can make a brand unique. Surely there is the logo and a certain brand identity, but a characteristic mascot, like the cute little frog of dudamobile truly makes a brand stand out. The frog accompanies website visitors through all pages, making sure they know that they are still on the same site. Also, it draws attention to certain elements, for example by pointing at them.

5. Authenticity


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Authenticity means that you know who you are and that you remain true to yourself at all times. An authentic presentation of yourself and your product helps your visitors to trust you and to know what to expect when returning to your site. The Guerrilla usability testing software Silverbackapp uses a friendly guerilla as mascot, which I think is very characteristic and authentic for the tool. On their website, the guerilla makes direct contact with the visitors by welcoming them with different customer testimonials.

6. Expertise


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Mascots can also help you to demonstrate your expertise. The innovative digital production studio Foxtie chose a friendly looking fox as their mascot. The fox also appears on different pages of the website, reassuring the visitor that he is still on the right track. In this example he is effortlessly juggling balls, underpinning the claim: “Relax, we do it all.” The professionally looking illustration and the relaxing atmosphere created by the mascot help to build trust in the company’s expertise.

7. Engagement


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The probably most popular example of how a mascot can help to improve the user experience is the email newsletter service mailchimp. Freddie, their friendly looking mascot is very funny and engaging. He accompanies you and offers random, but funny links and advice at different points during your visit. This is a great way to get people engaged, even with a rather dry topic.

8. Fun


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Mascots can also make a website fun to use. This little hipmunk mascot makes an otherwise boring and serious form fun. The character is dressed as a pilot and plays airplane with his arms, while you fill in your flight details.

9. Continuity


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Continuity is basically something that comes with every example that I have named so far. The fact that a familiar element returns on a website makes people feel like they are already familiar with the product or service. Continuity is important to make people feel at ease and comfortable with your website. For example Ohurs have a little character in their logo. This character also appears next to the signup form to make people feel comfortable with signing up.

10. Storytelling

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Last but not least, mascots can be a great helper to tell a story. Axure does a great job in this. Their little UX Man appears on multiple pages, offering additional information in a funny and engaging way. On their homepage, the UX Man is the main character of a little story, explaining the advantages of user experience design in a very humorous way.

One comment

  1. Rocio Ramos

    I cannot believe something so simple as a mascot could have been so important! Every point you made makes complete sense and I cannot believe it gets so overlooked. Thanks once again!

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